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Robotics Academy Fall Online Training Schedule

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OnlineTraining.235000

We are excited to share our Fall online training schedule with you! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation. Register for a class today!!
 

Online Training Schedule

EV3

EV3


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for EV3 Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
7-7:45pm EST (4-4:45pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

TETRIX

TETRIX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for LEGO / TETRIX
Oct 16th – Nov 20th, 2014
Thursdays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

VEX CORTEX

VEX CORTEX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Oct 13th – Nov 17th, 2014
Mondays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 
 

VEX IQ

VEX IQ


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for VEX IQ Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
6-6:45pm EST (3-3:45pm PST)
 
 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

September 9th, 2014 at 7:30 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.

Sensor Section Available Now in our ROBOTC EV3 Curriculum!

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Sensor SectionThe ROBOTC team is proud to announce the completion of the Sensing section of the Introduction to Programming EV3 Curriculum!

Check it out to learn how to use the EV3 Touch, Sonar, Gyro, and Color sensors with ROBOTC Graphical here! The curriculum is completely free to use, and more materials are always being added.

Check out two of the video tutorials below:
 
 


 

 

Written by Cara Friez

September 5th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Latest ROBOTC Update is our Official Release!!

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ROBOTC 4-26

We’re very excited for our official release update, ROBOTC 4.26!! This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems.

Some of these new updates include …

  • Full EV3 Functionality (Sounds, LCD, LEDs, Sensors, Motors)
  • Graphical Language for all platforms (VEX IQ, VEX Cortex – LEGO NXT, LEGO EV3)
  • Updated 3rd Party Driver Library for NXT and EV3
  • Updated Text Based Natural Language for NXT
  • Tons and Tons of Bug Fixes and Enhancements!

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.23.09

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.37.14

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.25.23_____________________________________________________________________________

ROBOTC 4.25 -> 4.26 Change Log

  • Major Bug Fixes
    • Fixed Encoder Count Issue with VEX IQ Virtual Worlds – Encoders were not properly adjusting to the 360 count scale and may have caused issues when trying to use multiple “setMotorTarget/moveMotorTarget” commands.
    • Fixed Virtual Worlds for VEX Cortex platform – crashes when trying to download to Virtual Worlds with VEX Cortex platform are now resolved.
  • VEX IQ
    • Support for VEX IQ Brain Firmware Version 1.12
    • Increase timeout (4 seconds -> 10 seconds) for downloading over wireless for VEX IQ.
    • New VEX IQ Clawbot image for Standard Models
    • New Dialog Message for successful VEX IQ Firmware Downloading
  • VEX Cortex
    • Implemented fix for dual platform users who may experience compiler errors due to “External Motors/Servo Controllers” flag being enabled.
    • Check that a valid team number has been set for VEX Cortex Controller. The check is made during user program download when the download type has been set to “Competition”. Teams should set their VEX Team Number to assist with debugging at competition while using VEXNet 2.0 (white) radios.
  • LEGO EV3
    • Adjust EV3 Standard Model – Motor ports were reversed (left vs right)
    • Adjusted all EV3 Graphical Sample Program to reflect new “standard model”
    • Support for draw picture (BMP) file on LCD screen. Does not support general BMP files, but rather LEGO specific picture files.
    • Fixed an issue where the EV3 “Reset Gyro” command was not properly resetting the Gyro value.
    • “getBatteryCurrent” command has been fixed.
    • Improved usage of Casper’s “search for devices” so that USB connected EV3 that are disconnected during a ROBOTC session are better handled.
    • Crashes to ROBOTC after closing the IDE Editor after communicating with an EV3 have been resolved.
  • Virtual Worlds
    • Additional Logic to have “TETRIX” based Virtual Worlds appear if the “External Motor/Servo Controller” flag is toggled. Currently they do not appear under any condition.
    • Fixed bug hiding “Joystick Control – Basic” for Virtual Worlds users.
  • Graphical Interface
    • Prevent ‘text’ and ‘graphical’ menus from becoming undocked from the ROBOTC interface – doing so may cause the main ROBOTC interface to become unresponsive.
    • Fixed bug where empty parameter values were using the last provided string as opposed to overwriting with “Blank” values – applies for the “MultipleMotor” Graphical commands.
  • ROBOTC IDE / General
    • Text-Based Function Library will no longer show commands that have been deemed “deprecated”
    • Update “Errors” to “Compiler Errors” based on user’s feedback.
    • Change compiler “error” to “warning” for assignment of a pointer value to an int without use of a cast.
    • Compiler was incorrectly allocating temporary variables during evaluation of “&(NULL)” types of expressions. Fixed.
    • Updated Help documentation files.

