This is the third instalment in a series of blogs post to support a RoadTest Review of the ACCESS:bit for micro:bit . The review is being conducted by a student from a high school computer club. Details can be found here RoadTest Support: ACCESS:bit for micro:bit The Application
This blog post picks up from where the unboxing blog post RoadTest Support: ACCESS:bit for micro:bit Introduction (Research and Unboxing) left off. After some discussion with the club coach on next steps, I started working with the device. These are my initial impressions.
The first test was to plug the micro:bit into my Windows 10 and Ubuntu laptop using the micro USB cable. The device ran a program to demonstrate some of the capabilities of the micro:bit. The radio features and Bluetooth stuff were not supported in the demo. Just seeing some of the stuff got me excited thinking about the things I could do once I learned how to program the device.
I then assemble the ACCESS:bit and connected it to the micro:bit. Using a cross screwdriver I followed the instructions found in 2787953.pdf. The step by step and pictures enabled me to complete the task without need of assistance. One of the goals of this project is to work independent. I'm being encouraged to do as much of the work myself with the knowledge that I have a coach for guidance when needed.
I am experienced with using small tools like a screwdriver, so assembly of the ACCESS:bit was not difficult. At Club meetings I have noticed some of other students having trouble using a screw driver. Students not having experience working with tools might need some guidance knowing how to tighten the screws. The instructions allowed me to complete the assembly without the need of help.
To assemble the Access:bit I only needed a cross screwdriver, the provided screws, servo motor, access gate, and the Microbit. The servo motor is mounted on one side of the access:bit by two screws and nuts, the gate barrier then fits onto the servo motorand is held on by a cross screw as shown in the documentation. The ACCESS bit did not have a demo you have to program it. To use the Access:bit you would need to learn some programming plus the skills. That is my next task.
The ACCESS:bit I received does not support a left and right side actuator arm positioning as shown in the in the picture from the documentation and from the picture on the RoadTest review posting. The construction and component mounting is different. On the unit provided there is no cutout and mounting holes to position the servo and gate on the opposite side. The speaker is also moved. The unit I have indicates version 1.1. I'm not sure if the feature was discontinued or only offered on later versions of the hardware. The left and right positioning is unfortunate. One of the objectives after learning how to program the unit in python, was to move the servo and make the code change to support it.
My initial impression would be this product is for people who want to learn more about electronics or people that want to learn to code and work with hardware. I think years 12 and up are best suited for this product.