Intro to Robotics: What Extra Equipment is Needed?

 

**Please note, this video does not include discussion of the two additional items needed for newly released Level C.

  • An anti-static mat (click here to purchase one)
  • Desktop, laptop, or Chromebook comptuter for networking activities
Please see the Level C product page for more information on those two items. We will update the video soon!

 

Video Transcript:

Today, I just wanted to quickly talk through the equipment that you'll need in order to use the Intro to Robotics program.

So, when you purchase the curriculum, you'll get a download link to download the curriculum, and you'll get a kit in the mail of the different parts. But there are a few pieces of equipment that you'll need on top of that, and the good news is, you probably already have them at home. So, let's just talk through them really quickly.

Okay, the first thing you're gonna need is a computer monitor. Now, the Raspberry Pi we're sending your kids in their kit, is actually a miniature computer. It's about the size of a credit card, a little bit thicker. It's pretty amazing. But it needs to hook to a computer monitor, right. So, the good news is that you can just detach your computer monitor from your family's computer and hook it to the Raspberry Pi whenever your kids are doing lessons. There's no need to go out and buy another computer monitor.

Now, the only requirement is that the computer monitor you use needs to have HDMI connectors. So, I'm gonna put a picture up on the screen, so that you can see what that looks like. And so you just wanna double check that your monitor has one of those, okay. And then you'll need a cable to connect the Raspberry Pi to the monitor, but that cable is probably attached to your monitor currently.

Okay, let's say though, that maybe you don't have a desktop at home. Maybe your family only uses laptops or tablets normally. You have a couple of other options. One would be that you can normally find computer monitors, fairly inexpensively at like a thrift shop. You can probably get one for 25 bucks. If that's not an option, most newer TVs also have HDMI inputs. And so you can go ahead and just look at the back of your TV. You know, get an inexpensive HDMI cable at Best Buy and you're set. So you've got a couple of options there, this shouldn't be a big deal.

Okay, next up. You're going to need a keyboard and a mouse. And again, you may be able to use what's currently attached to your home computer, but here's the thing. The Raspberry Pi doesn't like keyboards and mice that have a lot of features. Okay, that just gets in the way and complicates things. And so seriously, the best thing you can use for your Raspberry Pi, is the absolute cheapest keyboard in miles you can find on Amazon. There going to be ones that you plug in, they're are not going to be wireless, Raspberry Pi loves being plugged into a keyboard or mouse. Wireless, sometimes it has a little bit of trouble talking to the keyboard and mice correctly. So usually, it usually works, but sometimes it has an issue. So, no joke. Go on Amazon and buy a $15 keyboard and mouse set. And I'll put a link on our site so that there's an option there, but really, just the cheapest thing you can find should work, great. So that's nice and easy.

Next up, you're gonna need two AA batteries. The good thing is that those batteries, unless your kid's doing a ton of experimenting on the side, those batteries will probably last you all the way through level A, no problem. So, we will not be going through a bunch of batteries, so just grab two batteries.

Okay finally, we recommend internet access for level A. Okay, so, here's the deal with internet access. The Raspberry Pi, is capable of getting on your wireless network just fine. It has wireless built in. And in lesson nine in level A, we will teach your student how to access the wireless network, they'll need the password. But access the wireless network or if you have a, your internet is coming in and you have like a cable you can plug that into the Raspberry Pi if you prefer, either way works fine. One of the things that we teach starting in lesson nine, is for students how to do things like update their Raspberry Pi operating system. And how to download files that could be useful when they're building out, coding their programs. In level A, those activities are completely optional.

Okay, so if you are not in a position where you wanna give your student internet access, I totally understand as a mom. And so we've designed level A where it's an optional setup, it's optional, you can just skip those lessons if you need to. It's not a big deal, okay.

In level B though, if you've purchased and worked through level B, just be aware that internet access is needed. When you're working with more complex electrical components like a lot of the sensors that we're teaching in level B, they need their own drivers in order to talk to the Raspberry Pi. So a driver is a piece of software that allows one piece of equipment to talk to another. So like when you buy a new printer, and you bring it home and you hook it up to a computer, you normally have to go on the internet and download drivers or software that allows your particular computer model to talk to the particular printer model. Okay, so it's the same idea. And so with some of the parts that your student will be using in level B, do require drivers, and so they'll need internet access at that time.

Okay, so if you, that's it. If you have any questions, email me, but just quick review. You're gonna need a computer monitor with an HDMI input. You're gonna need an HDMI cable, probably attached to your computer monitor currently. You're gonna need two AA batteries and ideally your kids will need internet access to hook the Raspberry Pi. But, like I said, you have any questions send me an email.

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