Writing your own custom modules, home automation, and projectiles

I’m a programmer and I’m thinking about getting a gopigo for my 10 year old son who has some experience with scratch. He has expressed interest in robotics and home automation and he loves nerf guns.

My questions are:

  1. I see you had a home automation contest a few years ago - but there was not a single entry? I found your Alexabot article but I’m wondering: can the Alexabot as presented do anything that alexa can, i.e. easily control smart plugs ( like a TP-Link HS100 ) ? Or does the alexa interface just trigger local routines that you have to program? Can you say: “Alexa, play my bedtime playlist” and have it play from your amazon music account or is it just using an alexa voice processing library?

  2. In your scratch or dexterOS interfaces, can you write your own custom modules to insert into the graphical programming gui? So for example, can I write an advanced python module to control smart plugs and do other general things that you can do with a raspberry pi ( not specifically the gopigo ) and then can he just drag and drop my modules to use them in scratch or dexterOS?

  3. Do you have any other examples/tutorials/recommendations regarding the gopigo and home automation? There is some general info out there on the raspberry pi and home automation but I’m not sure how easily that would integrate into the scratch or dexterOS programming environments. I think it would be a bit of stretch to have my son jump right to python.

  4. If I could get the office canon you mention in several places I know this would be a hit with my son - but its not available anymore as far as I can tell. There was one guy who managed to attach a full size nerf gun to a raspberry pi robot, but something simpler would be preferable. Do you have any other ideas or projects with projectiles for the gopigo?

We did have a contest I think; was this through Instructables?
The Alexa projecct we put together worked through IFTT. So it depends on what you’re trying to do; if you want to build the Alexa to do typical Alexa routines (like play a song or playlist) that’s perfectly doable. If you want to incorporate a robot or outside commands, you will need to work through IFTT.

We interface through Scratch through the GoPiGo3Scratch.py program. So you can include commands that trigger your own Python programming. We don’t write our own Scratch Blocks per se, but we use Broadcasting to send messages from Scratch to a Python program listening in the background.

I don’t think we have any more examples of integrating the GoPiGo with home automation. I think to do this, you would indeed need to hop into Python.

I just checked Amazon and see that the USB Nerf Cannon is indeed no longer offered! We’ll have to take a look, it was a fun project; we will look around and see if we can integrate something similar. However, we don’t have plans to do this right now (or a timeline).



Thanks John, I ordered one, hopefully we’ll make some contributions in these areas in the next year.

I found the instructables contest page, I didn’t notice the link in your forum post hidden under the “Prizes include awesome hardware from Dexter Industries!” text.

Great! Good luck with the new robot!