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Bionic Flower Assembly Instruction Video

The Bionic Flower is a robot flower inspired by the world of plants. In this video we will show you a detailed step-by-step assembly of our Bionic Flower Experimental Set.

Tutorial Bionic Flower – Inspiration from the plant world

Are you excited about the fascinating plant world? Did you ever wonder how plants open and close their petals due to external influences such as touch or light? In this Video, Dr. Reinhard Pittschellis from our Bionics4Education-Team is talking about Bionics and the function of our Bionic Flower.

Design your own petals: Flower Petals Template

Further activities: Coding

You can also program our Bionic Flower yourself. Therefore, you don’t need any long installation. You can download the Arduino Portable version (Support) with all necessary and pre-installed settings. We also have prepared some basic DIY-project ideas for an easy start with coding our Bionic Flower. You find all instructions here or on GitHub

Questions and Answers about the Bionic Flower

Connection & Connection problems (Control)

I can’t connect with the Bionic Flower. What can I do?

This problem shouldn’t occur. If you are not able to establish a connection between the controller and your mobile device follow these steps:

Wi-Fi and Website:

  • Check the password of the Wi-Fi: “education” (all lower cases)
  • If there are more than one Bionic Flower: Make sure that you have connected to the correct control unit. The network name of the control unit is printed on the pluggable ESP32 (“b4e_XXXX”) – XXXX stands for the individual network name.
  • If your device is connected to the Wi-Fi of the Bionic Flower but you can’t open the website inside your browser please try following steps:
    • Make sure just one device is connected to the Bionic Flower. Disconnect all previous Wi-Fi connections. There might be another device that was used before (another smartphone or tablet) and due to a saved password and enabled automatic connection it might connect automatically with the control unit.
    • Turn the Wi-Fi of your mobile device or computer off and on.
    • Enter: “192.168.4.1” inside your browser instead “b4e.de” and refresh the website.
    • If you have still problems: switch to private/incognito tab at you browser and try again.
    • If you have still problems: delete you browser history.
The sensors are not reacting. What can I do?
  • Make sure that the external sensors are correctly connected. Both connectors on the application board and the sensors are labeled with rectangles. The black cable of the sensor cable must be connected to the black rectangle of the sensor and to the white rectangle of the application board.
  • Unplug the Bionic Flower to switch off the control unit and reconnect the sensors after turning the Bionic Flower on again.
Where can I find the network name of the Bionic Flower?

The network name of the Bionic Flower is printed on the ESP32: “b4e_XXXX” –(XXXX stands for the individual network name). You can also scan the QR-Code attached on the ESP32 for a direct automatic connection.

How do I reflash the microcontroller?

We always improve our software. Check the latest software version on GitHub (https://github.com/Festo-se/Bionics4Education).  Here, you can find the flash file with the latest software of the Bionic Flower.

Instruction:

Unpack the ZIP file. Connect the control unit to the PC using the USB cable.  Start the batch file and follow the instructions. The microcontroller is flashed with a new code and should work afterwards.

If you have problems executing the batch file, please execute it as administrator. To do this, right-click on the batch file and select “Run as administrator” from the menu. If you have administrator rights, you can execute the file without any problems. If you still have problems, please contact us via email at bionics4education@festo.com.

What is the password for the Wi-Fi?

The password is “education”.

Can I control the Bionic Flower with my own smartphone?

Yes, the Bionic Flower can be controlled with your own smartphone. A connection between the control unit and the mobile device must be established. Instructions on how to establish a connection can be found online in the tab “Support”.

Do I need a native app to be able to control the Bionic Flower?

No, a native app is not required to control the Bionic Flower. The control interface appears in the browser of your device.

Is Wi-Fi required at school to use the Bionic Flower?

The control unit provides its own Wi-Fi hotspot that you can directly connect your mobile device with. Wi-Fi is only needed if you want to access the teaching materials via the webpage.

How can I switch to control the Bionic Flower by sensors?

You can find a “Burger” menu in the upper left corner of the website. In the “burger” menu you can switch between two modes:

  • “manual mode”: control the Bionic Flower via sliders on the website
  • “autonomous mode”: control the Bionic Flower with the sensors

 

 

How can I control the movements of the Bionic Flower?

Once you established a connection with the control unit via Wi-Fi and opened the website “www.b4e.de” or “192.168.4.1”  a webpage appears with sliders. It is best to tap on the point on the slider where you want it to be moved. Otherwise you can also slide it.

Is there a stop button?

No, there is no stop button. You can stop the movement by moving the slider to zero or just unplug the Bionic Flower from the power supply.

Microcontroller and Coding

Which microcontroller is used? Is this Arduino compatible?

The microcontroller used is the ESP32 Dev Kit (v4). It is compatible with the Arduino programming language.

Is the microcontroller pre-flashed?

The microcontroller comes pre-lashed and is ready to use.

Can I program the flower myself?

Yes, the code of the Bionic Flower is open source. You can find the source code of the Bionic Flower on GitHub. (https://github.com/Festo-se/Bionics4Education). We provide it free to use and to modify.

Before you can load a modified source code to the microcontroller, you need to download the Arduino Portable version from our website (Support). All necessary libraries and settings are preset, so you don’t need to do a complicated installation and can start right away. Here you can find instructions on how to use the Arduino Portable Version. We have also included some first program examples, so you can learn directly how to control the Bionic Flower yourself. 

Spare part set and consumable set

My paper leaves are broken or torn, where can I get new ones?

The white paper leaves we provide in our kit are suitable for single use. You can also download a template from our website to make your own new leaves (Support). You need to print this template on a thicker paper such a cardboard. You can also design your own leaves with a individual shape and color.

School lessons

Are there teacher handouts?

Yes, teaching material is on our website (Curriculum). A special teacher handbook is currently being developed.

An elaborated online course with background knowledge for the Bionic Flower is available for free on our learning platform Festo LX: https://lx.festo.com/de. Here you have to create a free account in advance.

How many students can work with one Bionic Flower?

Up to four students can work on one Bionic Flower construction kit.

Which topics can I address with the Bionic Flower?

The Bionic Flower covers different topics from biology (e.g. sensors and actuators in plants, folding structures), technology (e.g. sensors (touch, light), actuators (stepper, LED), control technology, programming in Scratch and C++, light and colors), project management and creativity and art.

How often can I use the Bionic Flower?

In principle the flower can be assembled and disassembled many times, nevertheless we do not recommend it. All of the learning content can be covered with the fully assembled flower.
The leaves, however, can be colored and folded by the students. If you wish to use fresh leaves for every course, we offer prepunched leaf sets. You can also use the punched out cardboards as a template to create new leaves on your own or download the template of our leaves on our website (Support).