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Student POV: How ROBOTC Changed the Way we do Robotics

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HOW ROBOTC

We, as a team from the Federal Institute of Sergipe (Aracaju, SE, Brazil), have started to meddle with robotics about half a year ago. After some hard work with the hardware and mechanical aspects of the build, we headed to the most crucial thing: the algorithm, intelligence itself. There, we’ve hit an obstacle. A considerable one.

“Talos”, the Robot

“Talos”, the Robot

First, we’ve tried to use the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 software, the one where you use blocks to build programs directly to the brick. That, proved very unsustainable as we move along. The code kept getting bigger, and more unclear to work by as it grew. As we’ve kept getting the needs for a clear code interpretation and source sharing, it was no longer an option.

We’ve then tried a couple other options, as the LeJOS and EV3DEV, but as we we’re implementing an Arduino Pro Mini and an Arduino UNO, we needed a better grasp on the protocols that runs between them. We’ve decided to use I2C and found out that both of the options didn’t have the tools needed to debug and test with. That along with the inconsistency (the robot just didn’t work for no reason 1 out of 20 times), have presented us with a challenge.

There were times when we just didn’t know if a software/framework with the tools we needed existed. We still had an option, we had to try ROBOTC.

We haven’t done it before on one fact: It was paid. But it had a 10-day trial, and we still had to try. And it was fantastic.

We could instantly try it out, it had a firmware of it’s own (with a 1-click install, which makes thing extra-practical) and a really smooth learning curve. An extensive documentation, a really broad community and many many tools to debug from. But does it have an I2C test utility? Yes. It has. The code became clearer, the problems we’re gone, we could share the code on Github, it was magical. It even has a couple plans of payment for teams and or students.

I’d suggest ROBOTC to every EV3/NXT user, it is simply the best all-together tool out there.

Arduino UNO on the bottom of the Robot

Arduino UNO on the bottom of the Robot

- Henrique Cunha

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

June 1st, 2017 at 8:07 am