At first sight the Roamer is a friendly little robot that runs around the floor in more outfits than Imelda Marcos. There is, however, another side to this giant “Smartie with brains”. With the addition of the Roamer Control Box it changes from an intelligent pet to a sophisticated control device capable of introducing control work to the primary class or setting challenges to secondary children. In a series of articles Marcus Topham Senior IT Development Officer with Bradford LEA takes a look at these Roamer features.
The Classic Roamer Control Products are no longer available. But if you have these products in schools you will find this article useful. Control products for the new Roamer are just coming on stream.
Creating robot characters is one of Roamer’s most important educational features. The control capability enables these robots to be animated and adds an exciting dimension to the product. Robot dogs with wagging tails, bumble bees with flapping wings and robotic disc jockeys complete with their own music and light show are just some of the possibilities. The only limitation is the child’s imagination.
The Valiant Accessory Packs are designed to make the development of Roamer models a simple task. You can also use your own equipment, popular construction kits like Lego or the contents of the junk box.
Roamer’s Control programming language has a Logo-like structure. It uses Repeat and Procedure commands and is closely related to Valiant’s Control Console language.
Roamer Inputs and Outputs can have two states: High or Low. So to turn on a motor (connected to Output 1) you “Set Output 1 High”.
High and Low refers to a voltage. Engineers use these terms because it avoids confusion caused by using words like ON and OFF. For example, is a sensor ON when it is activated or when it is stimulated?
The new Roamer uses a simplified programming approach. It focuses more on programming and less on electronics.