Programming a Robot Intruder Alarm

Dot and Dash

Don’t know who Dot is?  Let me introduce you to the world of MakeWonder and Dash and Dot.  They are easy-to-program robots.  My preschooler even programs them in the capacity that she can.

I saw this activity on MakeWonder’s website and wanted to try it for myself. It looked like a great real world application for the Robots, and a lot of fun for the kids.

This was a great activity, but in reality has a few flaws. The “when Dot moves” command sounds great – every time he moves on the string his alarm goes off. That should mean an intruder rustling about would set him off. And intruders do. But the sensors on my Dot are so sensitive that he goes off with every draft of air. That got old really quick.

It seems like Dot is missing a command. The only when Dot commands that exist are: button 1, button 2, button 3, hear clap, move, shake, toss, look up, look down, lean left and lean right. Dot can hear a clap, why can’t he hear a voice like Dash does? That would be a good way to trigger the alarm.

Trial and Error: Dot as an Alarm Take Two

The only other option to try was “when dot shake trigger alarm.” Unfortunately, it takes a good hard shake to trigger this command. I was hoping for something in between a slight move (for the move command) and the hard shake (shake command) for the purpose of this Dot alarm system.

Conclusion

We probably won’t be setting this contraption up in the kids’ rooms at night. For that matter, we won’t probably be doing it again. This project was sort of a fail at my house. Until MakeWonder comes up with a less sensitive move command, we’re better off without the Dot Alarm.

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