databot™ Basic Training

databot™ Meets Sphero RVR!

Sphero has taken the educational robotics world by storm and continues to innovate exciting new products.  Check out databot™  hitching a ride on the new RVR!

Can RVR Come Out to Play?

The awesome team at Sphero was kind enough to let their latest hotrod family member, the RVR, come over to databot™‘s place to play.   It turns out the RVR is one incredible piece of hardware that is easy to use right out of the box, but power packed for some seriously sophisticated development if you are so inclined.  Just like databot™, RVR is completely hackable and expandable!!  

Getting started with databot™ – RVR activities is simple and fun for educators and no programming is necessary!  You can conduct exciting, live, data-seeking missions around  science topics such as physics, environmental studies, and more. databot™ and RVR work together with the RVR providing the mobility and databot™ communicating real-time data findings to Science Journal from Google. 

If you’re using RVR in an advanced tech or engineering program,  all details to make live streaming data from databot™’s onboard sensors available to the RVR are provided.  For you super geeks out there hacking up an RVR storm, this will enable autonomous behaviors to be developed based on sensor values that are being read.  Very exciting!  To learn more about databot™’s sensors and ports for integrating with your RVR or other hardware, check out the Deep Geek documentation on databot™!

Read on for instructions on how to easily integrate RVR and databot™ and for an easy-to-follow format for running Data Science Team Missions!

Step 1: Velcro Seat Belt!

For RVR and databot™ to come together for some exciting joint missions, they need to learn to work as a team and stick together. Fortunately this is easily accomplished!

databot™ comes with a handy-dandy Velcro plate that slides snugly into the provided slot in the base.  A matching piece of Velcro with an adhesive backing is included that can be attached to all kinds of devices ranging from frisbees to drones.  In this case, attach to the RVR as shown. 

Note: Use the slotted cover for RVR so you will have access to the RVR USB port.

Step 2: Mount Up!

Once you have the Velcro base and matching patch installed, mounting databot™ on board is easy!  Mount databot™ forward facing so it is oriented with its main sensor board towards the front. 


Note: Depending on the sensor you are using and specific mission, you may wish to relocate to a different area on the RVR.  The Velcro will peel off and you can re-position it several times and it still retains good adhesion.

Step 3: Share the Power RVR, Share the Power...




This step is optional if you will be running missions that require extended periods of use.  databot™ runs a little over an hour on a charge, so for short missions this should be adequate.  However, if you’re planning on doing some serious RVR explorations, having some extra power on board is a great option.  Simply insert databot™’s included mini-USB cable into RVR’s onboard 5v USB connector and you have power to spare!

Step 4: Mission Time!

What’s Next?

Getting these two to stick together is easy, now it’s time to do some scientific exploration.  If you haven’t used your databot™ yet, your next step is to read through and complete the setup instructions for using Google Science Journal with databot™.   

Once you have remote data collection enabled with Google Science Journal, your RVR – databot™ becomes a mobile search and experimentation platform capable of a variety of tasks.   Using the environmental sensors for example, you can hunt for CO2 and VOC emissions.  You can conduct remote studies in physics and record acceleration, angular velocity, and more. With 12 onboard sensors and an external temperature probe there are many missions and experiments you can perform, and the data is all delivered wirelessly to your Science Journal software.    Check out the following overview of how you can conduct team mission challenges using databot™ and RVR together

Team Missions with databot™ and RVR

Mission Setup 

Team Challenges – Benefits

Team challenges are a great way for students to learn how to work together and collaborate.  Working together develops communication and problem solving abilities that are critical 21st century skills, regardless of what career students pursue.  Collaborative learning develops:

  • Higher level thinking skills.
  • Communications skills.
  • An appreciation for diverse viewpoints.
  • The ability to compromise.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Problem solving skills.

Team Challenge – Roles

Missions with databot™ and RVR make a great 2-person team challenge in which each student has a specific role as follows:

Pilot: This student controls the delivery of the mission by driving the RVR, navigating obstacles, and strategically planning the mission run for efficiency and success. The pilot must have a clear understanding of the mission objective and communicate well with the data scientist to achieve mission success.

Data Scientist: This student works with the pilot to plan for an efficient and successful mission.  As the pilot delivers the databot™ to the mission target zone, the Data Scientist manages the onboard sensors, visualizes mission data in real-time to help guide and refine the execution of the mission, and records the associated data for post-mission analysis. 

databot™ and the STEM Trifecta!

Team Challenge – Procedure

Divide students into 2-person teams, they will go through a mission format that includes the following stages:

Discovery and Background: Students are presented with background information that includes important information on the subject and topic. For example, what are Volatile Organic Compounds and why are they significant.  

Mission Presentation: In this stage students are presented with the problem or challenge they will be attempting to solve.  The challenge will be focused on some aspect of the background information studied in stage 1.  

Mission Planning: In this stage the students work together, select their roles, develop a hypothesis on what they will discover, and plan how they will work together to conquer the challenge.  A good mission plan will include a clear statement of the team hypothesis, diagramming or sketching out potential routes for the RVR, clearly defining the points at which sensor data will be collected, what types of sensor data is required, and the other types of observations that will be collected including notes and pictures. Student teams should practice their plan until they can execute flawlessly.  The execution of a perfect mission relies on good planning, just like in real-life!

Mission Execution:  The Big Enchilada – it’s time to execute!   After a careful plan is developed and practiced the two-student team gets to execute their plan, collect data and notes, and prepare for the post-mission analysis.  Some challenges will be timed as well, so planning and practice will pay off in efficiency and extra points.   Good luck Team!

Post Mission Analysis: Once students complete their mission they work together to analyze their findings and prepare a report and/or presentation of their results including the data collected and other observations to support or disprove their initial hypothesis formed in the planning stage.   

Mission Report:  This analysis and reporting can be turned in as a report or done as a class presentation depending on the time and preference of the teacher.


You have successfully completed your databot™ – RVR integration, a match made in heaven!  Now get out there and start exploring those strange new worlds under the desk, in the janitorial closet, in the parking lot, and anywhere else some interesting data might be found. 

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