Babuinobot
Home
About the Babuino Project
Building Instructions
Software
Educational Resources
Gallery

What is Babuino?

beepswitch.jpg

Babuino is a software program that combines the power of the Arduino hardware platform with the intuitive and fun Logo programming language using a click and drag GUI interface. This allows even young children to build their own programs and run them on a microcontroller. The program on the left uses only 5 blocks to make a speaker beep whenever a button is pressed. Any child that can operate a mouse, fit simple puzzle pieces together, and has basic language skills can learn to program. Even if the child can't read, they will quickly learn to recognize the words and shapes. The Babuinobot is a robot that uses the Arduino microcontroller to run the Babuino software which allows the robot to be programmed using CTI Blocos, a block based Logo programming environment.

What is so Special About the Babuinobot?

It's Affordable

Costs will vary considerably depending on bulk purchase discounts, availability of local materials, re-using parts and materials from discarded waste and electronics, etc. I was able to construct 6 robots using all new materials for about $35 US each. You would be hard pressed to find a commercially available robot kit for even triple that amount, and it would not have the flexibility that the babuinobot has.

Free Open Source Software

All of the software mentioned in this website for programming the Babuinobot is free, as in "you do not need to pay for it." This includes Babuino, Arduino Bootloader, Arduino IDE, CTI Blocos, Cricket Logo, Logo Blocks, and GCC. These are developed by hobbyist and professional programmers around the world so that everyone has access to good quality software to pursue their interests. There is an unspoken expectation that you will in turn contribute your own skills and resources to help the members of your community. Most of the software is also open source, which means that you are free to make changes to it to better fit your needs.

Open Source Hardware

The circuitry is based on the Arduino, a very popular hardware/software platform that is open hardware. What this means to you is that there is a wide selection of inexpensive circuit boards that you can purchase, or you can download the circuit artwork and etch your own boards, or transfer the circuitry to a generic project board or breadboard. The Babuinobot uses a generic project board, but you can substitute just about any Arduino based board.

Accommodates a Wide Range of Programming Abilities

The beginning programmer can start out with CTI blocos, which allows programs to be built by dragging interconnecting blocks together in a very easy, intuitive manner. As programming skills grow, or as applications become more demanding, the programmer can switch to Cricket Logo, which is text based and uses the same commands as Blocos plus additional commands. As skills progress and more features are desired, the programmer can delete the Babuino software from the Arduino chip and use the C-like programming language provided with the Arduino IDE. This gives access to a large set of libraries that have been developed by the Ardiuno Community. And the advanced programmer is free to write programs in C and compile them for the Arduino chip using GCC.

It's Flexible

There are directions on this website to build a Babuinobot robot, but you can change them to build any kind of robot you want. You don't even have to build a robot; The circuit board allows you to monitor inputs from sensors, process the information, and use it to control outputs, such as motors. You can use it to control an irrigation system: when the soil moisture sensors reach a certain level, switch on a water pump. You can use it as part of an alarm system: when the sensors detect an intrusion, the board triggers a camera and sets off an alarm. There is no limit to the projects that you can use the circuit board for.

Works With Multiple Operating Systems

CTI Blocos, Arduino IDE, and GCC can be used with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Cricket Logo and Logo Blocks will work with Windows and OS X.

But, Most Importantly...

It's Fun!!

I've programmed a lot of different microcontrollers using many different software packages, but this one is just plain fun to use! The intuitiveness lets you get started right away and the interlocking blocks frees you from the tedious and frustrating syntax requirements inherent in text based languages. It's like driving a go-cart: it may not be super powerful or fast, but with only a few instructions to get you started, you're driving down the track having a blast.

img_5174_med.jpg
Students programming a Babuinobot

Last updated on