Archive for the ‘Cool projects’ Category
The 2013 Robotics Institute‘s LEGO IC Challenge involved programming with ROBOTC! This year’s challenge was based on a standard mini-golf course. Each team needed to build a robot using the Lego NXT and program in ROBOTC to traverse a moving platform, ford a “sand” trap (or go around), and duck through a spinning windmill.
The challenge is part of the Robotics Institute’s Robotics Immigration Course, which all Robotics students must attend at the beginning of their first semester in the program. The course is a series of lectures, discussions, and demonstrations that familiarize the students with Carnegie Mellon and the Robotics Program, introducing them to the research projects and faculty within the Program and affiliated departments, and describe the computational and other resources available in the Program. The Robotics Immigration Course gives the students an opportunity to learn what it means to conduct research and to get to know the faculty in the Robotics Program.
Congrats to Neil Abcouwer, Hugo Ponte, Erik Nelson, and Nicholas Gisolfi, who came in first place at the challenge!
Tarek Abdelwareth, an undergraduate studying Computer Engineering at Nile University in Egypt, shared with us a very cool ROBOTC project he put together with his team called Human Vs. Robot: Tic Tac Toe Challenge.
The robot was designed using only LEGO MINDSTORM parts and a white board pen then programmed in ROBOTC with more than 1500 lines of code. We asked Tarek to share some information about the robot …
“It took me and my team about a week to build the design and a month to complete the code of all programming stages we set. We participated in the WRO (World Robotics Olympiad) with this robot in the Open Category (Senior-High) last year. Our team got the first place in Egypt and the 10th place worldwide.
The robot in the video is actually an old version by the way; there has been much improvements in the programming that made it faster and efficient. Plus, the algorithm of thinking and playing has improved that the robot simply never lose now.”
Ray McNamara is relatively new to ROBOTC, having only really started to seriously use it within the past year, but already he’s come up with some interesting projects that caught our eye. The “Monster Ball Sorting Factory”, which he shared with us on the forum, is definitely a cool project we had to share.
The Factory is a cooperation between two robots Ray’s designed. One is an NXT Forklift truck, which uses a special non-standard part: a pair of Omni Wheels in the back to replace the standard single rotating wheel, which makes the Forklift’s turns a lot more reliable.
The other is a long, conveyor belt and claw arm robot that sorts balls piled onto a conveyor belt based on their color. It then puts them into containers, which the Forklift periodically takes and places in a slot so that the robot can dump it into a bigger bin. This robot is a combination of an earlier project, the “Bin Emptying Machine,” that takes the balls out of their container with a rail mounted crane that does the sorting.
We asked Ray about the project and his motivation for doing it and he replied:
“My Monster Sorter is still a work in progress, much to my wife’s annoyance due to the amount of real-estate it has been taking up in the lounge room since early December 2012. I hope to have it all running on a single NXT (excluding the Forklift), by means of 2x Mindsensors Motor Multiplexers and 1x Mindsensors Sensor Multiplexer. If my calculations are right, the single NXT Brick will control 8x Motors and 10x Sensors.
My motivation was the challenge to learn how far I take the standard Colour Sorter model. It really started back in 2010, when I convinced Rotacaster Australia‘s GM to turn his industrial rollers into Omni-wheels for my LEGO Models and robots. After almost exhausting the possibilities of Holonomic Platforms, I looked into other uses for the Rotacaster Wheels, resulting in my Forklift Truck.
Once I had my Forklift Truck, I needed to put it to work. The Ball Sorting Factory was what evolved over a few days. Since then I have been fine tuning the hardware and the ROBOTC code used to control it. In the process, I have also been Beta Testing some Mindsensors Sensors and Multiplexers with it.
I always try to include a detailed description, photos, video, code and CAD files for my robots when they are published to my blog. Although it takes a lot of time to put my blog posts together, I feel it is worth it. I get a lot questions and praise from many people who use my resources. I especially enjoy helping out students with their queries.”
Thanks to Ray for taking the time to respond to our questions! Visit Ray’s website at www.rjmcnamara.com to see more projects, pictures, codes, videos, and much more.
Do you have a cool project or video you want to share with us? If so, send us an email at email@example.com.
Original article here: [LINK].
When Melanie Steiner contacted me some time ago with a question about using joystick control in combination with the Mindsensors NXTServo controller, I got curious. What was she making? It turned out she is one of the members of a small group of students in Switzerland who were taking part in a contest. The task was to make a system that could transport as much “building materials” to the top of a simulated mountain side. Materials were placed in hard-to-get-to places so they had to develop a mechanism that allowed them to get to these. Additionally, the system had to weigh less than 3.5 kilos and had to be installable in 2 minutes! Said Melanie:
Our team decided to approach this task with a multifunctional intake mechanism, which is able to gather every kind of the materials and at the same time represents the vessel to transport them.
