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Wireling Kickstarter Basic Robot Kit Tutorial

If you backed the Wireling Kickstarter for the Basic Robot Kit, there is ALREADY code loaded onto the RobotZero processor. The best way to see what it does, is to assemble the unit following the Assembly Instructions:

For most, the assembly takes an hour, so make sure you have enough time to spend building the car as well as a sufficient work area with good lighting to keep track of all of the components.

After the assembly is complete, follow this table for plugging Wirelings into the ports:

Wireling Port Assignments
Port 0
Port 1 (*Left)
Port 2 (*Right)
Port 3

*From the point of view of the below picture

Plug in the rechargeable battery to the battery port on the RobotZero. (You may need to charge the battery, to do so just plug the battery into the RobotZero and plug the RobotZero into a power source using a MicroUSB cable)

Tiny Car Robot Kit Behavior

Once everything is assembled, charged, and plugged in correctly, you should have a functional line-following robot.

  • The Color Sensor Wirelings are used to detect a dark line on a light background - the on-board LEDs assist with this.
  • The Time-of-Flight Distance Wireling tracks the distance of the car to obstacles in front of it. This also partially applies to the car robot being able to detect distances that correlate with an edge. For this behavior, the sensor needs to be installed securely without an angle. In addition, there must be nothing in front of the car when it is by the ledge, as this can trigger a false distance. Do not leave the robot unsupervised near any ledges as the acrylic of the car can break when dropped.
  • The 0.96" OLED Screen Wireling will display 3 graphs. The center graph displays a bar that tracks the distance read by the TOF Sensor, while the right and left graphs correlate with the colors read by the Color Sensors.

To see the Car follow a line, get a blank piece of paper and a black marker. Draw a thick black loop on the paper to see the robot follow the tiny course!


In order to interface with any Arduino-based board, you'll need the Arduino IDE.

There are multiple processor/adapter combinations that can be used with Wirelings. Use the following table to find the combination that works for you.

Processor Adapter
* and
* N/A
Raspberry Pi

* These processors have a 32-pin connector and can have multiple Wireling Adapter TinyShields stacked to increase the number of Wireling ports up to a maximum of 32 total Wireling ports.

To program Wirelings, you'll need the appropriate number of Wireling Cables and the Wireling.h Library (You can download this from GitHub as linked, or from the Library Manager in the Arduino IDE).

The table below details which Wirelings are used on each port. The tutorials and libraries for each of these Wirelings are also included:

Wireling Learn Library
Port 0 and
Port 1 / Port 2
Port 3

Upload Program

The program used for the Basic Car Robots can be downloaded here:

Wireling Program
 * Tiny Car Robot Line Follower
 * This program uses 2 Color Sensors, a Time-of-Flight Distance
 * Sensor, a 0.96" Screen, and 2 stepper motors with the RobotZero 
 * processor to create a car robot that follows a line with the ability
 * to stop quickly when obstacles are in the path.
 * Hardware by: TinyCircuits
 * Written by: Ben Rose for TinyCircuits
 * Initialized: Dec 2019
 * Last modified: Jan 2020
#include <Wire.h>
#include <Wireling.h>
#include <MotorDriver.h>
#include <SPI.h>
#include "Adafruit_TCS34725.h"  // The library used for the Color Sensor
#include "VL53L0X.h"    // For interfacing with the Time-of-Flight Distance sensor

#include <TinierScreen.h>
#include <GraphicsBuffer.h>

TinierScreen display = TinierScreen(TinierScreen096);
GraphicsBuffer screenBuffer = GraphicsBuffer(128, 64, colorDepth1BPP);

/* Initialise with specific int time and gain values */
Adafruit_TCS34725 tcs0 = Adafruit_TCS34725(TCS34725_INTEGRATIONTIME_24MS, TCS34725_GAIN_60X);
Adafruit_TCS34725 tcs1 = Adafruit_TCS34725(TCS34725_INTEGRATIONTIME_24MS, TCS34725_GAIN_60X);

MotorDriver servo(15); //value passed is the address- remove resistor R1 for 1, R2 for 2, R1 and R2 for 3

VL53L0X distanceSensor; // Name of sensor
const int tofPort = 3;  // Port # of sensor (Found on Wireling Adapter Board)

#if defined (ARDUINO_ARCH_AVR)
#define SerialMonitorInterface Serial
#elif defined(ARDUINO_ARCH_SAMD)
#define SerialMonitorInterface SerialUSB

int leftSensorPort = 1;
int rightSensorPort = 2;

int displayPort = 0;
int resetPin = A0 + displayPort;

void setup() {


  //while (!SerialMonitorInterface);



  //Reset servo driver
  pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(9, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(9, LOW);
  digitalWrite(9, HIGH);
  // Set the period to 20000us or 20ms, correct for driving most servos
  if (servo.begin(20000)) {
    SerialMonitorInterface.println("Motor driver not detected!");

  if (tcs0.begin()) {
    SerialMonitorInterface.println("Found sensor 0");
    // Enable the color sensor LED
  } else {
    SerialMonitorInterface.println("No TCS34725 found ... check your connections");
    //while (1);


  if (tcs1.begin()) {
    SerialMonitorInterface.println("Found sensor 1");
    // Enable the color sensor LED
  } else {
    SerialMonitorInterface.println("No TCS34725 found ... check your connections");
    //while (1);

  if (screenBuffer.begin()) {
    //memory allocation error- buffer too big!


