Simple to program

Arduino IDE

Arduino IDE blinky code

ChickBot is based on the two most popular mini-computers in the world

The standard ChickBot kit uses the Arduino Nano – a microcomputer with multiple inputs and outputs. There are thousands of websites providing support and information on programming the Arduino range, with an all-in-one free piece of software for Windows, Mac OS and Linux available to program your ChickBot.

The alternative kit supports the Raspberry Pi (not included) which opens up more possibilities for different programming languages and communicating via WiFi. The Raspberry Pi community is equally huge and as it was specifically designed as a computer for learning programming on, there are just tons of educational resources to learn from.

There is a also a version for the newly released (March 2016) BBC micro:bit.

Just to give you an idea about programming an Arduino based ChickBot, here’s a snippet of the code that it comes pre-programmed with:

void loop() {
  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:

  // Beep & flash the LED
  SoundAndLEDAlert();

  // Just as it says, wait for the button to be pressed!
  WaitForButtonPress();

  // Wait a second for the finger to get out the way before moving
  delay( 1000 );

  // Go Forward 10 cm!
  GoForward( 10 * cm );
  // Turn 90º on the spot to the left
  HardTurn( hardTurn90, Left );

  // So much fun, let's do those moves again!
  GoForward( 10 * cm );
  HardTurn( hardTurn90, Left );

  // Play a tune
  PlayTune( DumDeDe ); 

  // Let's go backwards!
  GoBackward( 10 * cm );

  // And 45º to the right
  SoftTurn( softTurn90, Right );

  // Spotting a pattern here?
  GoForward( 10 * cm );
  HardTurn( hardTurn90, Left );

  // Stop all motors
  AllStop();

} // and do it all over again!

As you can see, we’ve created some internal commands (aka functions) that allow the beginner to use clearly recognisable English like ‘lego’ blocks to get a ChickBot moving.