Download ROBOTC 4.26 here! And ensure that your devices are up to date by following the instruction in our last post. 

As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact at support@robotc.net or visit our forums! Happy programming!!

Written by Cara Friez

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:07 am

Exciting New ROBOTC Update Available Today!

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ROBOTC4-25

We’re excited to release our latest update, ROBOTC 4.25!!  We are calling this our “Release Preview”, because we are still in development for the full version, which will be released by the end of the month. This release is stable and we encourage all our ROBOTC users to try it out. If you run into any major issues, let us know in the forums. This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems.

Some of these new updates include …

  • Full EV3 Functionality (Sounds, LCD, LEDs, Sensors, Motors)
  • Graphical Language for all platforms (VEX IQ, VEX Cortex – LEGO NXT, LEGO EV3)
  • Updated 3rd Party Driver Library for NXT and EV3
  • Updated Text Based Natural Language for NXT
  • Tons and Tons of Bug Fixes and Enhancements!

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.23.09

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.37.14

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.25.23

_____________________________________________________________________________

Before you can use ROBOTC 4.25, you will need to ensure that your devices are up to date. The instructions to update your hardware will be different depending on what hardware setup you may have…

LEGO NXT Users

  • Simply update to the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

LEGO EV3 Users

  • Update your LEGO EV3′s Firmware/Kernel by connecting your EV3 and select “Download EV3 Linux Kernel” from inside of ROBOTC – This process will take about 5 minutes and will allow your EV3 to communicate with both ROBOTC and the EV3 Icon-Based programming language. After updating your EV3′S Linux Kernel, you’ll be able to install the ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX IQ Users

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.10. You will also need to update your VEX IQ Wireless Controller by attaching it to your VEX IQ Brain using the tether cable. You will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX Cortex Users (with Black VEXnet 1.0 Keys)

  • You will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

VEX Cortex Users (with White VEXnet 2.0 Keys)

  • The new VEXnet 2.0 keys have a specific “radio firmware” that you will need to upgrade to enable “Download and Debugging” support. You can find the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” utility here.
  • Link: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/index.php/Software_Downloads
  • Download the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” and insert your VEXnet 2.0 key to any free USB port on your computer. Follow the instructions on the utility to update each key individually. All VEXnet 2.0 keys must be running the same version in order to function properly.
  • After updating your VEXnet 2.0 keys, you will need to update your VEX Cortex and VEX Game Controllers with version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

_____________________________________________________________________________

And finally, the very LONG Change Log for 4.25:

  • Cortex: Added servo motor commands to Cortex for Virtual Worlds.
  • Cortex: Added potentiometer commands to Cortex for Virtual Worlds.
  • Cortex: Add Timers and Clear Timers to Graphical for Cortex.
  • IDE: Spurious “rbg” file extension may have been added when saving a text file created from converting a graphics file. Fixed.
  • EV3: Update the routine that checks for “valid syntax of NXT on-brick file” for EV3. EV3 has different rules for file names than NXT.
  • VEX IQ: Added sound commands to Natural Language for VEX IQ – modified the playNote command to use typedefs to make it easier for natural language users.
  • Compiler: When substituting symbol names that match except with different letter case do a better job of handling the case when multiple symbols might possibly fit.
  • EV3: Support for standard ROBOTC “playTone” file with EV3.
  • Updated IDE Version (4.25)
  • Updated Firmware Version (10.25)
  • IDE: New Help System Engine + Content Files (replaces CHM)
  • Debugger: Fixed issue where VEX IQ motor debugger window was displaying “raw” encoder counts instead of “scaled” encoder counts.
  • Virtual Worlds: Adjust “no echo” value for VEX IQ in Emulator/Virtual Worlds
  • IDE: Default directory has been adjusted to be “my documents” instead of the root ROBOTC directory for saving un-saved files.
  • Compiler: Format code “%f” was broken in implementation when a number of decimal specifier wasn’t provided. Fixed.
  • Natural Language: Updated Natural Language Libraries to include “debugging” to LCD commands.
  • GUI: Updated Desktop/Start Icons for Graphical
  • Debugger: Sensor window had some “artifacts” when the number of display rows was larger than the number of active sensors. Fixed so that artifacts are now blank lines.
  • Compiler: Fixed compiler bug. Conversion of ‘float’ constant expressions to ‘long’ constant value was incorrect. End result of bug was that most likely value assigned was zero.
  • EV3: Added resources to the firmware image with sounds and images in /home/root/lms2012/resources/
  • EV3: EV3 firmware from LEGO does not properly handle the use of ‘.’ in the middle of filenames. Replace the ‘.’ with ‘_’.
  • Compiler: Fixed issue with rand() – Compiler was incorrectly optimizing get/set property opcodes to a one-byte index value with constant parameters. Almost all properties only need one byte with exception of “propertyRandom” which was behaving incorrectly as a result of this bug.
  • Graphical: Support for “compiler error” display for graphical files including using “graphical block numbers” rather than “text line index” for error display.
  • Graphical: Tweaked graphical loop block colors.
  • VEX IQ: Allow the debugger to display information based on the global motor encoder units instead of raw counts for VEX IQ
  • Cortex: Updated VEX Cortex IME Support to reflect new motor type (393 with Turbo Gears). Also removed some inconsistencies in the software as well.
  • EV3: When USB connected EV3 is disconnected then ROBOTC would not reconnect to it when reconnected until ROBOTC application was existed and re-entered. The problem was ROBOTC was using a “old” list of “discovered devices”. Now discards list of devices and rescans — when connecting via USB only — and problem is resolved.
  • EV3: Support for EV3 text drawing to screen.
  • EV3: Breakpoints now working for EV3.
  • EV3: Add support for “EV3 Remote Screen” as part of the Debugger.
  • Compiler: Improved implementation of compiler parse for ‘typedef enum” and “typedef struct”. Implementation is now closer to standard “C” with better handling for “anonymous” typedefs. Does not break any sample programs.
  • IDE: “Open Include File” command in source file context menu was broken; fixed. “Go to symbol definition” context menu command now filters out macro parameters and procedure variables.
  • NXT: Fixed issue where “simple” game controller data wasn’t appearing in available debugger windows
  • Graphical: Graphic trash can implementation. You can drag selection to the trash can to delete blocks.
  • NXT/EV3: Fix spurious generation of “#pragma config” for PID settings that are all set to 0xFF values.
  • Graphical: Syntax checking on graphical files. Some errors are now flagged.
  • Graphical: Implement “Comment” block for Graphical views including edit capability.
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 IR Sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Bumper/Touch Sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Color sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Gyro sensor
  • EV3: New Commands for EV3 Touch Sensor
  • Graphical: “>” and “<” comparison operators were swapping when saving a graphical file. Fixed.
  • IDE: When a new source file is opened (or a template file) do not initially set the “modified” flag in the file. Only set the modified flag after end user has modified the file.
  • IDE: Avoid double “Save File” prompt when compiling a file and on the first SAVE prompt you click cancel.
  • EV3 Kernel: Image of latest build – version 1.06X and all the I2C enhancements.
  • EV3: IDE “File Management” window for EV3 was often crashing; fixed a buffer read overflow situation which clears this up. Better text error message when there is not enough free flash memory to write a new file to the EV3.
  • IDE: Disable “error” message box when pulling USB cable from robot brain (and the debugger shuts down).
  • VEX IQ: Visual Error handling for Debugger Exceptions (Wrong Motor/Sensors/etc)
  • VEX IQ: Updated GUI Text: When a ROBOTC AUTO program had previously ran, and then a user was trying to access a TeleOp program, they would be greeted with a “No Radio Needed…” message box. Updated the text to reflect that if they’re seeing a message they probably need a remote control, because this string is never presented to the user for more than a split second in Auto mode.
  • IDE: Fixed issue with “Sensors” debugger window not being able to be edited.
  • VEX IQ: fixed Issue with VEX IQ Color Sensor – Hue values were being scaled improperly.
  • Graphical: Reduce flicker on graphical view when dragging blocks.
  • Graphical: Added registry options to adjust the appearance of graphical programs. Includes show/hide {}. Show/hide semi-colons. Optional “end” text on end block. Etc.
  • Robot Virtual Worlds / VEX IQ: Invert the proximity value provided by the vex color sensor to align with real hardware.
  • IDE: Add support to “Motors and Sensors Setup” to store drive side — left/right/none — for each motor. Graphical Movement Commands will now use this data to decide what motors to drive
  • Graphical: Adjust width of graphic programming blocks based on contents of edit controls and width of drop down menu items.
  • Graphical: Added EV3, VEX Cortex and NXT as “Graphical Language” platforms.
  • Bug: Large ICON toolbar was not getting built when IDE is opened unless it was “opening last file”. Changed data table to ensure that it is initially built.
  • IDE: Added ability for “Macro” commands to Compile/Download/Launch Graphical Files when special flags are stored inside of the .RGB files.
  • Graphical: VEX IQ Motors and Sensors now support dynamic menus based on Motors and Sensor Setup Data

