12Blocks is a powerful visual IDE that supports the TBot in addition to many other hardware platforms like Lego NXT, Basic Stamp 2, Parallax Propeller and the Cogmation simulator.
For TBot it features super simple blocks that coordinate robot movement and gripper actions. 12Blocks also makes it easy to read and react to the TBot’s sensors including: encoders, line sensors, ultrasound proximity, as well as input buttons, microphone and battery voltage. 12Blocks makes it easy to be successful with the Arduino-base robot with built in simulator, real-time graphs, and powerful debugging tools to let you step through code one line at a time.
To get started with TBot:
Install 12Blocks using the link below. Your OS should come with a driver for the Arduino Nano microcontroller, if not, install it from here:
Start 12Blocks, you should see the “Start Screen”. If Arduino.TBot is not shown on the screen, add it using the custom configuration on the bottom left.
Select one of the activities for the TBot, or click on “New” and create your own!
Connect a USB cable from PC to the TBot to charge the built-in batteries and to program the robot.
Turn on your TBot using the switch on the bottom marked “Power” when using the gripper or to move with maximum power.
I live in a beautiful part of the world surrounded by coastline and lots of rivers (Christchurch, NZ). I have a 2 person Kayak that I occasionally take out with my kids and wife but we’re somewhat limited in range by our muscle power. I’m starting to investigate supplementing my muscle power with a brushless electric motor powered by a lithium battery and controlled and kept safe by an Arduino programmed with 12Blocks. Here’s a photo of some of the components.
This is the second year we’ve exhibited at Maker’s Faire. Our focus this year was demonstrating how the TBot robot can be used to teach STEM concepts in the classroom. Besides several versions of the TBot, we showed a 5-axis robotic arm, the Parallax Scribbler and the Lego Mindstorm- all programmable by 12Blocks. Thanks to Tim from Cogmation for flying down from Canada to help out with the booth- we were busy talking to teachers, principals and parents for the entire two days.
12Blocks is a powerful visual IDE that now supports the Arduino in addition to many other hardware platforms like Lego NXT, Basic Stamp 2, Parallax Propeller and the Cogmation simulator.
For Arduino it offers super simple multi-threading and powerful debugging tools- including stepping through code one line at a time as well as real-time graphs of variable values. The program uses standard Arduino boards with no modification to the bootloader.
Circuit Cellar has published a nice 25th Anniversary edition which nicely summarizes the incredible progress our industry has gone through in the last 25 years. David Tweed contributed an essay of his favorite projects which includes Hanno’s “Vision-Guided Robotics”.
Quickly get started with 12Blocks and the Lego Mindstorm NXT:
- Install 12Blocks from http://onerobot.org/12blocks
- Ensure your NXT is turned on and connected to the PC
- Start 12Blocks, set the Port to “Auto” and Library to “Mindstorm”.
- Load a tutorial or sample file from the “File” menu and press “Run” to load the program.