LESSON 1: Get familiar and set up
Technology skills – Students familiarise themselves with the programming environment and how to download a program to the robot.
Before we can use Edison we need to get a few things ready.
- Get Edison ready
- Get to know Edison
- Install Edison’s software ‘EdWare’
- Check that everything is working by downloading a test program
Get Edison ready
Ensure the batteries are the right way
Open the battery compartment and remove the programming cable. Now insert 4 ‘AAA’ batteries. Refer to the image to ensure that the batteries are the correct way around and clip the battery cover on.
Turn Edison on by sliding the power switch to the on position. Edison’s red LED lights will now start flashing.
Edison is ready to go!
Push the switch towards the on symbol
Meet Edison (Worksheet 1.1)
Students will need to be familiar with Edison and know where all the sensors are and what the three buttons do. Have students review the images in Worksheet 1.1. It may be worthwhile having this Worksheet available for students to review through the 10 lessons.
Get to know Edison’s sensors and buttons
Play button – Press to start program
Stop button – Press to stop a program
Record button – 1 press = download program, 3 presses = read barcode
Edison’s power switch and line tracking sensor
The EdComm cable is used to download your programs to Edison. It connects into the headphone socket on your computer or tablet.
Edison’s line tracking sensor is made up of two parts a red LED light and a light sensor.
The line tracking sensor also reads special barcodes that activate pre-installed programs.
EdComm programming cable
The EdWare programming software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Raspberry Pi. Point your internet browser to meetedison.com/downloads to obtain the installation files and instructions on how to install EdWare for your operating system.
For Windows operating systems sound enhancements must be disabled. Follow these steps to disable all enhancements.
How to disable all enhancements in Windows 7
Barcode programming (Worksheet 1.2)
To get students excited about robotics and what they will learn, hand out worksheet 1.2 with the robots. The worksheet includes four barcodes that Edison can scan.
Have the students scan each barcode and describe to them how they work and the sensors that they use.
Clap controlled driving
Place Edison down on a flat surface and press the play (triangle) button. Now clap your hands close to Edison. He will turn to his right. Now clap your hands twice and Edison will drive forward about 30cm. Also, try tapping Edison with your finger, once and then twice.
Edison has a sound sensor and uses it to respond to claps.
Press the play (triangle) button and watch Edison approach an obstacle and then turn away to avoid colliding with it. Edison is using infrared light to detect obstacles in his path.
Place Edison to one side of your line, (1.5cm/0.6in wide) so that the line tracking sensor is on white. Now press the play (triangle) button and watch Edison follow the line.
Edison’s line tracking sensor shines light on the surface and then measures the amount of light that is reflected back. White reflects a lot of light, giving a high light reading and black reflects very little, giving a low light reading.
Edison line following
To track the line Edison is in a constant state of dissatisfaction. When he is off the line, he turns right to get on the line. But when he’s on the line, he turns left to get off the line. This results in him waddling on the edge of the line.
You will need a torch/flashlight and a flat surface away from any really bright light, such as sun light. Press the play button and aim the torch at Edison. Once he ‘sees’ the bright source of light he will drive towards it. By moving the torch you can control where Edison drives to. Does this behaviour remind you of anything?
This is one of Edison’s most interesting programs, because it mimics the behaviour we see in some flying insect. I’m sure you’ve seen moths on a hot summer night swarming around a bright light. This type of robotic behaviour is called ‘phototropism’ and is found in plants that grow towards the sun.
Meet EdWare (Worksheet 1.3)
Once the students are excited and motivated from their interactions with Edison they can start using EdWare.
To gain familiarity, have students open the software and start moving the icons from the icon palette on the left and placing them in the program area. There is no need to make a working program at this stage.
Here is what EdWare for Windows looks like. EdWare for the other operating systems looks very similar.
To start programming, grab icons from the palette on the left and drag them onto the programming area. Place the icons between the ‘start’ and ‘end’ icons.
Select an icon and adjust the settings in the icon property box to control how Edison responds to that icon.
Use the help text as a guide while programming. Everything you need to know about an icon can be found here.
The variables section is where you can create and view little pieces of Edison’s memory. More on this in lesson 9.
Test program (Worksheet 1.4)
The students can now open the test program.
File name: Test Program.edw (Windows location: C:\Program Files\EdWare\My Programs)
The test program looks like this:
Explain to the students this is what a program looks like. Edison looks at each icon one at a time and does what the icon says. The arrows show the direction that Edison reads the icons. In this program there is a loop, so the program loops around forever or until the batteries go flat.
The students can now download the test program to their robots.
Connect the EdComm cable to the headphone socket on the computer or tablet and turn up the volume to full. Plug the other end of the EdComm cable into Edison as shown.
To download the test program follow these steps:
- Press Edison’s record (round) button once
- In EdWare press the ‘Program Edison’ button and then ‘Start Download’
- Press Edison’s play (triangle) button to start the program
Edison will now run the test program and spin left and right, flashing his lights and beeping.
Explain to the students that the robot reads each icon one by one and in the sequence shown by the arrows. Each icon tells the robot what to do.
Also explain to the students that the program goes from the computer/tablet through the cable to the Edison robot. The cable converts the sounds from the headphone jack into light, which the robot receives and stores the program in its memory.