Some beginner questions

Hi. I am considering getting a Sparki in the near future. I like how simple it seems to interface with it. Just had a few questions that relate to my goals:

I plan to command Sparki over Bluetooth on a computer. The Sparki IDE can compile ordinary, platform-independent C/C++ code, correct?

I would like to mount a camera by the ultrasonic sensor. I don’t need high res images and can deal with a low frame rate (even still images if necessary). Would most Arduino cameras work in the expansion port, and would there be enough free pins to accommodate for it (with the bluetooth module also attached)? Would enough power be supplied to it? Do you have a suggestion for a particular camera that is simple and would work decently?

I may not have much use for the line sensors. If that is the case, can they be unplugged and can some other kind of 3rd party sensor be attached in their place?

At some point I may want to integrate some kind of voice recognition/synthesis, and may want to attach a speaker/mic to it, although for now I could just do that with the computer that is controlling the Sparki. Any general considerations you would recommend for a goal like this?

Thanks for the info.

I’m sorry in advance because I’m not sure my answers are going to be of much help.

It’s an arduino board, so you use a slightly modified arduino library (see It will generally use C++ but you’re extremely memory limited.

The BT module takes 4 pins (if you look at, it’s the bottom left 4 pins (5v, GND, 0, 1)). I’m uncertain of the exact capabilities of the other pins, but it is an arduino board, and I think it’s reasonable to assume other arduino boards will work with the sparki. It has 3.3v and 5v pins, but I do not know from experience if Sparki can power all of them simultaneously.

It would be very cool if you get a camera working, though. That’s something that I’d love to have on the robot – and to integrate into the python library I’ve been working on.

The line sensors are, I believe, surface mounted on the bottom of the robot. You could probably disconnect them, though I’m not sure you’d gain much by doing so.

The Sparki itself probably isn’t going to be useful to do much speech recognition – I would think getting the necessary code to reside on the robot would be quite a challenge. It’s processing capabilities are fairly limited relative to your computer, and I can’t imagine many scenarios when it would be easier to do it on the sparki than transfer to a computer for processing.

Sorry this isn’t of more help. Keep us posted on your progress!

Thanks for the tips. Looking over the specs, the board is very memory limited like you said, ideal for handling the features included on Sparki, but not more. As such, I’m currently looking into ways to use an old android smartphone as a wifi/bluetooth camera to send images directly to the computer. The only downside is that it would have to be mounted stationary on the Sparki, so couldn’t pivot independently like the ultrasonic sensor.