_____________________________________________________________________________

Download ROBOTC 4.25 here!

As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact at support@robotc.net or visit our forums! Happy programming!!

Written by Cara Friez

August 15th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Recent Article about ROBOTC in China Daily Europe!

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China ROBOTC 006

Terry Sy (second right), executive director of China RobotC, and his team members show their works at the China International Robot Show. Chen Yingqun / China Daily

China Daily Europe recently interviewed Terry Sy, executive director of China ROBOTC, about robotics education. Check out the article below!

Repost from China Daily Europe

They are here to teach, not to steal your job

Education using robots promotes employment, says licensee for top US training system

The widely held belief that robots cost jobs is a fallacy, a robotics expert says.

Terry Sy, executive director of China ROBOTC, the only organization authorized in China to promote what is considered one of the world’s premier robotics education systems, says: “Many parents have asked me about the future of robots. I tell them that if they want their children never to face unemployment, let them do something related to robots.”

ROBOTC was developed at the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, the global research university, based in Pittsburgh.

It supports several different robotics platforms and features a variety of functions, including tips and tools for educators and parents on using robotics to teach children about math, science, engineering and physics.

Sy established China ROBOTC in Xi’an, northwestern China, which is considered the center of China’s aerospace, controls and automation market – the perfect location, arguably, to attract the kind of modern young minds who might consider a career in robotics.

“The people who make, apply and repair robots and who teach about robots will always be needed in future.”

Speaking at the recent China International Robot Show in Shanghai, Sy said he felt strongly that Carnegie Mellon’s programs and systems will be a huge benefit to the teaching of robotics in China, and will help narrow the knowledge gap that exists between Chinese and Western students.

The ROBOTC programming language has already been translated into 15 languages and used in more than 40 countries.

In the US alone, more than 300 colleges and 10,000 primary and secondary schools are using its curriculum, Sy says.

ROBOTC is a programming language that uses what is considered an easy-to-use development environment that supports several of the simplest and most commonly used different robotics platforms, including LEGO, VEX PIC, Cortex and Arduino.

It contains firmware that boosts performance and greatly improves program download times, its developers say.

It also features an interactive, run-time debugger, which helps developers find and fix bugs in programs, allowing them to view and edit all of the values that the robot sees – motors, timers, sensors and variables – and quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot problems in programs, greatly reducing the time it takes to develop a program.

“It is easy enough for primary students to learn, but also satisfies the needs of programming experts,” Sy says.

He had the idea of bringing the system to China in 2012, when he was in Beijing attending a national seminar on physical robots, on behalf of the Carnegie Robotics Academy.

At least 20 Chinese universities were at the event, and he found that many wanted to set up robot courses, but did not have qualified teachers, professional textbooks or robot platforms, let alone know how to run courses.

“Chinese students are very good at showing off innovative technologies in competitions, but China doesn’t have a good robot education system,” he says.

