Introducing: The Finch
Low-cost Personal Robot
$99
Sensors and Connections
The Accelerometer controlling
LED output
Sensors and Outputs
Sensors
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Sensors
The Finch is capable of sensing ambient light levels, temperature, obstacles placed in front of it, and acceleration.
Light. The Finch uses two photoresistors to detect ambient light levels. These sensors are analog with 8 bits of resolution
and can easily differentiate sunny and cloudy days and brightness of various indoor light sources. These sensors are
commonly used as either input devices or to allow the Finch to track towards or away from light sources.
Temperature. The Finch has a single thermistor sensor that detects the ambient temperature. The sensor can also
determine the temperature of an object if the object is placed in contact with the sensor. The temperature sensor is accurate
to within 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Obstacle Detection. The Finch has two Infrared sensors. These sensors can detect obstacles in front of the Finch. The
sensors are digital and so act as virtual bumpers - they do not provide information on the distance to an obstacle, but simply
register whether an obstacle exists. The sensor detection range is between 3 and 12 inches. Due to the limitations of this
type of sensor very narrow objects or objects made of certain black plastics may not register as obstacles.
Accelerometers. The Finch uses a Freescale MMA7660FC 3-axis MEMS accelerometer to detect acceleration. The
sensor can detect accelerations of +/- 1.5 gees. The primary use of the accelerometer is to detect the direction of gravity, so
as to know how the Finch is oriented (flat on the ground, upright, etc). It is also possible to detect spikes in acceleration
caused by tapping or shaking the Finch.
Motors
• The Finch has two gear motors and uses
its tail as a slide caster. It can turn in place
around the axis of the motor's shafts. The
wheels are press-fit onto the motor
shafts. The Finch's top speed is roughly
15 inches per second.
Robustness
(click to play video)
Programming
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Java
Python/Jython
Javascript (beta)
Processing
Visual Basic
Scala
C++
• Soon:
– Labview
– Alice-like
– Scratch-like
Getting Started:
• Detailed instructions and a screencast at:
– http://www.finchrobot.com/getting-started
• Boils down to:
– Select your favorite IDE and download the Finch
package
– Follow Instructions to Run Finch Package in the IDE:
http://www.finchrobot.com/creating-compiling-andrunning-programs-finch
– Take a look at the examples as well as the Javadocs