K4S, a Keyboard for Arduino to use with Scratch
This project starts a few months ago. Juan Brito, author of the blog Desafio Ecuador, contacted with me to talk about Scratch and the opportunities that gives this programming enviroment in the world of education. In his own words:
I and Danny Macancela are convinced that increase the quality of education in schools and colleges do not require big budgets by governments. This ideal of change has led us to develop this project to teach children mathematics and programming. Children can learn maths with fables. The aim of this project is the search of the human talent growth, which starts in the classroom. As Fritjof Capra says, ‘Today we have the knowledge, technology and financial resources to build a sustainable future. All we need is the political will and leadership’
From here, I also want to thank Danny Macancela for his illusion in the project and its economic support.
Scratch for Arduino
Scratch for Arduino is a Scratch modification that allows program Arduino platform on a simple way, using a high level interface. It includes specific blocks for managing sensors and actuators connected to Arduino board. In the project webpage you can find all the info and resourcers to start working with it.
At this time, every pin of the Arduino has a specific function, so you must keep this in mind when connect devices to the Arduino board. Here’s a resume of the pins and functions:
- Digital Inputs: Digital pins 2 and 3
- Analog inputs: 6 analog pins
- Digital outputs: Digital pins 10,11 and 13
- Analog outputs (PWM): Digital pins 5, 6 and 9
- Four special outputs to connect continuous rotation servomotors: Digital pins 4, 7, 8 and 12.
To use this mod of Scratch with Arduino, first you must install Arduino environment (including drivers) and upload to the board the firmware that allows the communication between Scratch and the board. Once you make this steps, you will have the system ready to start working with S4A!
The K4S board is oriented for a educational environment, so the hardware is ‘simple’, and has the basic elements to start working with S4A. I develop this breakout board to fit in the Arduino Uno board. Why Arduino Uno? Because from S4A ensures that with this board they test the software and works. I’m working with this board about three months and always works fine! Here you can find the schematic of the board.
For more detail: K4S, a Keyboard for Arduino to use with Scratch