The goal of this workshop is to introduce participants to the PSLab and to enable them to conduct experiments using sensors as well as to control small servos of mini robots.

Prerequisite: Basic understanding of commandline preferred. For beginners a sample Python code starter file will be provided, that can be used with the device (incomplete solution to get you started).

Part 1: Introduction to PSLab
The Open Source PSLab board is a small USB powered hardware extension for your Android phone or PC that adds additional sensor capabilities to your phone and enables you to connect to possibly hundreds of available sensors. You will learn how to measure using the built-in components, e.g. the Oscilloscope, or to connect the relevant pins to sensors and start measuring. You can use the PSLab apps to view and collect the data. All sensors following the I²C are compatible and it works without the need for programming.

Part 2: Sensor experiments
In this part we will start with learning how to connect sensors to the PSLab and collect data using the Python library. Python is a powerful programming language that is suitable for beginners. Participants will learn how to set up PSLab Python and connect the device to their PC. Sensors to be discussed will be able to collect data on the following:

  • measuring temperature and humidity
  • measuring the CO2 content in gases

Part 3: Servo control with PSLab Python
In this part participants will learn how to initially program and manipulate things with this robot using the Pocket Science Lab board and a laptop. At the end participants will be able to control servos of a robot manipulator with 4 degrees of freedom. We will start with an introduction to basic robotics and specifically to kinematics. We will showcase possible robot designs using an open laser cut wood design, a PSLab (Pocket Science Lab) and a laptop with our own Python script. Extra steps for further exploration will be given. So participants can continue their learning journey after the workshop is done.

PSLab website:

Materials Cost: PSLab hardware provided by team for use during workshop for free

Workshop leaders: Alexander Bessman, Marco Antonio Guterrez, Mario Behling

What to bring:

  • Laptop (Linux, Mac, Windows)
  • Python installed (version 3.8, or later)
  • Required Python packages (install with “pip install <packagename>”):
    • notebook
    • pslab

Where: Hardware Hacking Area

DECT: 2676 (CORN)