pyMCU test project looks like a Minecraft mob

pymcu-controlled-blockhead

Hackaday’s own [Jeremy Cook] has been testing out the pyMCU board and managed to put together an animated block head that looks like it could be a foe in Minecraft. That’s thanks mostly to the block of foam he’s using as a diffuser. The face of the project is a set of LEDs. These, along with the servo motors that move the neck are controlled using Python code which you can glance at after the break (there’s a video demo there too).

We first saw pyMCU early in the year. The PIC 16F1939 offers plenty of IO and acts as a USB connected bridge between your hardware and your Python scripts. Speaking of hardware, the test platform used to be an RC helicopter. [Jeremy] scrapped most of it, but kept the servo motors responsible for the pitch of the rotors. The board makes these connections easy, and the concept makes controlling them even easier. In fact, there’s only about 17 lines of code for the functions that control the servos. The rest is a simple UI built with Tkinter.

[Read more...]

LED fun and Light Painting with the pyMCU

pymcu-led-pov-writing

Recently [Richard] at [pyMCU] was nice enough to send me one of their units to try out. As featured here before, this little board allows you to control physical things using your computer and the Python programming language. After evaluating it and making a LED blink, there were a couple other LED projects I wanted to try.

The first idea was to make a LED chaser. This was quite simple, using a little code and plugging in a few LEDs. From this, since you can make the LEDs chase each other, then in the right sequence it should be able to be used to display images using long-exposure photography. Be sure to check out the video after the break of this 10 LED chaser/light bar being assembled.

The results of this LED light bar experiment were really cool, writing some simple text and image with 10 LEDs. Considering the low component count, this is one of the simplest light bar builds that we’ve seen. Programming was simple as well, since the computer using Python does all the processing of the drawing as well as physically turning the LEDs on and off. Of course this setup isn’t without its limitations, having to be connected to a computer being the most obvious. [Read more...]

Python PIC useful when attached to a computer

[Richard] sent in a link to the Python controlled microcontroller he’s been working on. Unlike the previous portable Python boards we’ve seen, [Richard] thinks his pyMCU isn’t best used autonomously. This board is meant to be used only when connected to a computer and to serve as a bridge between the digital world of computers and our analog world.

We’ve seen boards running lightweight Python interpreters, but we’re fairly intrigued by the idea of this board only being useful when plugged into a computer. The on-board PIC 16F chip has enough digital, analog and PWM pins to just about any task imaginable, and there’s also a 16-pin LCD display header if you’d like some output with your microcontrollers.

[Richard] says he’s been working with PICs for longer than the Arduino is around, but depending on the level of interest he’ll consider developing an Arduino version of the pyMCU. All we know is that the pyMCU would be awesome to teach electronics and programming to the younglings, and we could certainly find a few more uses for the board when they’re done with it.

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