Wednesday, 3 February 2016

OzoBot Board with Stickers, Grid Tape and Corrugated Plastic

We've been having lots of fun with our OzoBot mini robots. For my kids latest project we've started using them with whiteboard grid tape and coloured stickers.

My kids have enjoyed using printed sheets from the OzoBot website and drawing their own paths and codes with pens. After that they wanted to make a bigger project that they could work on over time so we decided to make a layout on their play-table.

We used white corrugated plastic, black grid tape and coloured label stickers to make a play mat for OzoBot that can be reused. Note that OzoBot do make code stickers for use with OzoBots in the default line-following mode.

We had a sheet of corrugated white plastic left over from another project so we used that as the base for our project. We cut it to size to fit on top of the boys' play table so that it can stay out for a while as they add to their creation.

We prototyped the layout on the computer first and printed out a small version so the kids could try it out and make changes before we made the full-size version. This worked really well for planning the project and got the kids thinking about what works well for OzoBot and what to avoid. E.g. Don't put intersections too close to each other.

To make the paths we used 3mm black grid tape which is used for marking out grid layouts on a whiteboard. It's somewhat repositionable so we could fix any mistakes. We found that the tape was sometimes a bit too narrow for OzoBot to work well so we doubled up on the tape to create a nice thick path which works really reliably. Grid tape works really well for creating designs using straight paths, you just need to make sure the corners are nice and neat.

We've been writing custom code for OzoBot using OzoBlockly (more on that in a future post) so we added small coloured stickers to the layout to trigger various behaviours as the robot goes around the board. The idea is that the kids can write code to trigger different behaviours at different points on the board and they can change the behaviours and the accessories on the board whenever they like. The stickers can also be peeled off and replaced with new ones if needed.

We're creating the board a bit at a time and the kids have been requesting additions as they have come up with new ideas. I've been putting the tape down for them as it's hard for them to get it in a straight line (not that I always do much better!)

The white corrugated plastic, black whiteboard grip tape and coloured label stickers that we used are all available from eBay.

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