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2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner!

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Scholarship WinnerThe 2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner is Cameron Akker of Redmond, Washington!

Cameron Akker is the 2014 REC Foundation-RoboMatter scholarship recipient and will receive $5,000 intended for students pursuing a degree related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Cameron attended Redmond High School and is a member of VEX Team 575, Exothermic Robotics of Redmond, Washington. He will attend Harvard University this fall. Cameron, on far right, is pictured here with his Exothermic Robotics teammates.

Cameron started programming for the first time in 9th grade and pursued a variety of summer programs to improve his skills. He began by learning ROBOTC, picked up Java at a Stanford University program, and took a course focused on robotics programming using language C at the University of Pennsylvania. Last summer, Cameron put his knowledge to use and got together with friends he met through robotics to start a mobile app company. Working straight through the summer, the group was able to create and release two Android games on Google Play.

When it comes to programming robots Cameron says, “Virtual worlds is an excellent interface through which I’ve been able to program without the rough, troublesome physicality of actual robots. It’s helpful to be able to test programs without the possibility of one mistake leading to a physical robot’s untimely demise. The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy sponsored Robot Virtual Worlds Competition provides an exciting chance to experience the thrill of robotics programming without needing to attend a physical robotics competition.”

“Understanding programming has also aided the way I build robots to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition,” continues Cameron. “Instead of building an entire robot and then programming it, I program the robot at every step of the build process. As a result, I don’t have to wait until the end of the build process to find broken motors or faulty engineering, but can rather find them along the way. Understanding programming has also allowed me to better set up sensors on a competition robot. Instead of putting sensors on the robot and later figuring out how to incorporate them, I only add sensors when there is a clear need in programming for them.”
The REC Foundation and RoboMatter congratulate Cameron Akker on his well-deserved scholarship award and wish him much success in his college career at Harvard University.

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Written by Cara Friez

September 15th, 2014 at 7:15 am

FTC Cascade Effect Virtual World Available!

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Hot on the heels of the official game unveiling, the ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World team is proud to announce the availability of the new FTC Cascade Effect virtual world! Check out the rules for the new game here.

ftc game
Like past FTC Robot Virtual Worlds, the game elements, scoring, autonomous period, and tele-operated period are all simulated. We also provide three different robot models that can interact with this year’s game objects.

Conveyorbot
Conveyorbot is capable of picking up 4 balls at a time, and dropping them into the movable tube goals. The 4 balls can be any combination of the small golf balls or larger wiffle balls.

conveyorbot

Scissorbot
Scissorbot can pick up any of this year’s game objects: the larger wiffle balls, smaller golf balls, and the movable tube goals. It’s gripper can extend high into the air, allowing it to also drop the balls into any of the goals!

scissorbot

Gripperbot
Gripperbot can also pick up all of this year’s game objects: the larger wiffle balls, smaller golf balls, and the movable tube goals. Its streamlined design and low center of gravity allow it to quickly score balls and move tubes across the playing field.

gripperbot

All robots this year have been upgraded with “ball guards” around their chassis and wheels, which will help them to traverse the field once it has been covered in balls. They can also be equipped with either a Gyro sensor for precise turns, even if the robot slips, or an IR Receiver for tracking the center goal! Click here to download some sample code we’ve written to help you get started with all of the robots.

sensors ir

Download and try out the game today. If you are using ROBOTC 4, make sure that your Platform Type is set to LEGO Mindstorms NXT, and that you have “External Motor/Servo Controllers” enabled.

We appreciate any feedback you have! Please feel free to share it at the ROBOTC.net forums. Also, be on the lookout for future updates on our blog. We will be releasing a game video, along with an update that includes additional features along with robot-to-game object interaction tweaks.

RVW FTC Block Party Competition – One Day Left!

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Block Party CS2N ModeThere is only one day left to enter our Robot Virtual Worlds FTC  Block Party Programming Competitions! 

In the FTC Block Party Virtual World, program one of three robots to score as many points as possible in autonomous and driver controlled modes. Score points by:

  • Placing Blocks in Floor goals
  • Placing Blocks in Pendulum goals
  • Raising the Flag
  • Hanging from the Bar

See the rules documents for the full game explanation:

  1. FTC Block Party – Autonomous CS2N Mode
  2. FTC Block Party – Remote Control CS2N Mode

Additional information to help you get started:

Good Luck and Happy Programming!

