Now with the Buggy fully assembled it’s time to put it to work. The first test is for remote operation via Android smartphone, using the provided Libstock libraries and the Android app, availlable from the Google play store. Sorry Apple fans, there is no equivalent software for IOS.
As my Buggy version comes with Clicker2 for PIC32MX, the first step is to upload the correct .hex file from the Libstock example. For that I need the USB HID downloader from the Clicker 2 for PIC32MX page. I just loaded the .hex file in the example. No compiler is needed, all works out of the box. Just remember to place the BLE click in the slot #1 on the Clicker2 board.
Then, the Buggy app is installed from Google play. After turning on the Buggy and the Buggy app, the app asks to turn on Bluetooth (answer “yes”) and then scans for the Buggy. Once the buggy is found the communication starts.
After communication is established, in the main screen you will see the battery level, the speed indicator, some buttons to control the lights, and the red dot that can be moved to control the Buggy. There are two modes: if spin is set to “ON”, the buggy will only spin around its axis; is Spin is set to “OFF” – this being the default mode – the Buggy moves as you control it from the app. Finally, in the “About” screen you find the app version and some other information.
I decided to push the Buggy to its limits, and I performed some tests on thick carpet, then I moved outside, on the lawn. You can see how the Buggy behaves in the movie below. And please, don’t start bitching about the state of my lawn. After soooooo many hot days and with no rain in the last month, it’s a miracle the grass it’s still green.
As you can see in the movie, the Buggy is damn fast. So fast that sometimes it’s hard to control, and it takes some time to master the art of using the Buggy app. It seems that I’m more proficient when I’m driving the Buggy backwards :).
As a conclusion, I have to say that even with its provided software, without bringing any changes, this Buggy brings a lot of fun. To make the things even more interesting, all the code is free, waiting to be modified in ways limited only by your imagination.