Students will now learn some basic programming techniques using the BlocklyBot Android application written specifically for this course. Blockly is the visual block based programming language created by Google and inspired by MIT’s Scratch. Blockly was originally web-based (which at the time was its benefit over Scratch) and now is available for development within Android and iOS applications. Blockly is the language used for the popular on-line ‘hour of code‘ program.
The BlocklyBot application allows controlling the Mobbob Robot through its basic movements which are controlled by the Arduino micro controller via sending simple text based commands over a Bluetooth wireless connection between the Arduino and the Android device. Blockly blocks such as ‘move <direction> <steps>’ and ‘turn <direction> <steps>’ are available as well as blocks that incorporate features from the phone such as ‘speak <message>’, ‘play <sound>’, and event driven events such as ‘listen for <voice command>’. Students connect blocks together to form statements that can be interpreted by the application. Movement commands are sent wirelessly over Bluetooth to the Arduino controlling the robot motors, and other commands are performed on the phone such as playback of sounds and visual cues (outputs) as well as listening for voice or audio queues or touch events (inputs).