How to build a robot

Bring a homemade robot to life with the Calliope Mini. Your robot can beep at the push of a button, reacts to motion and can communicate with you via its display. You write your first code, control the Calliope’s position sensor and make sounds.

  • a Calliope Mini
  • a laptop or computer with a stable internet connection
  • paper ca. 120g or stronger
  • colored pencils for coloring
  • Scissors
  • glue stick
  • Cutter knife
  • Adhesive tape
  • a cutting pad

Let’s go

Duration: ca. 2 – 3 hours

1. Put everything ready

Prepare all the important materials so that you can easily implement your project. A list with all materials can be found above under Materials.

2. Get to know the Calliope Mini

You have never worked with the Calliope and want to find out what the small microcontroller can do? Watch our introductory video and discover the wonderful world of the Calliope mini.

With the help of the learning cards you can do first small exercises with the Calliope mini.

3. Program your Calliope Mini

Before you start designing your robot, you program the Calliope Mini. It will be the heart of your robot.

As a first step we make the heart of the robot beat on the LED display.

For this you need the blocks you see in the picture to the right. Can you put them together correctly?

Tip: "ms" means

Extra: What do you have to change if you want to speed up or slow down the heart?
you would like to have beaten?

Tip: Test your programming directly in the browser with the simulator. Just press "Play" at the bottom of the simulator.

You need these blocks for programming.

This is how the finished programming of the heartbeat looks like.

4. Programming position sensor

Your second task: The heart of the robot should only beat when it is standing upright. In addition, the small LED lamp should light up green.

Have you programmed everything? Then test again with the help of the simulation!

You will need these blocks for programming

This is how the finished programming of the heartbeat looks like with the position sensor query.

5. Let the robot get angry!

In the next step you program the robot to make a sad or angry face and to light a red lamp when you shake it. You already know all the commands you need for it. Just add it under the programming for the heartbeat.

Tip: Next to the "Play" button for the simulation you will find the system view with which you can select the "shake" state to choose different position options.

Programming and simulation of the shaking state

6. Let your robot speak

The robot should now play a sound and write a text when button A or B is pressed.

You can adjust the sound and the length how long it should be played to your taste.

Addendum: Can you also play a short melody?

These blocks you need for programming.

This is the complete programming of the project.

7. Save and download your program

The Calliope mini is connected to your computer via the mini-USB during programming. If you want to transfer your program to the Calliope mini, click on bottom right and save your programming to MINI. In the video the saving is explained to you again exactly.

8. Design your robot now!

Now take your printed robot template and place it on the cutting mat or a cut-proof surface (if you don’t have thick paper at home, you can also glue two A4 sheets together).

Cut out your robot. Make sure that the robot is cut out in one piece. With your cutter knife, very carefully cut out the small openings on the front of the rotobar. Be careful with the tabs on the sides of the robot, these are not cut out completely but folded into tabs. Because that is where you put your arms.

9. Paint your robot

Color the robot and fold it at the respective corners and glue tabs.

10. Build in your Calliope mini

Put the Calliope mini in your robot and tape it to the inside. Also connect the battery holder, put the cable through the arm tab and tape the battery holder to the bottom of the robot.

How to build a robot

11. Yay, assemble your robot!

Now stick your arms on the tab. Close your robot and glue it at the glue tabs.

Wohoo, your robot is ready. Blip, bloop! You can probably think of more things that your robot can do. Have fun programming& Tinker!

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