MASSENA — Miniature robots glided around a table at the Massena Public Library on Wednesday, following the commands that had been programmed through a phone app by participants in the Ozobot program.
They could follow a designated path, like moving forward or backward 2 inches, or they could move along a sheet of paper with color bars drawn in, using light sensors on the side to navigate. All Ozobots use downward facing cameras to detect the color of the line under it. They follow lines using a back-and-forth motion. The cameras also detect colors which give different commands via different color combinations.
“It’s a great introduction to learn code,” Youth Services Library Assistant Ronnie Tatro said.
She led several participants, ages 8 to 13, through the process of getting their Ozobot to move.
“That’s kind of the target range,” she said.
Using a free app that’s available for the iPhone or Android, the participants were able to program in commands that would tell the Ozobot what to do.
“That’s how you start the program,” Ms. Tatro said.
The mini-robot could even be programmed to push a foam cylinder resembling a marshmallow around the table, trying to collect as many as possible in process.
According to the manufacturer’s website, Ozobot is Ozobot & Evollve, Inc.’s take on smart robotics.
“These tiny robots come in a few forms, the Bits model having only wheels and a sensor while the more advanced Evo model has Bluetooth connectivity and programming capability as well. Using different colored markers to denote different directions, users can draw paths for them to follow and give commands such as slow down, speed up, or stop,” the website notes.
Wednesday’s program was part of the library’s summer activity schedule. More information about upcoming activities can be found on the library’s website at https://www.massenapubliclibrary.org/.