He adds the biggest defect in China’s robot education system, however, is that students are not taught how to program and just use existing written codes, which are not enough to develop their own talent further, so he decided to bring ROBOTC to China.

“ROBOTC language can support the world’s biggest robot platforms. It can help children become more innovative, and college students and workers gain more technical skills,” he says.

He chose Xi’an as it was less expensive and crowded than Beijing or Shanghai, but also because the region boasts about 60 universities.

He is now looking for a subsidiary in Shanghai, and more outlets are planned in other cities.

His plan is to increase collaboration with universities and schools by setting up robots in college laboratories.

So far two universities and several primary schools have adopted the system, and the goal is to bring it to 100 colleges, 100 middle schools and 100 primary schools, providing specialist robot training for teachers and technicians.

It is planned to offer training online, so the language can also be brought to people in remote villages or locations that do not have the resources to support robot education.

Sy is confident that despite robots still being a novelty to many in China, their use is set to grow fast.

In 2011, US President Barack Obama decided to give greater priority to the use of robotics in teaching the vital fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and Sy believes it is now important for China to move in that direction.

“That is why we want to bring this kind of robot education to as many parts of China as we can, to make it part of the Chinese education system. This training will definitely help people become more logical and confident.”

chenyingqun@chinadaily.com.cn

Repost from China Daily Europe

Written by Cara Friez

August 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am

A Teacher’s POV: One Teacher’s Experience at our Training…

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Anna Lynn Martino attended one of our Professional Development classes recently and wrote a wonderful blog about her experience. Check it out below …

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Reblogged – “Robots Oh My!” from (link temporarily unavailable)

tumblr_naeo774qXJ1s7elx7o1_500

Last week I attended another teacher training at CMU’s Robotics Academy. My goals this year was to be more comfortable working with ROBOTC, which is the programming language that my FTC robotics team uses. Also, I am teaching/mentoring/moderating our robotics class in the fall. As a middle school with a programming class, I thought my students would be better served by teaching them robotC but also I thought it would be great to have them also prepped for the team if they are interested in becoming part of the team.

Above is a collage showing the ROBOTC graphical interface, some “regular” ROBOTC, and a Tetrix bot.

Again, it was a really great workshop and I learned a lot! It is crazy. I have been teaching Scratch and this summer I introduced kids to Python and some basic programming in Arduino and I was struggling with explaining variables and functions. I got the basics but I had a hard time explaining it because I do not have a Comp Sci background but this time, I totally understood how variables and functions operating within a programming language. Tim Friez, our instructor, was really amazing and his style of teaching was perfect. I think, that his style is what a lot of teachers are starting to go for – in the parlance of our field – student-driven/centered.

We also had a teacher, who works on curriculum development at the center, come in and give us tips and hints about teaching robotics. It was practical advice and just giving us tips on what to be aware of. Also, in order to have a class, there is a fair amount of start-up costs.

What you need:

  • The Robot kits (you might want different types)
  • Fields (for kids to do their challenges on)
  • license for the programming language
  • license for the curriculum
  • remote controls
  • wifi/bluetooth adapters
  • challenge elements (blocks, balls, cut pvc pipes, folders or books for walls
  • colored electrical tape
  • computers
  • expansion kits if you have advanced students (which you will probably have)

I also met some really amazing people and it was great hearing what their challenges are and how they dealt with them. Most of us were just “regular teachers” which also made the prospect of having a robotics class less daunting.

I am again super excited about it but I also realize that I need to recharge. I am taking the next few weeks to do that before orientation week. I worked all of June and July. I do not want to go back feeling like I did not have this time to process all that I did this summer and last year.

If anyone is thinking about teaching robotics, I would highly highly recommend the CMU Robotics Academy. They offer online and campus workshops in the summer. They are going to have webinar soon about EV3 and ROBOTC.

Follow them on Twitter @ROBOTC or subscribe to their blog

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Thank you, Anna for the great blog post! To read more from here blog, visit her at (link temporarily unavailable)!

