PBASIC and the BASIC Stamp: A Staple in Education and Instructor Favorite

The beginning of Parallax’s microcontroller education program

In 1997 Parallax produced the Board of Education, a breadboard carrier and project board for the BASIC Stamp 2.

Educators around the country quickly asked that we mount it on a robot, and the Boe-Bot was created. Combined with Andy Lindsay’s book “Robotics with the Boe-Bot” and “What’s a Microcontroller”, this combination of hardware and tutorials became our most popular educational product – ever!

Today, PBASIC remains a favorite of many educators and classrooms and much of the initial educational research about the effectiveness of physical computing systems to teach coding used the BASIC Stamp.

Why Choose PBASIC?

  • PBASIC is a variant of familiar BASIC, with special commands for monitoring and controlling circuits
  • Program execution is a single process from top to bottom, making it easy to follow and understand
  • The syntax is very clean and simple — no curly braces or semicolons required
  • The language is not case-sensitive, a great advantage for new programmers
  • The BASIC Stamp Editor applies syntax highlighting — capitalization and color — to help identify elements and key words

The BASIC Stamp 2 runs our PBASIC interpreter, a set of instructions that translate user-typed code into machine code. PBASIC commands are considered “close to the hardware” and there’s very little abstraction between a command and a PBASIC function.

The BASIC Stamp 2 is used on the Board of Education for student projects and our tutorials.

The programming environment is either the Windows BASIC Stamp Editor or Parallax IDE, which runs on Chrome in any operating system.

PBASIC for Boe-Bot

The Boe-Bot runs the PBASIC language. The Boe-Bot robots are found in middle and high schools, vocational schools and colleges, robotics clubs, and hobbyists’ homes.

They are great companions for learning or teaching technology, mechatronics, and STEM programs. This robot kit can be used as a California A-G approved elective course.

The Boe-Bot’s tutorial is a 300+ page spiral bound printed tutorial.

Resources

the boe-bot for pbasic
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