Frequently asked questions

I just got my ActivePuzzle package. Where do I start?

When you open the package you'll see the puzzles arranged in 5 columns:

  • First column (from left) - contains 5 output blocks
  • Second column - contains 5 input blocks
  • Third column - contains 5 logic blocks
  • Forth column - contains the battery (No. 16) and extra 3 logic blocks
  • Fifth column - contains extra 1 battery, 1 motor and 1 proximity. Also included are two brick adapters.
The user guide is at the top, with which you can start to build robots. You can also browse the more detailed user guide and the ActivePuzzle course on this site. At the bottom of the box you'll find a USB cable (for charging the batteries), 2 propellers and 2 wheels. Please fully charge the batteries using the USB cable before using them.

Why are there multiples of some blocks?

Some robot models, as you can see in the user guide require multiples of the same puzzle block. The double pieces are the battery, the motor and the proximity sensor.

Sometimes the batteries turn off and won't turn back on, what do I do?

It's probably the battery auto lock self protection from shortcuts. Simply charge the battery using the USB cable for few seconds and it will unlock.

I built a robot model as shown in the printed guide and it doesn't work.

Following are the errors in the printed guide:

What is the Arduino block used for and how do I use it?

The Arduino block lets you control all of the puzzle interfaces, including the power. It has 6 double pins where their functions are as follows (left to right): 1. Left input 2. Bottom input 3. Ground (-) 4. Power (+) 5. Top output 6. right output You can connect new sensors to the Arduino block inputs (left/bottom) and then build a puzzle robot that reacts to them, like in the planter moisture control (see attached image, and also model no. 24 in the guide). You can also connect your Arduino microcontroller (or any other micro controller) to the Arduino block and customize the robot behavior: read inputs coming from the left and/or bottom and determine the outputs on the top and right. Note that you can get the robot power from the microcontroller, and so you don't need a battery block. You can use as a power source either the battery block or the Arduino microcontroller power - do not use both.

How do you program the robots? how did you program the dog to follow you?

Short answer: programming of the robots is made by the way you build them.
Long answer: ActivePuzzle robots have no central processing unit, but rather work in a distributed manner based on the Braitenberg Vehicle concept: input pieces trigger adjacent output pieces, with the electronic value optionally being manipulated by logic pieces.
So to make the dog follow the bone (or a hand) we connected the proximity sensor in the front (with the two eyes) to the two motors at the back, and set the direction switch in each of the motors so as to make the robot move forward when the proximity “sees” something.

Are the batteries rechargeable?

Yes, they are rechargeable. Included in the ActivePuzzle kit is a USB cable - simply connect a battery using this cable to a computer USB port and let it recharge. When the red light goes off the battery charging is complete.

I read that ActivePuzzle can do infrared communication, is that so?

Yes, ActivePuzzle contains two puzzle blocs for infrared communication: 1. IR transmitter (output block, black) - no. 5 - this block can transmit an IR signal, depending on the current robot value. 2. IR receiver (input block, red) - no. 10 - this block is used to receive the IR signal transmitted by the IR transmitter and pass this signal along the robot it is part of. When it receives a signal its red LED goes on. Note: you can use a regular IR controller (TV / air condition controller) to activate the IR receiver - try it!

Where can I find the most detailed information about ActivePuzzle?

The ActivePuzzle online course is a thourough guide to ActivePuzzle.


Here in ActivePuzzle we love to learn by playing (honestly, who doesn't?), and this is why we invented the ActivePuzzle game. We are scientists and engineers who happened to be educators. For a long time we were seeking a language to express exciting ideas. We believe we found it.

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