Installation for Hummingbird Bit
To use the Hummingbird Bit with Python, you should first complete the Set Up Hummingbird steps below. Your computer must have Bluetooth capability to program the Hummingbird in Python.
From there, you have two choices:
- Run in Browser: The easiest option is to program the Hummingbird in the browser through brython.birdbraintechnologies.com, as shown in the Run in Browser instructions. This website is compatible with Chromebooks as well as Mac/Windows/Linux computers. Choose this option if you are using a Chromebook, are unable to download software, or just want to keep things simple.
- Download Software: These instructions will show you how to use the Hummingbird with an offline Python IDE on Mac/Windows computers. Choose this option to use an IDE such as IDLE that will enable you to use the Hummingbird with a wider range of Python libraries.
Insert a micro:bit into your Hummingbird Bit Controller (you might need to push a little harder than you think!), and connect it to the computer with the USB cord. The Hummingbird also needs a source of power, so connect it to the battery pack or AC power adapter. If you are using rechargeable batteries, check out this support article before using.
Optional step: If your micro:bit is already flashing 3 or 10 letters when powered on, you can skip this step.
Download this file and drag it onto the micro:bit. Your device should start to flash ten characters on its display. You will only need to complete this step once for each Hummingbird – as long as your device is flashing its initials, you are ready to connect via Bluetooth.
After dragging the file onto the micro:bit, remove the USB cord. You won’t need it to use Python.
From here, you have two choices:
- The easiest option is to program the Hummingbird in the browser through brython.birdbraintechnologies.com, as shown in the Run in Browser instructions. This website is compatible with Chromebooks as well as Mac/Windows/Linux computers.
- The Download Software instructions will show you how to use the Hummingbird with an offline Python IDE on Mac/Windows computers.
This module will show you how to use a browser-based web app to program the Hummingbird. Start by going to brython.birdbraintechnologies.com. You can use this website with Chromebooks or any Windows/Mac/Linux computer with built-in Bluetooth.
Click Find Robots. You will see a list of devices that start with FN (Finch), BB (Hummingbird), or MB (micro:bit). You may see one robot or many, depending on how many are nearby. If you have downloaded the most recent BirdBrain firmware(from step 3) then your micro:bit will flash a code starting with #BB and ending in 5 numbers and letters. Look for this code in the connection menu and connect to this device. You can also use masking tape to label your Hummingbird with it’s device name for quicker identification in the future.
You will hear a sound as the Hummingbird connects, and the initials will stop flashing on the micro:bit. Once you have connected to a Hummingbird, the name of your robot will appear on the screen, and Snap! will load automatically.
You will hear a sound as the Hummingbird connects, and the initials will stop flashing on the micro:bit. Once you have connected to a Hummingbird, the name of your robot will appear on the screen, along with a battery indicator. Brython will load automatically.
Brython loads with a sample program. To run the program on your Hummingbird, click the play button. There are also buttons to stop the program and upload or download Brython code.
This section will show you how to use an offline Python editor with the Hummingbird on Mac/Windows computers. Start by installing Python and any offline Python editor. The screenshots here will show the IDLE Python editor, which is automatically installed on your computer with Python.
Next, install the BlueBird Connector. This software will handle the Bluetooth connection with the Hummingbird. You must run it in the background while you are programming the Hummingbird in Python.
Open the BlueBird Connector. It will begin finding the robots around you. Click on the name of the robot that matches the initials on your device. The initials are the three letters that flash before the # symbol.
You will hear a sound as your device connects, and the initials will stop flashing on the device. The name of your robot should appear under Connected.
Troubleshooting Note: The BlueBird Connector must remain open in the background the entire time that you are working with the Hummingbird. If your Hummingbird disconnects, the app will notify you, and the Hummingbird will begin flashing its initials again. If this happens, return to the BlueBird Connector and reconnect it.
The BirdBrainPython folder contains the main library (BirdBrain.py) and a test file (HummingbirdTest.py). Open HummingbirdTest.py in your IDE.
To run the test program in IDLE, choose Run/Run Module. The single-color LED should blink 10 times.
Now you are ready to start writing your own Python programs with the Hummingbird! These lessons will help you to get started, and this reference summarizes the functions that are available in the Hummingbird Python library.
Make sure to store your programs in the BirdBrainPython folder so that they can find the BirdBrain library (BirdBrain.py). If you wish to store programs in a different folder, just make a copy of BirdBrain.py and move it to the desired folder.