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Category: Robotics and Coding

Robotics and Coding Blog Post (MIT App Inventor)

Personally, I think this unit has taught me a lot of information about coding. When I first started this unit, I felt like I was not going to be successful in this unit. The reason was that I was not familiar with coding and programming even though I have already used another platform to code my robot in the last unit. However, my thought was wrong, Ms. Kim has given me and others many sources that have helped us a lot. Also, the website called appinventor.org really supported me a lot, too.

The reason why I came up with this idea and made this application is that our family had numerous disagreements about what to have for lunch. So, I decided to lower the rate of disagreements because I did not really enjoy hearing them.

My app had 2 screens, but it was not very necessary. The reason why I have added another screen is that when people go into the app, they need to know what this application is about. And I just wanted to introduce my app by making a title screen that includes the phrase Lunch Menu Chooser and have some pictures of food. In addition, I wanted my application to look clean. So, I try to make it clear and explained ‘what is what and what is what’ in the second screen.

Lunch Menu Chooser is basically an app that automatically and randomly chooses a user’s lunch. If a user types or clicks the food button/s to their own list of food and click Start button. It will randomly choose the user’s lunch. The coding and the programming for this app was a huge challenge for me. However, I have used the learning resources that Mrs. Kim has given me such as App Inventor YouTube or AppInventor.org to accomplish the challenge.

In my opinion, the strength of Lunch Menu Chooser is that users can use this app as a ‘random list picker’ not just a Lunch Menu Chooser. It is because users can type in any list they want to in the text box. For instance, this application may become a random name chooser for parents having a hard time giving a name to their son or daughter. The one weakness of this app Lunch Menu Chooser can be the inconvenience that the user needs to click the ‘Reload List’ button when the list is over. I have tried to solve this problem, but I had no time to investigate that problem deeply.

Robot Petting Zoo Reflection

Movie on 11-11-19 at 1.10 PM                          4128_001

What was the most difficult aspect of this topic?

The most difficult aspect of this project was getting into an agreement between the two of us. While Alex thought that coloring the robot simply with colored pencils and markers are enough, I insisted that using acrylic paint is the better choice. However, Alex believed that it was too time-consuming. I eventually surprised Alex by finishing the robot in time for Robot Petting Zoo.

Tiger Robot by Alex Huang and June Park

What was the most enjoyable aspect of this project?

The thing that I enjoyed very much during this project was properly functioning our robot for the first time. When some object was about 10 centimeters away from our robot’s distance sensor, the robot activated a servo attached to the right arm and made a gesture that meant “hi”.

What did you do well?

I think Alex and I did a great job of thinking about many ideas for my robot. When we were planning what kind of robot we will be going to create and how will the robot work, we had some disagreements. However, I think without those discussions and disagreements between Alex and me, we would not have created the robot that we wanted to make.

A servo attached to the robot in order to activate to the robot.

What would you do differently next time?

I would have made more parts to move and function next time. When doing the Robot Petting Zoo, I thought just moving robot’s arm is not enough. If I get another chance to make my robot, I would activate the robot’s head to turn around or make the eyes to roll 360 degrees.

What did you learn about physically building a robot?

When physically building a robot, I learned that designing and planning should be very clear before building a robot. Once Alex and I were assembling parts of the robot’s body, we found out that there was no hole for a servo to go inside the robot. Eventually, I got an idea to fix that problem. Also, physically building a robot can make you make a lot of unexpected mistakes. So once again, planning is really important when building a robot.

What did you learn about programming the robot?

Before we have started the unit Robot Petting Zoo, I learned a lot of new things about programming the robot such as sensors, servos, or motors. However, during the unit, Alex and I only used one coding and only activated one part of the robot, which caused us to have much less time to learn and explore about programming. But if I have to say what I learned about programming the robot, I will probably answer, using a variety of sensors and ways to activate the robot.

Inside part of the robot

What more would you like to learn about the building and/or programming of these robots?

One thing that I would more like to learn about the programming of these robots is using Arduino to program to activate my robot. I have heard that it is way harder than Hummingbird, but I would like to learn about code language and use that language to program my robot. Also, I want to learn how to activate other parts of my robot in a variety of ways. The reason is that when I look at my finished robot, I feel like something is missing. The robot’s motion is too obvious if I knew more about building a robot. I may have built a better robot than this one.

What advice would you give to a student who is beginning of this unit?

My advice for students who are starting this unit, Robot Petting Zoo, is that planning is really important in this unit. I choose to say this because I have experienced some problems affected by my plan and design of my robot. The building is also important, however, if they plan and design their robots well. It will be easier for them to build their robots.

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