Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Desktop Helper

Have you ever wanted a robot that assists you while you're doing work? Recently, one of the members of Knights of Bots finished working on a robot that does just that. The robot is Desktop Helper. It was made using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set.

The Desktop Helper

Desktop Helper can do two things: play music and hold pencils. To play music, simply wave your hand in front of the ultrasonic sensor. Doing so will cause the robot to play the chorus of "Don't Worry be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.

To use the pencil holder, press the button. After pressing the button the pencil holder will move down so you can collect your writing utensil or place a writing utensil inside the holder. Press the button again for the pencil holder to move back up.

Here is a video of how the Desktop Helper works (remember to turn the volume up so you can hear the music):

To program Desktop Helper we used LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Home Edition software. While programming our member encountered a problem, the EV3 could not store sounds that were longer than approximately 8 seconds. In order to play a song, one would have to use a sound editing software to chop up the song into 8 second intervals and save each piece of the song. Then, the song blocks would have to be put together, in order, in the program. Our member used a song editing software named Audacity (a free program) to break the song into intervals. Our mentor/coach (L3GoBots Lady) helped us break the song into intervals. Then each song piece was saved as a sound block and put into the program. However, the song pieces were placed in a different order to make the song fluid.

A screenshot of the Desktop Helper Program

You may have noticed from reading the program (or watching the video) that while playing the song the robot displays a smiley face. Here is a picture of it:

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