Final ArtBot Group Post

Artist’s Statement:

“ArtBots” is a project exploring the intersection of technology and art making by tinkering with code, hardware, and art making materials. The designers of this project each created their own ArtBot by attaching art making materials to programmable robots called GiggleBots. Additionally, each designer crafted their own unique controllers which altered the movement and behavior of their ArtBot.

The ArtBots are designed for communication and collaborative art making. Their chaotic art is created by placing all of the ArtBots into an enclosed area on top of a blank canvas of white paper. As the ArtBots begin to move around and make patterns the patterns quickly become unrecognizable as the ArtBots turn away from each other and their boundaries by using their distance sensors and as the ArtBots patterns are changed by a users interaction with the ArtBots controller. The resulting artwork is never predictable and is different with each iteration even if the ArtBots code remains the same.

Demo Video:

User’s Guide:

Link to User’s Guide

Code Repository:

Link to repository

Errata (What’s broken, why?)


-Artbot was not good at executing the same action the same way repeatedly. For example a 90° turn would often be a 70° or 110° turn

-No way to refine movements past time spent doing action and power I would like some way for micro bits to be coded to execute a 90° turn instead of a spin for 375 ms

-It was hard to establish hierarchy when multiple signals would come in. Most of the time it would prioritize what was in the forever loop but sometimes it would try to execute both actions at the same time and end up looking confused.

-sometimes the distance sensor would work at the appropriate distance, other times it would react too early, too late, or not at all.

-radio doesn’t work as well when robot is level with the controller.


– If we give command for pressing A and B button and then also have some other command on pressing A or pressing B. Artbot somehow just been confused by that. It somehow can only react to one of the command or the code might breaked.

– Artbot is not able to go straight, when I code the Artbot to go straight, like I put “goforward” in the “on start” block in makecode, however, when the artbot start, it moving gradually about 45 degree to the right.

– Also at the end of this project, I think I had trouble to make the Artbot to react the the new code I added to the microbit.

– And the giggle bot is pretty fragile, I accidently dropped it once, and might break some sensor or other component that is inside of the giggle and it not able to follow command anymore.


-Artbot will keep spin around when I pressed the start button, I wonder is because I put the spin code in forever loop, and somehow my artbot is keep showing the red light in when I used it, red light is suppose to light up when there a subject surround. And is only working a few time when I shake the controller, the artbot are able to move forward. And when I place the micro:bit’s logo up, and logo down, the function is not working, is only working when I actually press the button.

– The other thing I still confused about is I set button B as the stop button, but when I pressed it, the artbot can’t stop, or sometimes is only stop for only 1 sec, unless I keep press the button, the artbot will stop a certain time.


I struggled with the control of my ArtBot. Originally I wanted to make a high five controller by using the pins on the micro:bit. The ideas was that there would be a few different hands cut out of cardboard and wrapped in foil and connected to the pins on the micro:bit. The user would be grounded to the micro:bit and when they high fived the hand it would close the circuit. This didn’t work when I tried it but as I’m typing this reflection I realize that I left out a piece of the code I would have needed to make this function work. I then transitioned to using a tambourine with an attached micro:bit  to control the ArtBot. I envisioned using input such as “on logo up” to control the ArtBot however the only input involving the accelerometer that worked reliably to control the ArtBot was the “on shake” input. I’m not sure why this was. I ended up using the A and B buttons on the micro:bit to control the ArtBot instead but I wasn’t happy with this. Pressing buttons on a tambourine is not intuitive and I think it takes away from the novelty of using a musical instrument to control something like an ArtBot.


I had a hard time trying to get the stop function to work via the radio micro.bit. For some odd reason it would only stop for a second then continue but for other bot’s it would stop until something else was initiated. Something else I struggled was with the shake functionality of the micro bit that was acting as a controller, sometimes you’d have to shake it so aggressively and other times the littlest tick would set off the pattern that was set to start on shake. We also learned that our radio works better when the radio micro bit is super high above the giggle bot (like on the ground) rather than tables. The distance sensor is also too sensitive even when we put the sensitivity lower, I don’t know if that’s a glitch or what because I had it light up red when there was something detected and 40% of time time it would light up there was nothing there.

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