Review of micro:bit XGO Robot Kit – An educational robot dog with a Bluetooth joystick

micro:bit XGO robot kit review joystick

ELECFREAKS micro:bit XGO Robot Kit is a robotic dog designed for robotics education. It moves realistically and acts like a real pet dog, and can help teach various technology concepts related to mechanical engineering, electronics, programming, and artificial intelligence (AI). The kit support both the BBC Micro:bit V1 and V2 boards which can be programmed with Microsoft MakeCode, Python, the Arduino IDE, and other languages. The XGO robot is compact and can be easily used on a desk or table. The robot is made of aluminum metal coated with a beautiful anodized finish. Each leg has 12 high-quality digital servos moving each joint, 3 on each side, totaling 12, helping the robot dog to move smoothly and flexibly. The robot can be controlled with apps, a joystick, and up to 19 ready-made postures, such as holding hands, looking for food, sitting down, squatting, etc… Content of the XGO robot kit: […]

FOSSBot open design 3D printed educational robot is made with Raspberry Pi and off-the-shelf parts

DIY open design robot Raspberry Pi SBC

FOSSBot is an “open design” 3D printed educational robot comprised of a Raspberry Pi SBC and various off-the-shelf modules, as well as open-source software that can be used for education purposes. The FOSSBot DIY robot has been developed by the Harokopio University of Athens and the Greek Free and Open Source Software (GFOSS) community, and builds upon the “GSOC 2019 – A DIY robot kit for educators” with the main goal being to have a platform to “familiarize teachers with modern education models based on the S.T.E.A.M approach. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)”. FOSSbot key components: SBC – Raspberry Pi Zero W, Raspberry Pi 3, or Raspberry Pi 4. Mechanically and electrically compatible Raspberry Pi alternatives could be an option too although part of the software would have to be modified Storage – 32GB MicroSD card Expansion board – Adafruit Perma-Proto HAT for Pi – No EEPROM to connect sensors […]

XGO 2 – A Raspberry Pi CM4 based robot dog with an arm (Crowdfunding)

XGO 2 robot dog with arm

XGO 2 is a desktop robot dog using the Raspberry Pi CM4 as its brain, the ESP32 as the motor controller for the four legs and an additional robotic arm that allows the quadruped robot to grab objects. An evolution of the XGO mini robot dog with a Kendryte K210 RISC-V AI processor, the XGO 2 robot offers 12 degrees of freedom and the more powerful Raspberry CM4 model enables faster AI edge computing applications, as well as features such as omnidirectional movement, six-dimensional posture control, posture stability, and multiple motion gaits. The XGO 2 robot dog is offered in two variants – the XGO-Lite 2 and the XGO-Mini 2 – with the following key features and specifications: The company also says the new robot can provide feedback on its own postures thanks to its 6-axis IMU and sensors for the joints reporting the position and electric current. A display […]

MicroBlocks is a visual programming IDE for 32-bit microcontrollers


MicroBlocks is a visual programming IDE for 32-bit microcontrollers currently supporting the BBC Micro:bit V1/V2, Calliope mini (aka the German Micro:bit), Adafruit Circuit Playground Express and Bluefruit, Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W, and various other boards including ESP32 and ESP8266-based boards. I discovered MicroBlocks in the list of talks for FOSDEM 2023, and although it did not make it to my virtual schedule, I thought it was interesting to look into and write about it. In their upcoming FOSDEM talk, Bernat Romagosa and Kathy Giori refer to MicroBlocks as small, fast, and human-friendly with development guided by four guiding principles: liveness, parallelism, portability, and autonomy. The IDE is inspired by Scratch, and as such, looks very similar to other visual programming interfaces I have used over the years. You can launch MicroBlocks from Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge on a PC (not a mobile device) without having to install […]

HackyPi Raspberry Pi RP2040 USB dongle serves as an educational “hacking” tool (Crowdfunding)

