Programming the Finch 2 Robot

A workshop led by Tom Lauwers

The Finch Robot 2.0 is a new robot designed to support Computer Science education from kindergarten to college. Like the original Finch, Finch 2.0 can be programmed with Snap! on Windows, Macbooks, and Chromebooks. Unlike the original Finch, the new Finch connects via Bluetooth, and boasts many other hardware upgrades as well, including accurate movement, line sensing, multiple tail LEDs, front-facing distance sensor, line sensing, and a centrally mounted pen for drawing.

Even though Finch is not shipping until fall 2020, and this workshop is online, you will still get to program a real Finch 2.0, thanks to BirdBrain’s newly developed Remote Robots technology. We will have a “Finch arena” with several Finches that workshop participants can control and program from their homes using NetsBlox (a Scratch blocks-like programming environment). The arena will be viewable via video conferencing software and will include a directional light source, a line to detect, and obstacles to avoid. The workshop will cover basic physical computing concepts such as outputs, sensors, control structures, pause, and loops.

About the workshop leader:

Tom Lauwers founded BirdBrain Technologies in 2010 after receiving his doctorate in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. His research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering. Tom seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom. Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.