Simple computer control using the Snap + micro:bit microcontroller + control block library
PI of NSF CSforAll:RPP Project ExCITE (NSF 1923552)
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The NFS funded ExCITE project is adding robotics and computer control activities to the popular Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) AP-CSP curriculum. BJC uses the Snap! language.
ExCITE has commissioned Steve Holmes (the developer of the BirdBrain Technologies Hummingbird proprietary micro:bit connector software interface and block library) to develop a micro:bit – Snap! connector software and software library package.
The micro:bit-Snap Connector package developed by Steve in conjunction with the Project team has resulted in free to download and use micro:bit connector package for W10, Mac and Chromebooks. The package also contains the micro:bit HEX initialization file. The software is licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 attrib non-comm share alike.
There are many low-cost micro:bit breakout boards that allow access to 16 GPIO (digital input/output) pins, 6 of which are also Analog IN.
The micro:bit does not support analog outputs but does support Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) on the GPIO pins, however, this feature does need to be supported by the control package, so, the micro:bit-Snap Connector package offers PWM support via a block. The micro:bit-Snap Connector software allows complete control over 16 digital input and output pins, and 6 analog input pins. The block library allows all digital and analog inputs to be read and supports digital output from all 16 digital pins. In addition, the various onboard features of the micro:bit such as compass, acceleration and orientation can be accessed. This brief presentation will showcase the micro:bit Snap Connector package software and how it can be used to program complex real-world challenges such as an automated rail crossing gate system (with example of student solutions).
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