Written by Cara Friez

August 7th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Gear Up with FTC: ROBOTC Presentation

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FTCFIRST TECH Challenge invited us to participate in their Summer Conference this week! Tim Friez, Senior Software Engineer, shared some advanced concepts in using ROBOTC such as understanding more about the Debugger, using 3rd Party Sensors, and coding practices to make your team more efficient and productive to develop reliable competition code. Check out the video below featuring his full presentation …

 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

July 25th, 2014 at 7:30 am

Cool Project: Room Explorer Bot with Mapping Functions

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ROBOTC user, Sigtrygg (forum name), recently shared a project on the ROBOTC forums that they have been working on called the NXT Room Explorer Bot with Mapping Functions. Check out the YouTube video of the robot in action …
 


Sigtrygg description and breakdown of the bot …
 

The robot is based upon a standard REM-Bot but in addition equipped with a HiTechnic gyro, HiTechnic compass sensor and an omni-wheel. First the robot moves about 360° to calibrate the compass using the gyro (thank you to Xander Soldaat for code!). Then the robot moves its sonar-head to the right, to the left and in front position to get the distances according to its position. After doing this it turns around to the wall with the minimum distance and drives in front of it until sonar sensor detected a minimum sensor distance, e.g. 20cm. Then the robot turns parallel to the wall, moves his sonar-head to the right detecting the distance to the wall and drives counter clockwise parallel to the wall balancing distance. A mapping-task records the compass and odometry data every second and calculate the polar coordinates to cartesian coordinates (x,y). The coordinates are written as “map.txt”-file. So you can use Excel or an other program to draw the path which the robot had moved. In addition to that you can follow the path at the NXT-LCD-screen. I had to choose a scale for it, so you have to suit the scale to your room size. If the robots touch sensor has detected an obstacle the robot moves back and turn left for 90 degrees and continuous his explorer-duty always running counter clockwise with wall to the right. How to expect the end of path doesn’t suit exactly to the beginning because of inaccuracies of compass and odometry measures.

CIMG3122

Construction of the robot. The upper sensor is the compass sensor.

CIMG3125

Construction of the robot. The upper sensor is the compass sensor.

Screenshot

Screenshot of Excel data-sheet

LCD Screenshot

LCD Screenshot

To read more about this project, check out the ROBOTC Forum post here!

Written by Cara Friez

July 18th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Huffington Post Article Features CMU’s Robotics Academy!

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huffpost_3lineAn article titled, “Robots Are Everywhere! Learning About Technology From Robotics” was recently published on the Huffington Post website featuring the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy! The author, Dr. Julie Dobrow from Tufts University, reached out to some of the staff at the Robotics Academy to get their take on robotics in the classroom. Here are some excerpts from the article …

 

 

The “Robotics Academy” at Carnegie Mellon University features a variety of tips for educators and parents on using robotics to teach kids about math, science, engineering and physics. Their extremely well-organized website offers curricular information, products and support to demonstrate ways to use both VEX systems (essentially a kit with all the component parts that enables kids to build a robot) and LEGOs to teach many STEM principles. All of their work and products are based on extensive research.

Robin Shoop, Director of the CMU Robotics Academy, believes that some of the work they are doing at CMU can make learning come alive. “Robots provide the hook that can be used to excite students about STEM academic concepts. Robotics activities in and of themselves will not improve STEM academic performance, but if robotics technologies are introduced correctly, and the STEM academic concepts are properly foregrounded, then robotics provides an excellent organizer to teach kids about STEM.”

Ross Higashi, lead curriculum developer at CMU says, “It’s a common misconception that involving robots in a curriculum or afterschool program makes STEM magic happen. That’s simply not true… Robotics presents a wealth of opportunities to teach meaningful content. But doing that, it’s not trivial. It’s hard work. You need well-targeted lessons, and you need a teacher who can support students who are learning by doing. In the end, though, as many students and teachers will tell you: it’s absolutely worth it, and the hardest fun they’ve ever had.”

And kids do have fun. And not only kids. Jason McKenna, a K-8 teacher in the Hopewell(PA) Area School District who works with the CMU Robotics Academy points out that it’s the combination of high engagement, the ability to teach each student at his or her instructional level and provide opportunities for differentiated engagement “that makes Robotics such fun for me as a teacher.”

 
You can read the entire article here.

Written by Cara Friez

July 11th, 2014 at 7:30 am