  // Initialize the distance sensor and set a timeout

  // Set the current for the stepper motors

int lastSetSpeedLeft = 0;
int lastSetSpeedRight = 0;

unsigned long motorUpdateInterval = 100;
unsigned long lastMotorUpdate = 0;

// Variables to hold the values the sensor reads
uint16_t r0, g0, b0, c0, luxLeft;
uint16_t r1, g1, b1, c1, luxRight;
int luxMin = 500;
int luxMax = 3000;

const int amtLeftSensorSamples = 32;
int leftSensorSampleBuff[amtLeftSensorSamples];
int leftSensorSampleBuffPos = 0;

const int amtRightSensorSamples = 32;
int rightSensorSampleBuff[amtRightSensorSamples];
int rightSensorSampleBuffPos = 0;

const int amtTOFsensorSamples = 32;
int TOFsensorSampleBuff[amtTOFsensorSamples];
int TOFsensorSampleBuffPos = 0;

int TOFlastGoodMeasurement = 0;

void loop() {
  if (millis() - lastMotorUpdate > motorUpdateInterval) {
    lastMotorUpdate = millis();

    tcs0.getRawData(&r0, &g0, &b0, &c0);
    luxLeft = constrain(tcs0.calculateLux(r0, g0, b0), luxMin, luxMax);

    tcs1.getRawData(&r1, &g1, &b1, &c1);
    luxRight = constrain(tcs1.calculateLux(r1, g1, b1), luxMin, luxMax);

    luxLeft = map(luxLeft, luxMin, luxMax, 0, 100);
    luxRight = map(luxRight, luxMin, luxMax, 0, 100);
    float Motor1Speed = 8, Motor2Speed = 8;
    float steeringBias = (float)(100.0 - luxLeft) - (float)(100.0 - luxRight);
    if (steeringBias > 0) {
      Motor1Speed -= steeringBias / 7.0;
      // if(abs(steeringBias)>50){
      Motor2Speed += steeringBias / 50.0;
    } else {
      // if(abs(steeringBias)>50){
      Motor1Speed -= steeringBias / 50.0;
      Motor2Speed += steeringBias / 7.0;

    unsigned int TOFdistance = distanceSensor.readRangeContinuousMillimeters();
    if (TOFdistance != 65535) {
      TOFlastGoodMeasurement = TOFdistance;

    if (TOFlastGoodMeasurement < 50) {
      Motor2Speed = 0;
      Motor1Speed = 0;

    if (Motor2Speed != lastSetSpeedLeft) {
      setMotor(1, Motor2Speed);
      lastSetSpeedLeft = Motor2Speed;
    if (Motor1Speed != lastSetSpeedRight) {
      setMotor(2, Motor1Speed);
      lastSetSpeedRight = Motor1Speed;


    screenBuffer.setCursor(0, 43);
    screenBuffer.print("M2: ");
    screenBuffer.setCursor(90, 43);
    screenBuffer.print("M1: ");
    screenBuffer.setCursor(0, 53);
    screenBuffer.print("Steering bias: ");

    screenBuffer.setCursor(0, 0);
    screenBuffer.setCursor(127 - 32, 0);
    screenBuffer.setCursor(64 - 16, 0);

    if ((int)Motor2Speed == 0 && (int)Motor1Speed == 0) {
      screenBuffer.setCursor(44, 43);

    leftSensorSampleBuff[leftSensorSampleBuffPos] = luxLeft;
    rightSensorSampleBuff[rightSensorSampleBuffPos] = luxRight;
    TOFsensorSampleBuff[TOFsensorSampleBuffPos] = constrain(TOFlastGoodMeasurement, 0, 1000);

    if (leftSensorSampleBuffPos >= amtLeftSensorSamples) leftSensorSampleBuffPos = 0;
    if (rightSensorSampleBuffPos >= amtRightSensorSamples) rightSensorSampleBuffPos = 0;
    if (TOFsensorSampleBuffPos >= amtTOFsensorSamples) TOFsensorSampleBuffPos = 0;
    int graphY = 10;
    displayGraph(0, graphY, 32, 32, 0, 100, rightSensorSampleBuff, rightSensorSampleBuffPos);
    displayGraph(127 - 32, graphY, 32, 32, 0, 100, leftSensorSampleBuff, leftSensorSampleBuffPos);
    displayGraph(64 - 16, graphY, 32, 32, 0, 1000, TOFsensorSampleBuff, TOFsensorSampleBuffPos);

    display.writeBuffer(screenBuffer.getBuffer(), screenBuffer.getBufferSize());

void displayGraph(int xDispPos, int yDispPos, int width, int height, int dataMin, int dataMax, int * buffToDisplay, int buffToDisplayPos) {

  screenBuffer.drawLine(xDispPos, yDispPos, xDispPos + width, yDispPos, 0xFFFF);
  screenBuffer.drawLine(xDispPos, yDispPos, xDispPos, yDispPos + height, 0xFFFF);
  screenBuffer.drawLine(xDispPos + width, yDispPos, xDispPos + width, yDispPos + height, 0xFFFF);
  screenBuffer.drawLine(xDispPos, yDispPos + height, xDispPos + height, yDispPos + height, 0xFFFF);

  for (uint8_t i = 1; i < width; i++) {
    int sample = map(buffToDisplay[(buffToDisplayPos + (i)) % width], dataMin, dataMax, 0, height);
    int sample0 = map(buffToDisplay[(buffToDisplayPos + (i - 1)) % width], dataMin, dataMax, 0, height);
    screenBuffer.drawLine(xDispPos + i - 1, yDispPos + height - sample0, xDispPos + i, yDispPos + height - sample, 0xFFFF);

If you want to change any of the port number assignments to best fit your car, there is a block at the top of the program before the setup() loop you can use.

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