HackyPi USB stick

SB Components’ HackyPi is a Raspberry Pi RP2040-based USB dongle whose main purpose is to teach ethical hacking and coding programs, in other words, some sort of portable educational hacking tool. The small USB stick features a 1.14-inch color LCD, a MicroSD card to store data such as scripts and photos, and a button to enable programming like on other Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards. HackyPi specifications: MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ 133 MHz with 264KB SRAM Storage – QSPI flash, MicroSD card slot Display – 1.14-inch color LCD with 240 x 135 resolution USB – 1x USB 1.1 Type-A port Misc – Boot “Initiate Program” button Power Supply – 5V via USB port Dimensions –  55.04 x 23.20mm SB Components says the HackyPi USB dongle can be programmed with Raspberry Pi Pico C/C++ and MicroPython SDKs as well as CircuitPython, and they will release hardware design […]

ultraArm P340 Arduino-based robotic arm draws, engraves, and grabs

ultraArm P340 robotic arm draw engrave grabber

Elephant Robotics ultraArm P340 is a robot arm with an Arduino-compatible ATMega2560 control board with a 340mm working radius whose arm can be attached with different accessories for drawing, laser engraving, and grabbing objects. We’ve previously written and reviewed the myCobot 280 Pi robotic arm with a built-in Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, but the lower-cost ultraArm P340 works a little differently since it only contains the electronics for controlling the servos and attachments, and needs to be connected to a host computer running Windows or a Raspberry Pi over USB. ultraArm P340 specifications: Control board based on Microchip ATMega2560 8-bit AVR microcontroller @ 16MHz with 256KB flash, 4Kb EEPROM, 8KB SRAM DOF – 3 to 4 axis depending on accessories Working radius – 340mm Positioning Accuracy – ±0.1 mm Payload – Up to 650 grams High-performance stepper motor Maximum speed – 100mm/s Communication interfaces – RS485 and USB serial Attachment […]

Maker Feather AIoT S3 – An ESP32-S3 board programmable with CircuitPython or Arduino

Maker Feather AIOT S3

Cytron Maker Feather AIoT S3 is an ESP32-S3 board compatible with the Adafruit Feather form factor and suitable for makers and STEM education with features like LEDs for GPIOs, a buzzer, expansion headers and connectors, and support for CircuitPython & Arduino. The WiFi and Bluetooth LE IoT board also supports LiPo and Li-Ion batteries, includes a USB Type-C port for power/charging and programming, and a few buttons. It’s suitable for machine learning thanks to the vector extensions found in the ESP32-S3 microcontroller. Maker Feather AIoT S3 specifications: Wireless module – Espressif ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N8R8 module with ESP32-S3 dual-core LX7 microprocessor @ up to 240 MHz with Vector extension for machine learning, 8MB FLASH, 8MB PSRAM, WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5 LE/Mesh USB – 1x USB Type-C port power and programming Expansion 2x GPIO headers compatible with Adafruit Feather form factor and FeatherWing add-on boards 3x Maker Ports compatible with Qwiic, STEMMA QT, […]

Meet Intel Processor and Core-i3 N-series “Alder Lake N-series” processors

Intel Alder Lake N-series Processors

Pentium and Celeron brands are officially dead with Intel introducing the Alder Lake-N family comprised of “Intel Processor” and Core-i3 N-series processors based on the Gracemont “Efficiency” cores found in Alder Lake hybrid processors. Some of the details about the Intel Processor N100 and N200 processors were leaked last fall, followed by the Core i3-N300 and Core i3-N305, but at least it is now official, and we have more details so let’s dig into it. Alder Lake N-series key features and specifications: CPU – Up to 8x Gracemont Efficient cores for Core i3 N-series processor, and up to 4x with Intel Processor processor GPU – Intel UHD graphics with AV1 decode support Memory I/F – LPDDR5-4800, DDR4, DDR5 Storage I/F – eMMC/UFS 2.1 flash, 2x SATA 3.0 Video Output eDP 1.4b / MIPI DSI 1.3 DisplayPort 1.4 HDMI 2.0b Up to 3x independent displays Camera I/F – MIPI CSI Networking […]

ASUS Tinker board - Raspberry Pi alternative