Maqueen Plus V2 is the upgraded version of the STEAM Maqueen Plus educational robot, offering a variety of enhanced features to strengthen its capabilities, more flexible and easy to use. It supports graphical coding platforms like MakeCode and Mind+, on which we can program it to make various interesting projects by simply dragging and snapping blocks. Follow Maqueen Plus V2 to explore the world of robotics, while learning coding in a fun way!
Before we get started, let's see what Maqueen Plus V2 has got there first.
Maqueen Plus V2 has been equipped with so many functions, and now we can’t wait to try them. OK, here we go!
Maqueen Plus V2 - AA Battery
Maqueen Plus V2 -18650 Battery
Note: when the 18650 battery is fully charged, all LEDs will be on. The LEDs will be off one by one as the power gradually decreases. If all lights go out, the battery needs to be recharged.
After we assembled Maqueen Plus V2, put it aside because first, we need to get familiar with its most important controller device – micro:bit. Just like the CPU in a computer, micro:bit is Maqueen Plus V2's "brain" for storing and processing data, which also is the key to making Maqueen Plus V2 "alive". (Maqueen Plus V2 - AA battery version is used in this tutorial.)
The micro:bit can be programmed to do various interesting things. For example, it can interconnect with automobiles via onboard Bluetooth, thus the automobile can send commands to control the MCU. Multiple micro:bit boards can communicate with each other via radio to complete the tasks requiring remote control. Also, it can be a navigation device as it features an on-board compass to track the direction of the wearer. And there are 5×5 LED matrix on the board that can display funny patterns and animation, and two programmable buttons that can be used to control game-play or pause/play a track.
In addition, micro:bit is equipped with commonly-used sensors like light sensor and temperature sensor. So it can be widely used in light-related projects and applications requiring temperature detection, and so on.
On the credit card size board (5cm*4cm/1.97*1.57") there are 5×5 programmable LED matrix, two programmable buttons, light sensor, accelerometer, compass, temperature sensor, Bluetooth module and other electric modules.
We can directly program micro:bit online without installing any software. There is a huge community of people making tools for programming and interacting with the micro:bit which means you can program your micro:bit in Python, C++ and other languages, including all kinds of block editors: MakeCode, Blocks, Scratch, Mind+, etc.In this tutorial, we will use MakeCode to program, click the link https://makecode.microbit.org/ to enter MakeCodeonline programming environment.
Microsoft MakeCode is a framework for creating interactive and engaging programming experiences for those new to the world of programming. The primary goal of MakeCode is to introduce programming in a way that is approachable and inviting. MakeCode uses the blocks programming model to let the users learn coding concepts in a more tangible fashion.
Once the user becomes comfortable with the coding elements and structure like the simulator, block editor and text editor in MakeCode, they can progress to create more complex programs.
1. Input https://makecode.microbit.org/ in your browser to enter the MakeCode programming environment.
Note: it should be operated on a computer with a good Internet connection. If it cannot be loaded properly, please try it again using the Google browser
2. Open MakeCode editor and create a new project to enter MakeCode programming interface.
After we got a general understanding of MakeCode, let's step on our journey to code! In the first example, we will learn how to write and download a program.
Step 1: drag the block we need to the editing section.
Step 2: to remove a block, drag it from the editing section to the command section, or right-click to delete.
Step 3: after we completed a program, check its effect via the simulator.
Connect the micro:bit board to your computer by a USB cable. There will be a hard disk named micro:bit appearing in your computer when the connection is successful.
Click "Download" to download the program into your micro:bit.
Note: when downloading a program, the micro:bit power indicator will keep flashing, and please do not disconnect the USB cable.
Once the downloading is completed, the micro:bit LED screen will show a heart pattern.
Since we have learned the basics about Maqueen Plus V2, micro:bit and MakeCode programming, so for the next chapter, we are going to write a program to let micro:bit drive Maqueen Plus V2.
Engage in learning the next Robot project：Let's Move Maqueen