1. Introduction to Mind+
With so many different graphical Programming software products on the market, how can you get the right one? It may disappoint you when you found that your software only supports some certain hardware and robots or even cannot work with any hardware at all. Where to find a software with all you wanted?
Why not try our Mind+ graphical Programming software!
Mind+ is a graphical Programming platform that can support all kinds of open source hardware such as Arduino, micro: bit. It is not only suitable for primary and secondary school students, but also able to provide a great learning environment for makers who want to improve themselves by studying high-level Programming language such as Arduino, python, c, c++ etc. Drag and combine code blocks to make programs, easy to find the joy of creating.
From beginners to experienced makers, Mind+ can satisfy all your needs: learning Programming, running programs without downloading, experiencing IoT(Internet of Things), sharing ideas with Mind+ community and so on. Come and play with Mind+, more surprises waiting for you!
1.1 Download and Install Mind+
STEP1: Download Mind+ Programming Software (The tutorial is based on Mind+ V1.1.2)
Open the webpage and download: http://mindplus.cc
Figure 1.1.1 Mind+ Download Interface
STEP2: Install Driver
After downloaded and installed the software, open and click “Learning” to learn how to install driver.
1. Click to open Learning ->Video Tutorials
Figure1.1.2 Video Tutorials
2. Click the related tutorial, and play the video.
Figure 1.1.3 Click to play the video
3. Install the SerialPort driver according to the instruction. And you just need to install the driver for once.
1.1.4 Install SerialPort Driver
STEP3: Switch to “Code” mode (The tutorial is based on “Code” mode).
1. Click “Code” icon at the right corner to switch mode.
2. Switched to ”Code” mode successfully.
Figure 1.1.5 Switching mode
1.2 Mind+ Interface
To convenient the operation, first we should be familiar with the basic functions of the software’s interface. If we compare the Mind+ software as a stage, what are the functions of its different sections?
Figure 1.2.1 Mind+ Interface
Menu Bar: Software setting area.
This is the backstage of the whole “stage”. Without the help of the menu bar, we can do nothing with this software. What functions are there behind the “stage”?
“Project”: create a new project, load a project, save a project, save a project as.
“Learning”: where you can find lots of useful tutorials and examples programs.
“Connect Device”: detect the connected device, and you can select to connect or disconnect the device. “Scratch/Code” icon: switch mode to run program.
“ Setting” icon: set the theme and language of the software; share and learn on our community or E-mail us your feedback.
Command: This is the “tool section” of the stage. We need all kinds of tools to give an excellent performance on the stage, and we can get more extra tools in “Extensions” to support different hardware.
Script: Here is the core of the “stage performance”. All performances will be acted under the instruction of “script”. This is what we called graphical Programming, easy and simple for beginners to understand. Just drag the code blocks in the “Command” to here then you can program.
Code: If you want to check the codes of the blocks in the “script”, this is the right place.
Serial Port: How do you know whether you have made a successful performance? -Interact with your audience. This is the place your audiences give you their “opinion” about the performance. The downloading situation will be displayed on there, so you can check whether your download is successful, or if not, what’s the reason. Besides, you can see the programs running here. The serial port communication data will also be displayed. That is to say, if your micro: bit board is connected with an external sound sensor, you can find the related data here. This section also includes: serialport open/close, scroll display open/close, clear output, baud setting, serialport input and output format control
2. Micro: bit
Micro: bit is an open source hardware ARM-based embedded system designed by the BBC. It has accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth, three buttons and a display consisting of 25 LEDs.
With micro: bit, you can create many interesting and cool things, for example, use it as a mini-mobile phone; connect the board with phone through onboard Bluetooth, then send commands to control the board by the phone; realize telecommunication of multiple micro: bit boards via wireless connection to finish tasks requiring long-distance control; use magnetometer to make navigation device…. Micro: bit is equipped with light and temperature sensors and other common sensing devices, which means that it itself can produce a lot of common smart products used in our daily life.
micro: bit and micro: bit Expansion Board
Limitation of micro: bit
1. micro: bit cannot directly drive devices requiring large currents like, motor, servo etc. due to its poor drive ability, so edge connectors are necessary for connecting more external devices.
2. The power supply and signal voltage of micro: bit is 3.3V, which cannot work together with the common 5V electronic components. Welcome to the DFRobot blog: https://www.dfrobot.com/blog-tag-microbit.html 13 / 115
The advantages of micro: bit expansion board
1. micro: bit expansion board can easily lead out the extra pins of micro: bit, plug and play, easy to use;
2. The expansion interfaces of micro: bit improve the safety and stability of connection.
3. Micro- USB external power port VIN can be used to provide extra power for external electronic devices such as LED strip, servo etc. (USB wire still needs to be connected to micro: bit when running the programs.)
4. Micro: bit expansion board comes with 3.5mm headphone jack and volume knob, supporting direct connection of headphone.
3. Get Started with Mind+ and micro: bit
Please prepare a Windows computer and components as below before we get started:
STEP1: Select micro: bit
1. Click “Project”-> “New Project” at the upper-left corner.
2. (1) Click “Extensions” at the lower-left corner
(2) Click “Board”
(3) Click “Micro: bit“
STEP2: Edit a simple program
Edit a program to display a pattern on micro: bit LED panel:
1. Drag the blocks we do not need currently to “command area” to remove it.
2. Click “micro: bit” module
3. Drag “display pattern” block onto “Script” area.
4. Place “display pattern” block under the “micro: bit starts” block
STEP3: Upload to device
1. Connect micro: bit board to your computer via USB, then the power indicator on the board will light up.
2. Click “Connect Device” in the menu bar, then click “COM-micro: bit” in the drop-down menu to connect micro: bit board to the computer.
3. When connected, edit your programs and click “Upload” to upload the programs to your board (if the connection fails, then it will prompt “No Device Connected”. There will be a prompt box to display the uploading progress. When the program is updated, the prompt box will disappear.
micro: bit power indicator flashes only when uploading the program, and stops flashing and keeps ON after the upload is completed.
Try uploading a program to your micro: bit board, and make the board display an “love heart” for you!