This section will show you how to use the Finch Robot 2.0 with Java on Mac/Windows computers. Your computer must have Bluetooth capability to program the Finch in Java.

Browser-based Java editors are not compatible with the Finch. You can use any offline Java editor with the Finch. If you don’t have a favorite, we suggest trying Eclipse.

Steps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Steps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Steps 1 2 3

This module will show you how to set up your Finch to program in Java.

Slide the micro:bit into the Finch tail. Make sure your micro:bit is facing the correct direction, with the A and B buttons facing up and the five holes towards the bottom. Push the micro:bit into place. The five holes will be partially covered when the micro:bit is correctly in place.

Optional step: If your micro:bit is already flashing 3 letters when powered on, you can skip this step.

Connect the micro:bit to the computer with the USB cable. 
The micro:bit will appear as an external device on your computer. Download the .hex file and drag it onto the micro:bit.

Once you’ve put the .hex file onto your micro:bit, your micro:bit should start to flash three letters on its display. You will only need to complete this step once for each Finch – as long as your device is flashing its initials, you are ready to connect via Bluetooth.

You can now unplug the USB cable from the micro:bit. You won’t need the cable any longer because you will be using Bluetooth to connect to the Finch Robot.

To turn on the Finch press and hold the power button on the bottom of your Finch until until one or more of the LEDs in the tail turn on. This should take about 2 seconds. Three letters should now be flashing on the micro:bit.

When you turn on your Finch the color of the tail LEDs will indicate the battery charge level.

– If all 4 tail LEDs are GREEN this means your Finch is fully charged.

– If 3 tail LEDs are GREEN this means your Finch is partially charged.

– If tail LEDs are YELLOW this means you have about 2 hours of charge left on your Finch. 

– If 1 tail LED is RED this means you should charge your Finch immediately. You may lose Bluetooth connection at this point.

If the Finch battery becomes very low while you are programming, all the tail LEDs will quickly blink RED 5 times, once per minute until you plug the Finch in for charging.

To charge the Finch, plug the micro USB into the charging slot beneath the Finch’s tail.

Plugging the micro USB into the micro:bit will NOT charge the Finch!

Fully charging the Finch takes 7 hours. We suggest charging the Finch overnight.

The micro:bit is not needed to charge the Finch.

To turn off the Finch after you are done using it, hold down the power button until the beak turns red. 

The Finch will turn itself off to save battery power if it is inactive for 10 minutes without connecting to Bluetooth, or for 20 minutes while connected to Bluetooth.

When turning off, the Finch will play a disconnecting sound and the beak LED will be red. The Finch will also show its battery status using the tail LEDs.

This section will show you how to use an offline Java editor with the Finch on Mac/Windows computers. Browser-based Java editors are not compatible with the Finch.

You can use any offline Java editor with the Finch, but if you don’t have a favorite, we suggest trying Eclipse. The screenshots here will show Eclipse as an example.

Next, install the BlueBird Connector. This software will handle the Bluetooth connection with the Finch. You must run it in the background while you are programming the Finch in Java.

Open the BlueBird Connector. It will begin finding the robots around you. Click on the name of your robot. Each robot is flashing its initials on the micro:bit to help you figure out which is which.

When you connect to your Finch, you will hear a series of tones, and the robot will show up in the purple “CONNECTED” section of the BlueBird Connector.

You can minimize the BlueBird Connector, but you should leave it open the entire time that you are using the Finch. If at any point you have trouble with your robot, you should come back to the BlueBird Connector, check your Bluetooth connection, and reconnect if necessary. You can also check your battery level in the BlueBird Connector.

Create a new Java Project in Eclipse.

Name the project finch.

Eclipse will ask you if you want to create Click Don’t Create.

Next, right-click on the new project and select Import.

Select File System under General. Then click Next.

Click Browse and navigate to the BirdBrainJava folder. Make sure to click the checkbox next to the folder name to select all of the files. Then click Finish. If Eclipse asks you to overwrite files, answer Yes.

Eclipse will copy six files into your project: the classes for the Finch, Hummingbird and micro:bit (,,, and and two test files ( and Select these files in Eclipse and drag them into the src folder.

Once the files are in the src folder, open To test that everything is working properly, run the test program. The Finch’s beak should blink 10 times.

Now you are ready to start writing your own Java programs with the Finch! These lessons will help you to get started, and this reference summarizes the functions that are available in the Finch library.

Make sure to store your programs in the finch project so that they can find the Finch class. If you wish to create a new project, be sure to add the six files in the BirdBrainJava folder to the new project.

Greenfoot is a version of Java that includes visual tools. Its goal is to make it easy for beginners to incorporate graphics into their programs.

This module contains information about using Greenfoot with Finch 2. If you are using any other development environment for Java, please use the the Download Software section instead.

This project demonstrates one way to use the Finch with Greenfoot. It contains sliders to control the Finch lights and visual displays of Finch sensors. You can move and turn the Finch using the arrow keys on the keyboard.

Use this blank project to create your own Greenfoot project with the Finch.

You can use all of the Finch methods described in the lessons and the library document. Use getFinch() to get the Finch object, and then use any Finch method. For example, use getFinch().getDistance() to find the distance from the Finch distance sensor to the closest object.

Back to Top