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Robot Buggy Part 7 Remote Control Via Bluetooth

You’ll be pleased to note that all of the hard work has now been done, we now have a fully customised line following buggy and the BBC micro:bit has been flashed with the code that it needs to unlock the magic of Bluetooth.

bluetooth-control-870

Bluetooth is the technology that makes the remote control aspect of this project possible, fortunately, the BBC micro:bit comes with Bluetooth functionality as standard, which just leaves two steps; pairing the BBC micro:bit with your Android device and installing Martin Woolley’s micro:bit Blue Android App for the BBC micro:bit. We'll hand over to Martin Woolley, the author of the App, to explain how it's done.

Obtaining and installing the application:

To use the micro:bit Blue application, you’ll need an *Android smartphone or tablet. Android version 5 or 6 is recommended but micro:bit Blue may work on some devices which run version 4.4 too.

(* If you only have an Apple handheld device, don't despair. Martin Woolley’s micro:bit Blue Android App for the BBC micro:bit is coming to Apple soon. More details to follow.)

Install the application direct from the Google Play app store on your Android device. You can download micro:bit Blue here.

bbc-micro-bit-blue-android-app-google-250

Pairing An Android Phone To The BBC micro:bit:

Bluetooth has a concept called ‘pairing’. Pairing is something you have to do so that two devices which will want to communicate using Bluetooth can trust each other and work securely. micro:bit usually needs to be paired with a smartphone before it can be used. One of the benefits of using pairing with the micro:bit is that only you can control your Kitronik buggy because your micro:bit will only trust phones or tablets it has been paired with. You wouldn’t want somebody else taking control of your buggy from their phone and driving off with it, would you?

How to pair your micro:bit is best demonstrated rather than explained. Here’s a video from Martin’s blog which shows how to pair a BBC micro:bit with an Android phone:

 

Using micro:bit Blue:

After pairing, launch micro:bit Blue on your Android device. On the first screen, tap the ‘FIND PAIRED BBC MICRO:BIT(S)’ button to cause your phone to scan for your micro:bit. If there are several micro:bits nearby, you should still only see yours since the application will filter out micro:bits which you have not paired with.

bbc-micro-bit-blue-android-app-250

Tap the line which contains your micro:bit as shown in the screenshot above. This will cause your phone to connect to your micro:bit. You should see a letter “C” appear on the micro:bit display at this point.
The next screen is a menu of things that micro:bit Blue can do (you’ll need the right code on your micro:bit to use the various options). Swipe up and scroll the menu until you can see the Dual D-Pad Controller menu item. Select it and you’ll find yourself looking at the game controller screen we’ve already seen!

bbc-micro-bit-blue-android-app-options-250

Have fun driving!

Further Bluetooth Information:

Martin Woolley’s blog is a great source of information on Bluetooth and the BBC micro:bit:
http://bluetooth-mdw.blogspot.co.uk/p/bbc-microbit.html

You can also follow him on Twitter where he masquerades under the Twitter handle: @bluetooth_mdw

 

Bitty Software Game Controller Mobile App:

Since we first went to press Bitty Software (Martin Woolley) have released a new game controller App for both Android and iOS mobile devices. This is to replace the micro:bit Blue App that we covered above.

Get The Bitty Software App:

You can find more information about the Bitty Software Apps and links to relevant resources here.

 

Build A Robot Wars Buggy Learning Resources.
Part 1 - Intro. What we did, why we did it and what we used.
Part 2 - The Buggy. It's all about the line following buggy, We used the buggy as is and attached custom parts.
Part 3 - The Perspex Top Plate. How we designed and cut the top plate, with alternative methods for those without laser cutters.
Part 4 - The 3D printed Add-ons. How we designed and 3D printed the add-ons, with alternative methods for those without 3D printers.
Part 5 - Making The Flag. Our design process for making the self righting flag.
Part 6 - Coding with the Microsoft PXT Editor. Beyond line following. Martin Woolley gives a very thorough breakdown of how he wrote the code for the Robot Buggies. Learn how!
Part 7 - Bluetooth Buggy Control. How to turn your Android device into a remote control for the buggy, including pairing instructions, Again, over to Martin Wooley.

 

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2 thoughts on “Robot Buggy Part 7 Remote Control Via Bluetooth”

  • Jason September 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Hi,

    Has anyone coded another micro bit as a remote?

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison September 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

      You could adapt this code that we produced for :MOVE mini using the code included in this resource to drive the motors. We may produce a separate tutorial for this at some point in the near future, it's been on my to-do list for a while. Here is the :MOVE mini code: https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/move-mini-microbit-radio/

      Reply
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