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4 Ring:Bit Car Starter Projects for All Ages!

ringbit car

 

INTRODUCTION

I’ve always wanted to make a movable robot so when I came across the Ring:bit car kit, I had to get it. I couldn’t wait to build something that could move on its own. (SPOILER: IT WAS A LOT OF FUN!)

WHAT IS THE ELECFREAKS RING:BIT CAR?

The ELECFREAKS Ring:bit Car is a small DIY car driven by the BBC micro:bit. After building the car, you’ll be able to code its movement using the code editor on Microsoft MakeCode for micro:bit

Fortunately for me, this meant that I could comfortably code the Ring:bit car with code blocks instead of having to learn JavaScript or Python (although these options are also available for advanced coders).

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Ring:bit car kit components

The box is small – about the size of a palm. Inside, everything is nicely packed so that you don’t lose anything. The box also includes a mini screwdriver which means no need for searching around the house for one!

However, one thing to take note is that the micro:bit V2 as well as 3 X AAA batteries are NOT included. So you’ll need to get these separately.

ASSEMBLY

Building the Ring:bit car was a lot easier than I expected. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the manual (see below). The instructions are crystal clear and if you do get stuck, there are clear visuals to guide you too! 

Side note: If your car isn’t moving, make sure that the ground wire (black or brown) is connected to the correct pin (see step 8 below).

Steps to make Ring:bit car

PROJECT #1: MAKE A SHAPE

The first thing I tried was to have the car draw its own art. I didn’t believe that this tiny car would be able to draw shapes on its own but to my surprise, it did a fantastic job! 

Of course, I needed to do my part of coding the right instructions onto the MakeCode editor too (see screenshot below).

Code blocks for making a circle with ring:bit car

Side note: You can keep the pen in place by pulling the provided rubber band through the two holes on the back board and fixing it to the opposite sides of the pen holder. However, I chose to use a twist tie since it was already provided with the micro:bit V2 I bought separately.
Ringbit car with twist tie

PROJECT #2: CRAZY DANCE

After drawing shapes, I decided to make the Ring:bit car do a crazy dance. Essentially, you can code it to move randomly so that it starts to look as though the little car is jamming to its own funky groove. Click below to watch how it moves!

 

Here's the code to try it out at home!

Code blocks for crazy dancing ring:bit car

 

PROJECT #3: POLICE CAR

Another cool feature that I wanted to test out was the Ring:bit car's LED lights that glow from below it. These LED lights can be programmed via code so I decided to try recreating a police car with siren sounds as well as red and blue LED colours.
 

Here's the code for this project if you're interested to try it yourself!

Code blocks for making the ring:bit car into a police car

PROJECT #4: LIGHT FOLLOWING CAR

Of all the features of the Ring:bit car, I was most sceptical about its light following abilities. I had read that it can follow light without any additional extensions added. So to confirm this, I decided to try making a light following car. 

Code blocks for light following ring:bit car

As it turns out, the Ring:bit car was completely capable of following the light and it got even better when I switched off all the lights in the room.

VERDICT

I’d definitely say that overall I had lots of fun playing with this DIY smart car. Building it from start to finish allowed me to experience the joy of being an inventor (although all the instructions were already given to me). 

Furthermore, I enjoyed going through the process of trial and error when I struggled to get the car to draw a circle and had to adjust the pen’s position multiple times. 

Most importantly, getting a chance to code with simple blocks enabled me, a novice coder, to be introduced to the limitless possibilities of programming. I certainly am a lot more interested to learn about coding now that I have built a movable car all on my own!

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