Building a silly robot with Grove Starter Kit

I received a Grove Starter kit at an internal work Conference a few months ago. Of course, I did something entirely useless with it, so here is the tutorial on how to make your own useless Marvin.

This is Marvin, and he does the following:

  • Complains that he is melting when the temperature is above 30 C°
  • Tells you to turn the heater on if the temperature is below 15 C°
  • Tells you the temperature when it is between 15 C° and 30 C°
  • Swings a pendulum on the touch of the touch sensor
  • Lights up when playing the drum

The Grove Starter Kit comes with quite a few components:

Out of these I used the following:

  • Seeeduino board (extra to the starter kit)
  • Base Shield — goes on top of the Seeeduino to make connections easier for beginners
  • Temperature sensor — for Marvin to know the temperature
  • Sound sensor — for Marvin to hear the drum
  • Touch sensor — To start the pendulum swing
  • Servo — To create a pendulum
  • LED socket — For marvin to light up on drum beats
  • Some lego — to build the body

Hardware setup

You will need to connect the pieces to the following places in order to use the code directly:

The Base Shield would then go on top of the Seeeduino.

Code setup

First you need to download the following two repos as .zip files:

Download the Arduino IDE.

When you open the IDE it will open a new project.

Add the libraries to IDE via Sketch-> Include Library -> Add .ZIP Library

You will see thesetup and loop functions already set up for you at the opening of the IDE. You can fill the setup as follows:

#include "rgb_lcd.h"
#include <Servo.h>
rgb_lcd screen;
float temperature;
int thermistor=3975; // Used in the temperature calculations
float resistance; // Used in the temperature calculations
int pendulum_position = 0; // Used in the pendulum swinging
Servo myservo; // Servo tool which swings the pendulum
void setup()
screen.begin(16, 2);


Code adding messages to RGB Backlight

The functions that change the colour and message on the RGB Backlight can be created using the following code:

void setup_message(String message, int colorR, int colorG, int 
colorB) {
screen.setRGB(colorR, colorG, colorB);
void add_second_line_to_message(String message) {
screen.setCursor(1, 1);

Code for the starting message

The setup code above sets up the initialization message which is Marvin greeting us. That can be done with the following code:

void setup_initialization() {
String message=" Hi! I'm Marvin.";
int colorR = 220;
int colorG = 220;
int colorB = 220;
setup_message(message, colorR, colorG, colorB);

Code for Marvin’s reactions to temperature

Marvin has three reactions to temperature: Thinking it’s too hot, thinking it’s too cold and being content and telling us the temperature. The messages are printed with the following code:

void setup_too_hot() {
String message="I am melting! :(";
int colorR = 255;
int colorG = 0;
int colorB = 0;
setup_message(message, colorR, colorG, colorB);
void setup_too_cold() {
String message="Heater on! D:";
int colorR = 0;
int colorG = 0;
int colorB = 255;
setup_message(message, colorR, colorG, colorB);
void setup_content(int temperature) {
String message=" No complaints";
String second_message = " It's " + (String)temperature +
"C" + (char)223;
int colorR = 230;
int colorG = 230;
int colorB = 250;
setup_message(message, colorR, colorG, colorB);

Code for checking temperature

The temperature sensor does not give the temperature in degrees, and therefore needs to go through a conversion to degrees. The following code is used for Marvin to understand temperature:

float get_temperature() {
int sensor_value=analogRead(A3);
int max_voltage = 1023;
resistance = (float)(max_voltage-sensor_value) *

temperature = 1/(log(resistance/10000)/thermistor+1/298.15) -
return temperature;
void check_temperature() {
temperature = get_temperature();
int touch = digitalRead(A1);

if(temperature > 30) {
} else if(temperature < 15) {
} else if (touch == 0) {

Code for pendulum

The pendulum swings 5 times when the touch sensor is touched. This can be achieved with the following code:

void check_touch() {
int sensorValue = digitalRead(A1);
if(sensorValue==1) {
screen.print(" Tick Tock!");


void swing_pendulum() {
for (pendulum_position = 95; pendulum_position <= 135;
pendulum_position += 1) {
for (pendulum_position = 135; pendulum_position >= 95;
pendulum_position -= 1) {
void rotate_pendulum() {
for (int times = 0; times <= 5; times += 1) {

Code for the Drum

When hitting the drum, Marvin should light bu. This is how we make that happen:

void react_to_drumming() {
int a=analogRead(A0);
if(a > 400){
digitalWrite(7, HIGH);
} else {
digitalWrite(7, LOW);

Finally, the loop that brings it all together

We have created all these functions, now we need to bring it all together to make Marvin work.

void loop() 
screen.setCursor(0, 1);




The Lego

The body is up to you. I just found some random Lego around the house and made what I could from it. One thing that you will need in addition to this is some tape. The tape is to attach a lego piece to the pendulum and for creating the drum (if you so desire).

The final result

This video shows the ridiculous thing that we just made together:

And a video of the drum:

I hope that you enjoyed making your own Marvin.

Data scientist, software engineer, poet, writer, blogger, ammature painter

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