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Finch 2.0: FinchBlox Lessons

Level 1
Movement  |  Lights  |  Sound
Level 2
Movement  |  Lights  |  Sound
Level 3
Movement  |  Lights  |  Sound  |  Control

Setup (iOS/Mac/Android/Fire)

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Setup (iOS/Mac/Android/Fire)

This module will cover how to connect, charge, and start programming your Finch Robot with a tablet, smartphone, or Mac computer using FinchBlox as the programming language.

Slide the micro:bit into the Finch tail. Make sure your micro:bit is facing the correct direction, with the A and B buttons facing up and the five holes towards the bottom. Push the micro:bit into place. The five holes will be partially covered when the micro:bit is correctly in place.
To use your Finch wirelessly, you will need to put the micro:bit into Bluetooth Mode. Connect the micro:bit to a computer with the USB cable. 

The micro:bit will appear as an external device on your computer. Download this .hex file and drag it onto the micro:bit.

Download Hex File

Once you’ve put the .hex file onto your micro:bit, your micro:bit should start to flash three letters on its display. You will only need to complete this step once for each Finch – as long as your device is flashing its initials, you are ready to connect via Bluetooth.

You can now unplug the USB cable from the micro:bit. You won’t need the cable or computer any longer because you will be using Bluetooth to connect to the Finch Robot.

To turn on the Finch press and hold the power button on the bottom of your Finch until until one or more of the LEDs in the tail turn on. This should take about 2 seconds. Three letters should now be flashing on the micro:bit.

When turning Finch on or off, the tail LEDs flash the battery charge level:

  • 4 GREEN LEDs = Full charge
  • 3 GREEN LEDs = Partial charge
  • 2 YELLOW LEDs = Recharging Recommended
  • 1 RED LED = Recharge now

If the battery is very low, all tail LEDs will quickly blink RED 5 times, once per minute, until you plug the Finch in for charging.

To charge the Finch, plug the micro USB into the charging slot beneath the Finch’s tail.

Plugging the micro USB into the micro:bit will NOT charge the Finch!

Fully charging the Finch takes 7 hours. We suggest charging the Finch overnight.

The micro:bit is not needed to charge the Finch.

To turn off the Finch after you are done using it, hold down the power button until the beak turns red. The Finch will show its battery status using the tail LEDs. 

The Finch will also turn itself off to save battery power if it is inactive for 10 minutes without connecting to Bluetooth, or for 20 minutes while connected to Bluetooth.

Install the free FinchBlox app on your tablet or smartphone.

Open FinchBlox on your device.

Tap or click the Finch-shaped connection link icon in the upper left of your screen. Select the name that corresponds to the three initials flashing on the micro:bit.

 FinchBlox Basics:

  • Drag blocks from the menus on the bottom of your screen into the white space to create a program.
  • Tap or click chains of blocks to start a program. Chains attached to the green flag block can be started by tapping or clicking the green flag. Blocks will highlight green while they are running.
  • To stop a program at any time, hit the Red Stop Sign.
  • There are 3 levels of progressively advanced programming in FinchBlox. Tap or click the purple button in the top right to change levels.

Download a description of all of the FinchBlox Blocks here.

 

Setup (Mac/Windows/Chrome)

This module will cover how to connect, charge, and start programming your Finch Robot using FinchBlox as the programming language.

You will program the robot in the Chrome browser through finchblox.birdbraintechnologies.com. This website is compatible with Chromebooks as well as Mac/Windows/Linux computers, but your device must have Bluetooth capability.

Slide the micro:bit into the Finch tail. Make sure your micro:bit is facing the correct direction, with the A and B buttons facing up and the five holes towards the bottom. Push the micro:bit into place. The five holes will be partially covered when the micro:bit is correctly in place.
To use your Finch wirelessly, you will need to put the micro:bit into Bluetooth Mode. Connect the micro:bit to a computer with the USB cable. 

The micro:bit will appear as an external device on your computer. Download this .hex file and drag it onto the micro:bit.

Download Hex File

Once you’ve put the .hex file onto your micro:bit, your micro:bit should start to flash three letters on its display. You will only need to complete this step once for each Finch – as long as your device is flashing its initials, you are ready to connect via Bluetooth.

You can now unplug the USB cable from the micro:bit. You won’t need the cable or computer any longer because you will be using Bluetooth to connect to the Finch Robot.

To turn on the Finch press and hold the power button on the bottom of your Finch until until one or more of the LEDs in the tail turn on. This should take about 2 seconds. Three letters should now be flashing on the micro:bit.