Written by Cara Friez

March 13th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

RVW VEX Toss Up Competition – One Day Left!

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Toss-Up-CS2N-ModeThere is only one day left to enter our Robot Virtual Worlds VEX Toss Up Competitions!

VEX Toss Up is played on a 12′x12′ square field. The object of the game is to score your colored BuckyBalls and Large Balls into the Near Zone and Far Zone, by Locking Up your colored BuckyBalls and Large Balls into the Goals, and by Low Hanging, Hanging and Ultra Hanging off your colored Bar at the end of the match.

This Virtual World is designed to simulate the Toss Up competition field and several robot designs, allowing teams to practice their programming and form winning gameplay strategies.

See the rules documents for the full CS2N game explanation:

  1. VEX Toss Up – Autonomous CS2N Mode
  2. VEX Toss Up – Remote Control CS2N Mode

Additional information to help you get started:

Good Luck and Happy Programming!

 

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Written by Cara Friez

March 13th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

RVW VEX Toss Up Competition Now Live!

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Toss-Up-CS2N-ModeCarnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy, a research-based organization committed to teaching students how to program robots, is really excited to be able to support VEX Competition teams again this year. Follow the links below to learn about a NEW VEX Toss Up Programming Game that can be used by students, teachers in classrooms, coaches, or competition providers with FREE Programming Classes that your students can take. The new game is designed to teach programming and has over $5,000 in prizes. The Robotics Academy has also developed CS2N Group Technology that enables teachers, coaches, and regional competition sponsors to host their own programming and remote control virtual competitions.

VEX Toss Up is played on a 12′x12′ square field. The object of the game is to score your colored BuckyBalls and Large Balls into the Near Zone and Far Zone, by Locking Up your colored BuckyBalls and Large Balls into the Goals, and by Low Hanging, Hanging and Ultra Hanging off your colored Bar at the end of the match.

This Virtual World is designed to simulate the Toss Up competition field and several robot designs, allowing teams to practice their programming and form winning gameplay strategies.

See the rules documents for the full CS2N game explanation:

  1. VEX Toss Up – Autonomous CS2N Mode
  2. VEX Toss Up – Remote Control CS2N Mode

Additional information to help you get started:

How to Setup Your Own In-Class Competition – Teachers, coaches, and competition organizers can setup their own unique programming competitions using CS2N Groups Technology.  The Robotics Academy has developed group technology that enables teachers to setup their own in-class competitions.  To learn how to setup your own Group competition click here:http://www.cs2n.org/tutorials/competitions

Be sure to visit the CS2N.org or RobotVirtualWorlds.com for the latest version of the VEX Toss Up software. Happy Programming!

 

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Robotics Summer of Learning Competitions Ending Soon!

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Robotics-Leaderboard copyOur inaugural Robotics Summer of Learning competitions are coming to a close on August 31! We have received some great entries, but there is still time to submit your programs for a chance at some awesome prizes.

There are three competitions eligible for prizes: CS2N VEX Toss Up Challenge, CS2N FTC “Ring It Up!” Challenge, and Robot Virtual Worlds Beacons and Barriers. Each competition is broken up into three divisions. Each player is eligible for only one prize per competition.

 
 
 
 
Divisions

  • Middle School Division – 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • High School Division – 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
  • Open Division – Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!

The prizes are top notch … we are giving away VEX IQ and NXT Kits; ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds licenses; and two $1000 scholarships. Listed below are the official prizes:

Prizes

VEX Prizes FTC PrizesLevel Builder Prizes

The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.

You only have a few more days to enter for your chance at these awesome prizes, so sign up today!

Written by Cara Friez

August 15th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

VEX IQ Challenge – Add It Up

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VEX IQ LogoAt the VEX World Championship in Anaheim, VEX introduced their newest robotics platform, VEX IQ.  VEX IQ is designed to transform STEM learning for students and their teachers. Students as young as 8 can begin building and programming their robot.

To support the VEX IQ system, the REC Foundation revealed a new VEX IQ Challenge game called “Add It Up” for the 2013-2014 robotics season.
 

VEX IQ Add It Up Field

In the VEX IQ Challenge, students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build a robot using the VEX IQ robotics platform to solve an engineering challenge that is presented in the form of a game. VEX IQ Challenge teams will work together scoring points in Teamwork Matches, and also get to show off their robot’s skills individually in driver controlled and autonomous Skills Challenges. VEX released a new video yesterday that explains the rules of the game.

