Programming Pepper, the friendly humanoid robot

This week at the Pepper Studio, in Brisbane, we held a 5 day Pepper workshop. In this workshop, the kids learned how to use Choregraphe software to create programs for Pepper with both drag and drop code and python.

A range of exercises included: programming Pepper to speak; using Pepper's head, feet and hand sensors; using Pepper's tablet display; speech recognition; facial recognition; dance; building a simple finite state machine; keyframe animation; object recognition; facial detection; using Pepper's zones of engagement; and making eye and ear LEDs change colour.

The kids also learned how to debug their code, fix technical difficulties, and were exceptionally patient when Pepper needed time to load the program or be rebooted.

On the final day of the workshop, students presented their project and told us how they made it.

Jasper created a program where his Pepper recognised only his face and using keyframe animation, and hand sensors shook hands with him. Pepper's sensors had to be bypassed so that the animation would still play when shaking hands (Pepper is programmed for safety). It would not shake hands with anyone else. This meant also using facial recognition, say boxes and wait boxes. Jasper also created a few other projects such as a charades game and SpongeBob Squarepants song.

Lola made a program where Pepper played a game of charades. This required setting up speech recognition, switch cases, animated boxes and more. Lola also refactored her code to put the design elements - rainbow eyes and a puppy picture - inside a design box and have the game elements inside a game box.

Beau created a scary Dragon Pepper! This meant using keyframe animation to make Pepper's arms flap up and down, as well as red LED eyes, a say box, and a dragon image on the Pepper's tablet. Beau also changed the pitch and speed on the say box to make her Pepper sound even scarier.

Raymond was unable to make the last day of our workshop, but he did make a great handshake keyframe animation with Pepper on Thursday, where Pepper's hand was able to grip the user's hand.

The whole class amazed us with their creativity and use of their new Pepper and Choregraphe skills for their final programs. Well done to the Pepper workshop graduates!

If you are enthusiastic about robotics and want to learn to program Pepper, sign up for our mailing list to receive exclusive updates on upcoming Pepper workshops.

By Lilly Windisch