When turning Finch on or off, the tail LEDs flash the battery charge level:

  • 4 GREEN LEDs = Full charge
  • 3 GREEN LEDs = Partial charge
  • 2 YELLOW LEDs = Recharging Recommended
  • 1 RED LED = Recharge now

If the battery is very low, all tail LEDs will quickly blink RED 5 times, once per minute, until you plug the Finch in for charging.

To charge the Finch, plug the micro USB into the charging slot beneath the Finch’s tail.

Plugging the micro USB into the micro:bit will NOT charge the Finch!

Fully charging the Finch takes 7 hours. We suggest charging the Finch overnight.

The micro:bit is not needed to charge the Finch.

To turn off the Finch after you are done using it, hold down the power button until the beak turns red. The Finch will show its battery status using the tail LEDs. 

The Finch will also turn itself off to save battery power if it is inactive for 10 minutes without connecting to Bluetooth, or for 20 minutes while connected to Bluetooth.

Open FinchBlox on your device.

Click the Finch-shaped connection link icon in the upper left of your screen. You will see a list of devices that start with FN (for Finch). You may see one robot or many, depending on how many are nearby. If you don’t know which robot is yours, write down the first device name on the list, i.e. FN5AE67. Then click that device. Once you know which Finch is connected, use masking tape to label it with the device name you wrote down. This will help you connect to the correct device in the future.

You will hear a sound as the Finch connects, and the initials will stop flashing on the micro:bit. Once you have connected to a Finch, the initials of your robot will appear on a green robot icon in the upper left of the screen.

You can use FinchBlox online or offline. To use FinchBlox offline with the Finch, install it on your Chromebook using the plus button in your browser.

FinchBlox Basics:

  • Drag blocks from the menus on the bottom of your screen into the white space to create a program.
  • Click chains of blocks to start a program. Chains attached to the green flag block can be started by clicking the green flag. Blocks will highlight green while they are running.
  • To stop a program at any time, hit the Red Stop Sign.
  • There are 3 levels of progressively advanced programming in FinchBlox. Click the purple button in the top right to change levels.

Download a description of all of the FinchBlox Blocks here.

Movement

FinchBlox includes three different levels to help you gradually learn more about writing programs for the Finch. In Level 1, you create sequences to control the movements, lights, and sounds of the Finch. This module will show you how to use the blocks on the Movement menu to make the Finch move and turn.

First make sure that you are in Level 1 of FinchBlox. If you see a 2 or a 3 instead, tap or click the number and then choose 1.

This block moves the Finch forward 10 cm. Tap or click the block to try it out.

You create a program by connecting blocks to the flag block. Then tap or click the green flag button at the top of the screen to run your program.

If you need to delete a block, drag it back to the bottom of the screen until the trash can appears.

There are other blocks to move the Finch in other directions. This block moves the Finch backward 10 cm.

This block turns the Finch right 90°.

This block turns the Finch left 90°.

Create a program with the Finch movement blocks. What can you make the Finch do?

Lights

This module will teach you how to use the lights in the Finch’s beak and tail.

This block turns on the Finch beak for 1 second. There are separate blocks for red, green, and blue.

This block turns on the Finch tail for 1 second. There are separate blocks for red, green, and blue.

Create a program with the Finch light blocks. What can you make the Finch do?

Sound

This module will teach you how to make the Finch play music notes.

This block plays a note using the Finch buzzer. There are five separate blocks for five different notes. Each note lasts for half a second.

Create a program with the movement, light, and sound blocks. What can you make the Finch do?

Movement

In Level 2 of FinchBlox, you can adjust each block to change things like how far the Finch moves or which note it should play. This module will show you how to use the blocks on the Movement menu to make the Finch move and turn.

First make sure that you are in Level 2 of FinchBlox. If you see a 1 or a 3 instead, tap or click the number and then choose 2.

This block moves the Finch forward. To choose how far the Finch will move, tap or click the number at the bottom of the block. Then use the slider to select a distance from 5 cm to 100 cm.

This block moves the Finch backward. To choose how far the Finch will move, tap or click the number at the bottom of the block. Then use the slider to select a distance from 5 cm to 100 cm.

This block turns the Finch to the right. Use the slider to choose how far the Finch should turn from 5° to 360°. Notice that the picture to the right of the slider shows you how far the Finch will turn.

This block turns the Finch to the left. Use the slider to choose how far the Finch should turn from 5° to 360°. 

Create a program with the Finch movement blocks. Can you make the Finch draw a letter?

Lights

This module will teach you how to use the lights in the Finch’s beak and tail. You will use sliders to choose exactly which color you want. You will also learn to use the tiny lights on the micro:bit.

This block turns on the Finch beak for 1 second. To choose the color of the beak, tap or click the color at the bottom of the block. Then use the slider to select the color that you want.

