The Fourth of July is around the corner. Thanks to some stars aligning in the 2017 calendar, it falls on a Tuesday this year and people everywhere are preparing for the four-day weekend. Ozobot HQ is no exception. We’ve all got visions of hot dogs and stars-and-stripes-themed outfits and sunburns dancing in our heads. Everyone’s excited. Even Evo.
In fact, we’ve noticed Evo acting a little strange lately. It all started with some lights. Evo’s been roaming around and flashing in red, white, and blue. If you know Evo, you know you can’t miss Evo’s lights. The one-inch robot boasts seven super bright LED lights. Yes, seven. You can control those lights in the Evo app and by drawing colored lines. Or, you can write an OzoBlockly program to control everything about Evo—lights, sounds, cool moves, and more.
Let Evo sit too long, and the bot will start using lights on its own, to explore surroundings, express emotions, and get your attention. We’re used to that. But the whole red, white, and blue thing is new. On Monday, some of the engineers caught Evo watching videos of past firework shows on YouTube. Finally, just yesterday, the social media team stumbled on this…
Deep in the confines of our supply cabinet, we found Evos rehearsing some sort of light show. It quickly became clear that the little bots are planning something BIG. Stringing all these bits of evidence together, we figured out that Evo is plotting to jump right in with the fireworks on the Fourth.
That’s right, Evo wants to steal the show on Tuesday. Now don’t get us wrong. We love that pocket-sized Evo has a person-sized ego. We want to support this bot’s creative spark and we have no doubt that, once airborne, Evo could successfully light up a night sky. But we do not want to see Evo shoot out of a tiny mortar tube. All that heat and all those chemicals would definitely not be good for Evo’s circuit boards.
We tried telling Evo what the Fourth of July is all about: the United States basically breaking up with Great Britain in a text—a text called the Declaration of Independence. But we’re not sure it’s sinking in. Evo is still way more interested in pyrotechnics than what happened in 1776. We’re starting to get seriously concerned, so we’re officially enlisting the help of Ozobot owners.
OzoSquad, we hold these truths to be self-Evodent: that all beings—man, woman, and robot—are created equal; that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So help us secure Evo’s happiness! How, you ask? Show Evo your support with an Ozobot light art activity! If enough of you complete the activity and share your creations, Evo will be satisfied with the limelight and will stay safe and out of harm’s way this holiday.
This simple activity combines art, technology, and Ozobots. It works with both Evo and Bit, and has been adapted from lesson plans created by Melissa Swaidner, an art teacher at Haverhill Elementary, and Ozobot educator extraordinaire Professor Richard Born. Added bonus: the freedom of expression you’ll display would totally make Adams, Jefferson, and the rest of our fab Founding Fathers proud.
Ozobot Light Trail Art
- A tablet or smartphone
- 1 Ozobot (Evo or Bit)
- Paper and markers
- A dark room or space to work in
You’ll use markers and paper to create a firework-inspired path for Ozobot to follow! Then, using a slow shutter app, you’ll practice some long exposure, light trail photography. Photography and light go way, way back. The first camera was essentially a dark box with a single, small hole that let light through. The light hit a chemically-treated metal plate, altering the appearance of the metal. Fast forward to 2017, and an iPhone camera works much the same way, but with an image sensor instead of a bulky metal plate. If your subject is illuminated and moving, you can force the shutter to stay open for a long, long time and capture the movement as a trail of light.
1) Draw Lines
- With white paper and markers, draw colored lines for your Ozobot to follow. Add in some black lines and OzoCodes too!
- We started with simple circles of alternating colors. Then, we experimented with fun, firework-inspired shapes.
- Test out the trails with your Ozobot. You may have to adjust turns, or move color codes away from intersections to get it right.
Here are the paths we drew for our Evo, and the brilliant results:
2) Download App
- Download a slow shutter photo app on your smartphone or tablet. “Slow Shutter Cam” costs $0.99 and is one of the best, but there are free options as well.
- In “Slow Shutter Cam”, tap the Gear icon to open Settings. Switch Capture Mode to “Light Trail”, and slide Shutter Speed all the way up to “Bulb”. For apps without the “Bulb” option, set Shutter Speed at 0.5.
3) Capture Ozobot In Action
- Find a darkened room or space.
- Calibrate Ozobot on paper. Find tips for this step here.
- Place Ozobot on your light trail. Hold your smart device above it with the slow shutter app open.
- Tap the shutter icon to capture your Ozobot’s light trail. Hold your smart device steady!
- Save and share your creations: @ozobot, #EvoUrAFirework.
Tip: Ozobots emit a lot of light. For the best light trail results, cover your Ozobot in black electrical tape (found at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Target). Leave just one small hole for the bot’s top LED light to shine through. With Evo, be careful not to cover the four proximity sensors. Your Evo should end up looking like this, kind of like it’s in a ninja costume...
You can find full-length Ozobot light trail lessons here and here. Mrs. Swaidner’s lesson uses markers, lines, and OzoCodes, while Professor Born’s uses OzoBlockly programming.
When you’re done with your light trail art, it’s time for the most important step of all. In the spirit of democracy, share your art with your fellow Americans. Use @ozobot and #EvoUrAFirework. Evo will be monitoring the world wide web for your images all weekend. Share your artwork to keep Evo safe and away from all the sparks on Tuesday!