Archive for March, 2013
We are extremely excited to announce our new teacher certification courses! A “Robotics Academy Certified Instructor” is officially certified by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy. The certification will provide an official and public recognition of your competencies and capabilities to teach, program, and troubleshoot educational robots. Check out our most recent video that gives you some more details …
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
- What is the certification?
- The certification is proof from a robotics education world leader that you know how to program and troubleshoot robots.
- Does this course offer college credit?
- The course offers continuing education credit and documents that you have participated in 36 hours worth of instruction at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy. It is not a college credit course.
- What happens if I don’t pass the certification test?
- The certification test is offered after you complete the course. If you don’t pass the certification test, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam one month later.
- Can I use Robot Virtual Worlds in my classroom?
- How do I register for the course?
- Go to Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013 and follow the instructions.
- Does the Robotics Academy take Purchase Orders?
- When should I register?
- As soon as possible. The courses are limited to 24 students per class and will fill up quickly.
- When are courses offered?
- You can find a list of all classes available here – Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013
All ROBOTC related training is listed below:
We are thrilled to announce the new Single and Team perpetual licenses available for Robot Virtual Worlds!! Previously, we only offered Classroom licenses for perpetual users, but due to user requests, we have now added Single and Team options. Read the rest of this entry »
Martin Mason, professor of Physics and Engineering at Mt. San Antonio College and ROBOTC user, has developed a new VEXduino Shield. He created a board that you can plug in VEX sensors but, combined with ROBOTC, uses an Arduino to control the robot instead of a Cortex or PIC. Combining the Shield with an Arduino, some VEX parts, and a small breadboard is a perfect recipe for teaching electronics with the ROBOTC for Arduino!
We understand the challenges robotics classrooms face every day in terms of cost, number of robots, batteries, and homework. That is why we created Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW). With RVW, every student can experience the same benefits of learning robots, right on their computer. RVW currently simulates popular real-world VEX, LEGO, and TETRIX robots in a 3D environment; while using the same language, ROBOTC, to program both your virtual robot and your physical robot.
To help you get started and get a better understanding of what RVW can do, we are offering five FREE webinars on Google Hangout every Monday in April at 4pm EST with project manager, Jesse Flot, and some members of his team! We will show you a brief tutorial on the specific topic of the day then take a few questions from the Google Hangout chat or on twitter using hashtag #RVWHangout.
At each webinar, we will be giving out a discount code for Robomatter, the robotics education store, and a chance to win a one-year license for ROBOTC 3.6!!! To tune in live, follow Robomatter on Google+ or visit ROBOTC.net/hangouts the day of the event (you will need a google+ account or twitter account to submit questions.)
Listed below are the specific dates with topics that we will be covering …
We are very excited to announce that today is the first day of Spring and …. the first day of ROBOTC 3.60! ROBOTC is the premiere robotics programming language for educational robotics and competitions. ROBOTC is a C-Based Programming Language with an Easy-to-Use Development Environment. We are really proud of this release and can’t wait to hear what you think! Remember, we could not do this without your support and feedback. We hope you’ll continue to share your comments with us, either in the forums or on our Facebook or Twitter page.
Read the rest of this entry »
Just like many of you, we have to get creative with the tools we have around us for different tasks. Today was no different. Tim is reformatting a computer today, and long story short, needed to click the “retry” button every time a window pops up. To make sure we didn’t have him wasting his day pushing a button (you’d like ROBOTC 3.6 released one day, right?), we made a VEX ‘auto-clicker’ to get the job done. Check out our picture and short video …
While scouring Vimeo a couple weeks ago, I came across a “Vimeo Staff Pick” time-lapse video featuring beautiful landscapes, lakes, mountains, and skies called “Hdr Skies.” When looking in the description for more details, I noticed that ROBOTC was listed! I sent the creator, Tanguy Louvigny, an email to learn more about his process with ROBOTC and time-lapse photography. He was nice enough to answer some questions for us …
- When did you start using ROBOTC?
I started using ROBOTC some 3 years ago, when I started my TETRIX based time-lapse rig project.
- What made you decide to program your time lapse rig with ROBOTC?
Version 2 of my rig used three motors to move the camera on three different axis, and was thus more complex to program. That’s when I decided I needed something more convenient and powerful to be able to control the TETRIX encoders and synchronize the motors with the camera shots. ROBOTC was the solution to my problems and worked like a charm.
- What did you use to build your rig?
My goal with this project was to construct a motorized base for my camera to add movement in my time lapse clips. The first, one axis version of the rig simply used a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 kit to support the camera. For version 2, I needed more robust parts and powerful motors to be abled to sustain the weight of new and bigger cameras, so I went for a TETRIX kit that I would couple with the MINDSTORMS brick to control the motors.
- How long was this video in production?
The ”Hdr skies” video was a compilation of one year of time lapse shots. Since then, as I shoot more, I try to achieve a new video every six months or so.
- How has your experience been with ROBOTC?
