Archive for May, 2011
Now Available: ROBOTC Virtual World Tech Alpha! New Features, New Robots, New Planet!
- New features: Gripper Arms, Light Sensor, Touch Sensor, and More
- Four exciting challenges
- Unlock and explore the mysterious Planet H98
You have new sensors: the Touch Sensor and the Light Sensor. Use the Touch Sensor to detect if your robot has collided with a wall or object. The Light Sensor measures the light bouncing off the ground, so you can use it to follow lines.
There are now four challenges to for your robots. In the Labyrinth Challenge, you must avoid knocking over the obstacles on your way to the finish line. You can use the new Light Sensor to follow the lines leading to the finish line in the updated Maze Challenge.
The Race Track Challenge tests your skill at maneuvering the robot. You’ll need to complete a figure 8 around the track and avoid the obstacles to gain the achievement.
Don’t miss the new Gripper Challenge. Your robot will automatically be equipped with a gripper that can grab objects and move them around. Command your robot to pick up the Robot Academy figurine and drop it off at the target. It’s trickier than it sounds!
After you’ve completed the Training Table, venture on to Planet H99. Explore the different areas like the Astronaut Camp and the Container Yard. We’ve even added a cool new robot, the Mini-Rover. It’s a bit tricky to control, so you’ll need to be smart about how you write your programs!
But what is this rumor of a new planet? You’ll need to solve all four Training Table Challenges and find the Teleport Pad in Planet H99. Then you’ll be able to explore a cool new planet for yourself!
Besides all the cool new content in ROBOTC Virtual Worlds, you’ll also notice an improved interface. You now start your code inside the Virtual World window, so you won’t have to switch back and forth. Of course your favorite ROBOTC features are available: command highlighting, drag-and-drop function from the function bar, and the real-time debugger.
You can download the new installer on the Planet H99 site. Share your cool Virtual World stories and get help on the ROBOTC Planet H99 Forum.
We are pleased to introduce a working version of the ROBOTC Natural Language! A few months ago, we first announced our plan to make ROBOTC more beginner-friendly, using a new set of functions. Today, I’m happy to announce that our plan is already incorporated into ROBOTC for VEX Cortex and PIC; a version of ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS with the Natural Language will be released mid summer.
The goal of the Natural Language is to lower the barrier of entry into text-based programming languages, which it accomplishes in two main ways:
- The lines of code that make up entire robot “behaviors” are consolidated into single commands. For example, moving forward, line tracking, and turning are all single-line commands. New programmers will be able to use these commands to focus on breaking down problems and learning how to think logically, instead of focusing on every semicolon.
- The names given the new commands are simple and straightforward… even “Natural” sounding. For example, a student that wants to make their robot move forward can simply place the “forward();” command in their code. As they become comfortable with the Natural Language, they can begin to incorporate full ROBOTC commands into their program as well.
Check out this video for more information, including a demo (for best results, full screen the video and increase the quality):
For full details and support on the new Natural Language, visit the ROBOTC Natural Language page. (You can always get to this page at ROBOTC.net under the Support section in the navigation.)
The Penn Trafford Robotics Team is getting some well-deserved media attention. In just a few short years they’ve already won several local competitions and competed at a very high level at international competitions like the VEX World Championship. Keep up the great work!
And yes, they use ROBOTC.
Down in Orlando, Florida a few weeks ago at the VEX World Championships, Rich Erb from Robotics Trends interviewed me about ROBOTC. We discussed ROBOTC and our future developments with Robot Virtual Worlds and Multi-Robot communications projects. Take a look!