Introduction: Getting Started With Qoopers
Qoopers is an educational robot kit by Robobloq. It is a new company; they just finished a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo. I was proud to support their campaign because I believe Qoopers is a nice toy for children as well as powerful robotics platform for an adult hobbyist.
At the moment, there are no independent reviews on the web, so I hope sharing my experience will be useful for the community.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
First of all, we need the Qoopers (robotic kit). The kit includes:
- controller board;
- battery holder;
- LED matrix (robot's face);
- ultrasonic sensor;
- two DC motors;
- wheels, which you can use with tires or with tracks;
- a set of metal plates and a set of screws and nuts.
Additionally, we need:
- Android tablet (OS version 4.1+) for running official app;
- Six AA battery to power the robot.
Step 2: The Controller Overview
In this Instructable, I focus on the controller board as the main part of the robot. A plastic cover closes the controller board. The cover looks quite safe for children's game. Also, I hope the cover will protect the controller if I run the robot outdoor.
On the back side of the cover, there are two slots for motors M1 and M2, DC input and on/off button.
On the left and right sides, some RJ25 females connectors are located. One pair of them are orange, and six others are grey. There is no official info, but I can guess that the orange pair is intended for additional motors, whereas grey connectors may work as Input/Output.
On the left side, there is Bluetooth module reset button. On the right side, there is USB connector.
To open the cover press some clicks with a screwdriver. Please, handle with care, the clicks are fragile.
On the controller board, you can find:
- ATMEGA 2560 microcontroller (great!);
- two RGB LED on board (we can blink!);
- buzzer (we can make noise!);
- a button, the cover is flexible under the button, so we can press the button even when the cover is closed;
- Bloototh module;
- common CH340G USB-serial.
An essential part of the controller is a battery holder.
You need 6 AA batteries to put into the holder and to power the controller.
The battery holder has the same size as the controller, and they intended to place like a sandwich attached by four screws.
Step 3: Software Basics
- I used an official Android app. You can upload it on the Google play, as well as on the official site. There are three main modes in the app:
- interactive building instructions;
- control panel;
- block-based coding.
At the control panel, you can drive the robot as an RC car, play piano by the buzzer or draw on the dot matrix screen.
It is quite obvious, whereas coding mode needs some explanation. Ok, let's start coding!
As usual, We will start with LED blinking, this is "Hello World" for controllers.
Block-based coding looks similar to the Scratch. Just drag and drop blocks and connect blocks into the programme.
You may start your programme with blocks when flag clicked or when pressed in robot panel.
- When flag clicked means that the programme will start when you click on a particular group of blocks.
- When pressed in robot panel means that the programme will start when you press the hardware button on that controller board.
In contrast to the Scratch, it is not necessary to start with when flag clicked. If you click ANY group of blocks, they will run. I don't know, is it a bug or a feature, but I found it inconvenient. So I suggest keep connection off while you are coding. Connect to the robot only when you have done all code.
Open the Control menu to find some control structures.
In this case, I choose a loop structure.
I changed the number of repeats.
Open the Light menu to find a variety of commands to LED's, as well as to Dot matrics and sensor's LED.
A block set light in LED panel has two parameters: index to the LED (left, right or both) and color.
I dropped the same block for the right LED and add wait 1 sec block from the Control menu.
Then I repeated all those actions for changing LEDs state. Here is the result!
If you like this instructable, don't hesitate to comment, and I will tell more:
- how to add motors and make the robot move;
- about obstacle avoiding;
- how to code dot matrix.