k8 1.0 Lesson 5: Radio Control
Learn how to turn an extra micro:bit into a remote controller for your k8 robot!
Remote control technology would have seemed the stuff of dreams in the Age of Steam. The idea of transmitting information from devices to machines that do work is a marvelous one. Nikola Tesla prototyped the first such system in 1898, and it was an idea to control a boat from a distance. It would appear to be a simple operation now, with the plethora of radio control protocols available. And some of the uses of the technology were simplistic in the era, and focused mainly as tools of war. Robots still carry that stigma to this day,
Radio control is one of the foundations of Seymour Papert’s idea of body syntonic learning. He observed that people tend to want to relate their personal sensory experiences when they relate to other objects. A robot, particularly one that navigates an environment, can be a powerful tool to enable this sort of learning. If we imagine ourselves as a robot, with all of the features and functions that a robot entails, we can employ learning strategies such as Computational Thinking to understand where robots are useful in ways that people are not. Body syntonic learning is enabled through the use of radio control, since the design of an effective controller requires a deep understanding of the underlying mechanisms behind the communication between micro:bits.
This activity introduces how the blocks in the radio library work, and a way to create a simple controller that turns k8 left and right.