This lead us to a “shovel and wiper” system. To change the altitude of it, we chose a frame-work. The advantages are: achieving a long range and at the same time being able to shrink drastically so we could place it in the valley station. Furthermore a frame-work is very stable and light at the same time due to it’s design. To reach the right and left side of the terrain, we used a rail as guideway. To move the system along it, we installed a rope which pulls it in the desired direction. We used 3 NXT Motors and 3 Servos to achieve the movement. Motor A moves the rope of the rail. Motor B changes the altitude of the frame-work and Motor C moves the Cogwheel in the intake mechanism. Servo 1 moves the shovel, Servo 2 the rack, so we could change the altitude of the wiper. And Servo 3 moves the wiper itself.
We used a PS3 Controller to steer our system. The software is written with RobotC. Steering the Servos was only possible with the 3rd Party Driver Suite programmed by Xander Soldaat. At this point, our team would like to express our gratitude to Xander, who kindly helped us with a special and very essential function in the Software…
Here are some pictures of their awesome system:
|Frickin’ laser beams to cut the parts.||It looks like a very complicated puzzle, but then the Swiss are well known for their precision machinery.|
|The grabbing mechanism||The assembled cart and grabber||Two team members assembling the cart|
|The team members (in no particular order): Michael Schmalz, Timon Brändli, Manuel Dangel, Tamara Weissenbach and Melanie Steiner.|
I am sure by now you’re probably very curious to see the whole thing actually working. The good news is that they’ve posted a video on YT and you can watch it right here:
Schuyler Horky caught our attention with his detailed and fun ROBOTC tutorial videos. He has been working on a 10 part ROBOTC for NXT video tutorial series for the past three months to help local students and teachers with programming. We got a chance to talk with Schuyler to find out more about his programming experience….
Where are you from? What grade are you in?
I am from Monroe Washington, and I am a participant in my state’s Running Start program so that I can attend community college while still in high school. That being said, I am a senior in high school and a freshman in college
How long have you been a ROBOTC user?
I have used ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS for five years, and ROBOTC for VEX for four years.
What made you start using ROBOTC?
What made me start to use ROBOTC was my passion for electronics. ROBOTC was the easiest way to experiment with custom sensors, including I2C. At age 13, making my NXT support more motors and sensors brought me into the world of digital electronics, object oriented programming, and engineering.
What do you think of the software?
ROBOTC is the best way for any beginner to start programming, particularly with robotics. The real time debugging capabilities need a few tweaks, but just the fact that ROBOTC has it, is a huge advantage to alternative products. The absolute best thing about ROBOTC is the help menu. Every programming language I have learned has a good digital repository and RobotC is no exception. If I want to learn how to use a certain function, example code and a lengthy explanation are always at my fingertips.
What made you decide to create these tutorial videos?
At my local K-12 home school co-op program, I volunteer to help a math teacher teach programming, coach FLL teams, and mentor VEX robotics teams. In the off-season, I normally teach ROBOTC to the middle school students, getting them ready for more advanced LEGO projects and our VEX robotics teams. This year though, since my programming internship and three college classes per quarter have taken a bit out of my schedule, I cannot help as much, so I create tutorials so that the teacher can use them as curriculum.
ROBOTC is the best way to get excited about programming in C. The cross platform support means that you won’t have to re-learn anything when moving from NXT to VEX, or VEX to Arduino. ROBOTC can take you as a beginner and make you a proficient programmer. ROBOTC offers a huge repository of documentation and example code, powerful low-level functions, in addition to quick compile time, real time debugging, and extended 3rd party support.
Thanks so much to Schuyler for taking the time to answer our questions!! You can find his entire YouTube playlist tutorial series here – ROBOTC for NXT Tutorial
Do you have a cool project or video you want to share with us? If so, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vision systems are one of the more useful, albeit trickier, sensors that can be used in a robotics system. They allow a microcontroller to literally ‘see’ an object, its color, shape, and (in some cases) the material it is made from. They are used extensively almost anywhere an automated system needs to make a decision based on an object’s visual properties.
Fortunately, MindSensor’s NXTCam combined with Xander’s driver suite allows NXT users to quickly and easily program a vision system for their robots. ROBOTC forum member alain has recently created one of the basic NXTCam robots (a robot that will track a colored ball with relatively high accuracy) and was kind enough to share his programming journey on the ROBOTC forum and the video below.
If you’re interested in building your own color-tracking robot or have other, unique ideas for an NXT cam with ROBOTC, be sure to check out the Robotics Academy demo video for ideas on how the NXTCam can be used and the ROBOTC forum for coding help.
We ran into Paul Utley from Pitsco at the 2013 FIRST Championship who designed a model of the Curiosity Rover with TETRIX parts, NXT brick, and programmed in ROBOTC! We were lucky enough to get a short interview with him about it. Check it out here …
If you are at the 2013 FIRST Championship in St. Louis, MO., make sure to stop by and check it out in person. For more information on Tetrix go to http://www.tetrixrobotics.com
The Robot Virtual Worlds team has been developing a multiplayer game mode, and our group was lucky enough to get a sneak peak last week (and I made sure to record the event for you!)
Check out the video from the preview:
It will work with ROBOTC, have CS2N connectivity for achievements, private rooms so only the people you invite will be allowed in, structured chat rooms, and a lot more!! Look for it to be released at the end of the summer.
What do you think? What features would you like to see included in it?
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!
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 …