I had a great time programming with it, I already knew a bit of C, so I found it very easy and natural to use, in fact so simple I was rapidly able to code all my ideas with ease!
- Do you have any other projects coming up that you are using ROBOTC with?
My next project is a new TETRIX based five axis rig using a motorized jib. I’ll use ROBOTC to control the motors and build a new MINDSTORMS interface to program the moves. I’m also exploring new possibilities to use ROBOTC to fire the camera directly, thus simplifying the robot/camera synchronizing part.
Tanguy also mentioned that all his time lapse videos are made with the rig.
Thank you so much Tanguy for sharing your awesome project! Do you have a cool projects that you created using ROBOTC? If so, let us know! We’d love to feature it here.
When it comes to setting up any new robot, the age-old saying ‘knowledge is power’ tends to ring particularly true. This is why one can find a variety of beginner guides already available, such as the Video Curriculum Trainer and the ‘Getting Started with NXT and TETRIX’ ROBOTC wiki guide. There’s no such thing as too much knowledge, though, and the more tools a roboticist has at their fingertips the higher their chance for success.
Because of this, we are pleasantly surprised by the depth of content covered by Avi, aka TheProgreammerDude’s YouTube tutorial video. Avi is a member of FTC team 5773. Not only is his tutorial straight from the screen of an FTC team programmer, it focuses on ROBOTC programming concepts specifically for the FTC competition (such as using competition templates and setting up a TETRIX robot using the Motors and Sensors Setup window).
If you’re looking add this video set to your ROBOTC toolkit, be sure to check out the first video in his series.
Have you created a ROBOTC or Robot Virtual Worlds tutorial? If so, let us know!
Thank you to everyone who downloaded the new RVW Level Builder and provided feedback! We’ve released version 2.01 of the software, which addresses the issues some of you were seeing. It can be downloaded here, under Available Level Packs.
If you haven’t tried out the Level Builder, you definitely should. It allows you to create your own challenges to solve and share with others. (More detail can be found here, in the original blog post) The latest version even includes the Model Importer, which allows you to use your own 3D objects that were created in Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks:
Here are the major fixes in this release:
- Fixed some large models getting distorted on import
- Auto-generated collider can now be edited
- Added error reporting readout to Model Importer to improve debugging
- Fixed crash conditions when model library is empty
- Removed scale reference from generated model thumbnails
- STL importer better handles small differences in ASCII STL file formats
Thanks again to everyone who provided feedback!
- Jesse Flot
More great news for Robot Virtual World users! Operation Reset version 1.5.2 is available and includes some fixes and great new features. The most notable of the new features is what we’re calling the Measurement Toolkit.
Research conducted with the Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW) has shown that it is actually a more efficient tool for teaching how to program than real robots. RVW allows you to learn how to program with motors and sensors, but without the wasted time of charging batteries, resetting the robot, repairing damaged parts, and so on. That said, one limitation of the Virtual Worlds has been that you couldn’t just place a tape measure and protractor in the world like you could with a real robot… until now. The Measurement Toolkit takes all of the guess-and-checking out of using the Virtual Worlds, and more importantly, allows them to be used as extremely valuable tools for teaching and reinforcing crucial math concepts like proportionality.
The Measurement Toolkit consists of 3 new buttons, placed along the right side of the Operation Reset interface:
- SHOW The SHOW button turns the Measurement Toolkit on or off. When turned on, it will display the distance and angle to “key objects” in range of the robot. For Operation Reset, this means objects like the Charge Cubes (see below), Fuel Barrels and Crystals. Turning the Measurement Toolkit on also creates a line coming out of the robot that shows its heading (the red line below), and enables you to ADD your own “key point markers” in the world.
- ADD The ADD button lets you to place your own “key point markers” (see below) in the world, allowing you to find key distances and angles for your robot to traverse. Once the Measurement Toolkit is turned on, you must also click the ADD button to enable it. Once you do, simply click on the spot in the world where you would like a marker to be created and one will appear, along with the distance and angle from the robot (see below). Up to three sequential markers can be created by clicking on multiple spots in the world, allowing you to do some intelligent path planning. When your robot drives into one of the key point markers it is removed, and the next key point updates to show it’s distance and angle directly from the robot. If you’re unhappy with any of the points that you create, you can right-click with your mouse, and the last point you created will be removed.
- CLEAR The CLEAR button removes all of the markers that you’ve created in the world. It is only enabled if you have created your own key point markers.
The Measurement Toolkit will change how you use Robot Virtual Worlds and enable new possibilities whether you’re using them in the classroom, for fun at home, or to help prepare for a robotics competition. We’ve already included it in Palm Island: Luau Edition, and will be updating our existing worlds to include it. We’re also producing some video materials that show step-by-step how to use the new functionality, so be on the lookout for those in the coming weeks.
As always, we appreciate any feedback you have about the Robot Virtual Worlds, Operation Reset, and the Measurement Toolkit. Please share it on our Facebook page, here on the blog, or the ROBOTC.net forums.
- Jesse Flot