Review of myCobot 280 Pi robotic arm with Python and visual programming

myCobot 280 Pi Conveyor Color Sorting

myCobot 280 Pi is a versatile robotic arm with a 6 degree of freedom design. It was developed by Elephant Robotics using the Raspberry Pi 4 board as the main controller. The robot is compact and delivers stable operation making it ideal for confined spaces. It can also be programmed in a variety of languages, is easy to use, and offers a lot of features. It is suitable for those who are interested in learning how to program a robotic arm controller and for engineering projects. Unboxing myCobot 280 Pi The myCobot 280 Pi arm has a working range of 280 mm, weighs 850 grams, and can handle a payload of up to 250 grams. It is powered by 6 servo motors, one for each degree of freedom, and comes with a 5×5 matrix LED display, and supports LEGO parts as well. Controlled by a Raspberry Pi 4 single board […]

OpenHarmony development board borrows BBC Micro:bit edge connector

HopeRun’s HiHope development board features a HiSilicon Hi3861V100 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller compatible with OpenHarmony OS and looks very much like the BBC Micro:bit educational board notably with its edge connector. The board is also designed for youth education (in China) and comes with similar sensors, but there are some differences such as a 0.96-inch OLED instead of an LED matrix and support for offline voice recognition. There’s no wireless connectivity apart from NFC support. HiHope board specifications: MCU – HiSilicon Hi3861 32-bit microcontroller @ up to 160 MHz with 352 KB SRAM and 288 KB ROM, 2 MB flash memory Display – 0.96-inch OLED display with 128×64 resolution (SSD1306) Connectivity – NFC with R/W mode, card emulation,  and bidirectional mode USB – 1x USB Type-C port for power and programming Sensors – Temperature & humidity sensor, light sensor, microphone, 6-axis motion sensor Expansion – Edge connector with 5x rings (3x […]

myBuddy 280 dual arm robot features Raspberry Pi 4 SBC and ESP32 controllers

Elephants Robotics myBuddy 280, aka myBuddy 280 Pi, is a dual-arm collaborative robot for education with a 7-inch display powered by Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, and also features three ESP32-based M5Stack core modules that help with the internal communication between the motors and the Raspberry Pi board. It builds upon the earlier myCobot 280 Pi robot with a single arm, with the same 280mm working range, but the new robot offers two arms, and a total of 13 degrees of freedom (DoF).  The robot is also equipped with two 2MP HD cameras for computer vision, a standard 3.3V expansion I/O interface, a LEGO expansion interface, and can be fitted with a variety of adapters such as suction pumps, grippers, little hands (see below), etc… myBuddy 280 specifications: SBC – Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB or 4GB RAM) single board computer to control the display and communicate with the ESP32 modules IoT […]

CrowPi L Review – Part 2: Learn programming and electronics with a Raspberry Pi 4 laptop

In the first part of our review of CrowPi L Raspberry Pi 4 laptop for education, we checked the hardware and accessories such as the CrowTail starter kit with various sensors and other electronics modules, and showed how to install or remove the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC from the laptop shell. I’ve now had more time to play with the educational software, so I’ll report my experience with the laptop when learning game design and hardware control with Letscode visual programming IDE, as well as the Python lessons for more advanced students. Reinstalling CrowPi OS image It’s the rainy season here in Thailand meaning it’s both hot and humid, and even though I’m not entirely sure it’s related, I recently had to reinstall Raspberry Pi OS on one of my Raspberry Pi with a corrupted SD card. It happened again with the CrowPi L after I left it in its […]

Save the planet! Program in C, avoid Python, Perl

As a former software engineer who’s mostly worked with C programming, and to a lesser extent assembler, I know in my heart that those are the two most efficient programming languages since they are so close to the hardware. But to remove any doubts, a team of Portuguese university researchers attempted to quantify the energy efficiency of different programming languages (and of their compiler/interpreter) in a paper entitled Energy Efficiency across Programming Languages published in 2017, where they looked at the runtime, memory usage, and energy consumption of twenty-seven well-known programming languages. C is the uncontested winner here being the most efficient, while Python, which I’ll now call the polluters’ programming language :), is right at the bottom of the scale together with Perl. The study goes through the methodology and various benchmarks, but let’s pick the binary-trees results to illustrate the point starting with compiled code. To the surprise […]

An ESP32-based BBC Micro:bit clone – Meet Mbits

A few years ago, we noted a BBC Micro:bit clone based on ESP32 WiSoC with Banana Pi ‘s BPI:bit board with an array of 25 RGB LEDs and WiFi & Bluetooth LE connectivity. There’s now another such clone with Elecrow Mbits designed in a way that resembles the BBC Micro:bit v2 board, but replacing the Nordic Semi nRF52833 2.4GHz/BLE SoC with the ESP32 dual-core wireless chip with support for both WiFi and BLE. The specifications between Elecrow Mbits and BBC Micro:bit v2 are close enough, although ESP32 is a more powerful processor, and the MBits board comes with more memory and storage. Power consumption of the BBC Micro:bit v2 should be much better, so if anything needs to run on battery for an extended period of time, it may be a better choice, or you’re gonna need a bigger battery.  The GPIO pinout looks different too, so not all Micro:bit […]

Arm introduces Open-CMSIS-Pack and Keil Studio Cloud for MCU software development

Arm has just announced two new initiatives that aim to boost the productivity embedded, IoT, ML, and MCU software developers: the Open-CMSIS-Pack project and Keil Studio Cloud. The Open-CMSIS-Pack Project The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) packs have been around for years providing a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for microcontrollers, mostly Cortex-M based, but others too, and currently support close to 9000 different microcontrollers. I always assumed CMSIS was open-source as the source code is available in Github under an Apache 2.0 license. But apparently, not all components are, and Arm has now announced the Open-CMSIS-Pack project that will move part of CMSIS into the open project in collaboration with the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group. Linaro, Arm, and other partners like STMicro and NXP will initially focus their work on command-line tools and CMake workflows, with the ultimate goal of making the CMSIS-Pack technology into a true open […]

Crowbits Master Kit Tutorial – Part 2: ESP32 intrusion scanner and visual programming

I started Crowbits Master Kit review last month by checking out the content, user manual, and some of the possible projects for the ESP32 educational kit including a 2G phone and a portable game console. For the second part of the review, I’ll go through one of the lessons in detail, namely the intrusion scanner to show the whole process and how well (or not) it works. Let’s go to Lesson 5 directly, although I’d recommend going through the first lessons that provide details about the hardware and visual programming basics using Letscode program, which is basically a custom version of Scratch for Crowbits The user manual introduces the project, explains it is to detect intruders, and lists the learning goals as we’ll learn how to control the servo and play music on the Crowbits kit. Kit Assembly But first, we’ll have some assembly to do, in a similar way […]