Bring fischertechnik to Life with Scratch Programming

kristielCoding & Programming, fischertechnik

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Combine fischertechnik ROBO with the visual, easy-to-learn programming language, Scratch. It’s easy to control motors and light indicators instantly with mini-switches and phototransitors. With Scratch, you can program your fischertechnik robotic designs with simple tasks to complex projects. This programming language is specifically designed for students, ages 8 to 16. However, it is used by people of all ages from elementary grade levels to college!

Scratch is free and easy to integrate into your fischertechnik ROBO set! Note: experimental extensions to Scratch, like fischertechnik ROBO LT, use the development platform – ScratchX.

How Scratch Programming Works

Students use both Scratch and fischertechnik sets across multiple disciplines as a cross-curricular addition to their STEM curriculum. It seems only logical to combine these incredible technologies to help students explore science, technology, engineering, math, language arts and so much more!

Follow these five easy steps to start programming your fischertechnik ROBO LT set.

  1. Connect ROBO LT to the PC
  2. Download and install relevant drivers
  3. Download the  FTScratch program and run FTScratch
    (Note: This program requires .NET framework 4, usually installed on Windows PCs)
  4. Open ScratchX with the extension (Recommended for use in Firefox or Chrome)
  5. Start programming!

This software does not replace the excellent fischertechnik ROBO Pro software, but it does offer students an alternative approach to programming fischertechnik with lower entry requirements. The Scratch platform may offer a solution that requires less programming expertise and provides students with more interactive application types.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

Block Descriptions for FTScratch

Check out the simple layout of the most commonly used FTScratch blocks. These descriptions can also be found on the FTScratch website in English and German.

This block event triggers when a mini-switch input I1 (I2, I3) is pressed.

This block event triggers as soon as a light barrier opens or closes. For instance, it may trigger when the light beam between an indicator light and a phototransitor on input I3 (I1 or I2) is disrupted, or not disrupted. The light source may be on output M1 or M2.

This sensing block polls the status (pressed or released) of a mini-switch on input I1 (I2 or I3). It can be combined with blocks under headings “Operators” and “Control”.

This sensing block polls the status of a light barrier, closed or open, on input I3 (I1 or I2). This block can also be combined with blocks under the “Operators” and “Control” sections.

This sensing block retrieves the current value of output M1 (or M2) that may then be used for calculations or conditional expressions in combination with blocks under the “Operators”, “Control” or “Events” sections. The value retrieved is between -8 and +8, noting backward (-) and forward (+) motor function.

This block sets output MI (M2) to a value from 0-8. Blocks like this are ideal for an indicator light.

This block sets output MI (M2) to perform a backward or forward motion with a value of -/+ 0-8. This block is best used in conjunction with a motor.

This block sets output M1 (or M2) to a forward or backward motion without changing the value. Used to change the rotational direction of a motor at a constant value.

This block sets the output M1 (or M2) to a fixed value or variable value, which is used to in conjunction with the “Get Value” block previously mentioned. It can also be combined with blocks under the “Control”, “Operators” and “Events” sections. This is ideal for programming more complex tasks.

This block resets the ROBO LT. All outputs are returned to zero.

Learn More About fischertechnik

We’ve let you in on how FTScratch works, but it all starts with getting to know the unique fischertechnik building system. Visit our fischertechnik page to learn more about this innovative company that has been inspiring STEM and the next generation of scientists for the last 50 years!

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