This block turns on the Finch tail for 1 second. Use the slider to select the color that you want.

This block displays a picture on the micro:bit in the Finch tail. The picture is displayed for 1 second. Use the slider to select the picture that you want.

Create a program with the Finch light blocks. Can you program a rainbow?

Sound

This module will teach you how to make the Finch play music notes. You will use a pop-up keyboard to choose the note you want.

This block plays a note using the Finch buzzer. To choose the note, tap or click the note name at the bottom of the block. Then tap or click a piano key to select the note that you want. Each note lasts for half a second.

Create a program with the Finch sound blocks. Can you play a simple song?

Movement

In Level 3 of FinchBlox, you can make more adjustments to the blocks to change what the Finch will do. For example, you can choose both how far the Finch moves and how fast it moves. This module will show you how to use the blocks on the Movement menu in Level 3.

First make sure that you are in Level 3 of FinchBlox. If you see a 1 or a 2 instead, tap or click the number and then choose 3.

This block moves the Finch forward. To choose how far and how fast the Finch will move, tap or click the numbers at the bottom of the block. Then use the top slider to select a distance from 5 cm to 100 cm and the bottom slider to select a speed from 10 to 100%.

This block moves the Finch backward. Use the top slider to select a distance from 5 cm to 100 cm and the bottom slider to select a speed from 10 to 100%.

This block turns the Finch to the right. Use the top slider to choose how far the Finch should turn from 5° to 360°. Notice that the picture to the right of the slider shows you how far the Finch will turn. Use the bottom slider to select a speed from 10 to 100%.

This block turns the Finch to the left. Use the top slider to choose how far the Finch should turn from 5° to 360° and the bottom slider to select a speed from 10 to 100%.

Create a program with the Finch movement blocks. Can you make the Finch dance?

In Level 3, the Movement menu also contains two blocks that use the Finch sensors. 

A sensor is a part of a robot that measures something. For example, the Finch contains light sensors that measure the light around the robot and a distance sensor that measures the distance to an obstacle in front of the Finch.

This block moves the Finch forward until the robot detects that it is dark.

This block moves the Finch forward until the distance sensor under the Finch’s beak detects an obstacle.

For example, when you run this program, the Finch will move forward until it sees an obstacle, then it will turn right, and then it will move forward until it is dark.

Create a program that uses one of the sensor blocks. Can you make the Finch find the edges of your room?

Lights

This module will teach you to use the Finch lights in Level 3. You will use sliders to choose how long the lights should be on, as well as which color or picture you want.

This block turns on the Finch beak. Use the top slider to choose the color of the beak. Use the bottom slider to choose a time from 1 to 10 (tenths of a second). The time determines how long the color will be on.

This block turns on the Finch tail.  Use the top slider to choose the color and the bottom slider to choose a time from 1 to 10 (tenths of a second).

This block displays a picture on the micro:bit in the Finch tail. Use the top slider to choose the picture you want and the bottom slider to choose a time from 1 to 10 (tenths of a second).

Create a program with the Finch light blocks. Can you make the Finch tail blink a lot of different colors quickly?

Sound

This module will teach you how to make the Finch play music notes. You will use a pop-up keyboard to choose the note you want and a slider to choose how long the note lasts.

This block plays a note using the Finch buzzer. Tap or click a piano key to select the note that you want. Use the bottom slider to choose a time from 1 to 10 (tenths of a second). The time determines how long the note will last.

Create a program with the Finch sound blocks. Can you play a song with some short notes and some long notes?

Control

Level 3 also contains a yellow Control menu. This menu contains blocks that you can use the make your program start, wait, or repeat blocks.

This block is placed at the beginning of a program. Blocks attached to this one will run when the user taps or clicks the flag button. You can run more than one program at a time. This is called parallel programming.

This block pauses a program. Use the slider to select a time from 1 to 50 (tenths of a second). During this time, the Finch won’t do anything.

This is a loop block. Blocks inside this one will be repeated until you tap or click the stop button. For example, you can make the Finch blink its beak two different colors until you press stop.

This is another loop block. Blocks inside this one will be repeated a certain number of times. Select the repeat number from 1 to 10.  For example, you can make the Finch blink its tail two different colors five times.

This is another block you can use to start a program. Blocks attached to this one will run when the Finch detects that it is dark. For example, you can turn on the tail lights when it is dark!

If your Finch has a micro:bit V2, there is a third block you can use to start a program. Blocks attached to this one will run when the Finch detects a loud noise like a clap. For example, you can make the Finch move forward when you clap!

If your Finch doesn’t have a micro:bit V2, this block will be gray. That means that you can’t use it.

Use the Finch control blocks to write a program. Can you repeat a sequence of movements, lights, and sound when it is dark?