 

There are a total of thirty-six (36) Small BuckyBalls and four (4) Large BuckyBalls available as Scoring Objects in the game. There are four (4) Floor Goals, two (2) Low Goals, two (2) High Goals, and four (4) Scoring Rings, as well as a Hanging Bar. Official game documents are available here: VEX Wiki – Add It Up

Registration for a VEX IQ Challenge team costs $100. Additional teams from the same schools can register for $50. Tournament entry fees vary by event. Visit RobotEvents.com for more information, to register a team and find events near you.

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy is currently developing new curriculum and trainings for the new VEX IQ platform and ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.0. Curriculum, software, and training will be available this Fall.  To find out more information visit: Robotics Academy VEX IQ.

What do you think of the new VEX IQ system? Are you interested in creating a team in your area?

Written by Cara Friez

July 2nd, 2013 at 6:02 pm

VEX Worlds 2013 Recap

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vexrwcWe had so much fun at the 2013 VEX World Championships last week! We saw some great matches, met tons of fantastic people, and got a chance to share some big news with everyone throughout the week.  We will be posting more detailed information on our news next week, so keep an eye out for that. Thank you to every one who stopped by to say hi and congrats to EVERY team. You all did an amazing job. Also thank you to VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation for inviting us to be a part of such an awesome event. We look forward to next year!

Check out our short recap video:


 

And if you haven’t had a chance, head on over to our Facebook page to checkout our photo album – VEX Worlds 2013.

 

Written by Cara Friez

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Wiki Guide: How to Play Sounds Through a VEX Cortex Speaker

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Back in April, we did an unboxing for the VEX Cortex Speaker which we blogged about, here.

Since then we have had many requests for an updated guide on how to play custom audio files through the Cortex Speakers. Today, the wait is finally over. We have updated our wiki pages to include an in-depth guide on how to convert a sound file into a Cortex-usable format using the open source program, Audacity [link].

Once the file is formatted and downloaded to the Cortex properly, the ‘PlaySoundFile(“filename.wav”)’ command is used to access the audio file and play it through the speaker port (example shown below).


task main()
{

//Play a Sound File (need to use the File Management to Upload First)
PlaySoundFile("1.wav");
wait1Msec(1000);

}

If you are interested in the Cortex Speaker and what can be played through it, check out the VEX forum post about playing Nyan Cat through the VEX Cortex speaker. As an added holiday bonus, how about the 12 Days of Christmas?

We are continually updating and improving all of our support material; if there is anything you think would make ROBOTC more accessible, don’t hesitate to comment below!


Written by John Watson

November 21st, 2012 at 1:01 pm

RVW Update: VEX Sack Attack v1.2.1 Now Available!

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Attention all VEX teams! We just released a substantial update to this year’s VEX Sack Attack virtual world. Download it here, or on the RVW Level Packs download page. Here’s what’s new:

New Robot: Clawbot

  • Clawbot features a 4-wheel, 2-motor drive system, an arm motor, a gripper, and the full array of sensors. Best of all, it’s fully programmable in ROBOTC!
  • Additional sample code for Clawbot is installed with the update, and can be downloaded here.

Pre-loads and Automatic Scoring

  • Both Gripperbot and Scooperbot can be pre-loaded with a sack! You can control what side the robot starts on, whether it gets a pre-load, and enable the autonomous duration all from the main menu.
  • Scoring is fully implemented in this new version.
    • Earn normal points from sacks, bonus points from bonus sacks, and even more bonus points from the autonomous bonus and “parking” your robot before time runs out.
    • A cool, new timer and scoreboard keeps track of the match in the top-left corner of the window. Compete with your classmates or teammates to see who can get the highest score before time runs out!
  • Driver Control loads are also implemented once the autonomous period ends. Introduce them into the playing field by clicking on the green sack icons in the top-right corner.

Sensor View

  • Ever wonder why your Ultrasonic sensor “sees” the values that it does? Enable the new Sensor View to see what’s triggering the Ultrasonic sensor and the heading of your compass.

Additional Enhancements

  • We’ve improved the robot-sack interaction on all of the robots.
  • The lighting and contrast of the game have been enhanced, making it easier to grab and score the sacks.
  • Lots of small tweaks and adjustments.

To view the original post for the VEX Sack Attack virtual world (complete with video), visit this link.

Written by Jesse Flot

September 19th, 2012 at 11:16 am