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ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.56 Available for Download!

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ROBOTC 4-56 VEX
 

The ROBOTC Development Team is excited to make our latest update available to you, ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.56. This is primarily a maintenance release which contains many stability fixes. Keep reading for a full list of changes and improvements below.

Updates for all robot platforms:

  • When saving a C source file, you can now opt to keep a backup of the previous version of the file. This behavior can be enabled through the preferences.Sourcefile Backup
  • Under certain conditions, semaphores could be given to a task that had not unlocked it. This has been corrected.
  • Previously, the compiler would count both prototypes and actual function implementations separately, reducing the number of functions available to you. This has been corrected.

Updates specific to VEX IQ:

  • The display would incorrectly show that it the debugger was being used, when disconnected from the PC.
  • There was a mismatch between the amount of available variable memory. This could lead to unpredictable results due to stack corruption with very large programs. The amount has been corrected. Most users will be unaffected by this change. Users with programs that use a large amount of variables, should verify their programs still compile.
  • Support for future VEX IQ firmware changes.

Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.56 today and let us know what you think of the improvements!

Written by Jesse Flot

August 16th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.54 Today!

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Blog ROBOTC VEX
The ROBOTC Development Team is excited to share our latest official update with you, ROBOTC 4.54, which includes new features, functionality, and bug fixes. A full list of changes and improvements appear below (including an awesome sale for 3.x users), but here are the highlights:

Create Graphs from your Datalogs

 

Datalog Graph
 

Want to know what running your robot into a wall looks like to your accelerometer? Curious about how ambient light intensity varies throughout the day? Datalogging now supports (live) plotting of incoming data gathered on the robot brain. Science experiments involving sensor and motor data can be displayed. You can easily find out by gathering the data and having ROBOTC plot the data for you, as it comes in.

 

Datalog Graphical
Datalogging is no longer restricted to just Full ROBOTC, we’ve added easy to use blocks that allow you to access the same functionality in a simple manner.

Additionally, logged data can even be exported for further analysis in a spreadsheet application of your choice.

ROBOTC Graphical Variable Support

 

Variable Support
You can now use variables in ROBOTC Graphical, as well as perform various operations on them. You can add, subtract, divide, multiple, whatever your program requires. You can use variables in loops, motor blocks, you name it!

ROBOTC Graphical Break and Continue

 

Continue Break
We’ve added two new program flow blocks, break and continue. This was a much requested feature from our more advanced users of ROBOTC Graphical. You can now create more complex programs without creating work-arounds or having to switch to ROBOTC Full.

Beta Channel Access

 

Use Beta Builds
Want to have a front row seat when it comes to upcoming features in ROBOTC? Subscribe to the beta channel through ROBOTC’s preference menu and you will be notified when a preview build (such as this one), is released. Try out new and exciting features before we release them to the general public and provide us with feedback. Help make ROBOTC better!

Support for VEXos Utility for VEX IQ

VEXos
VEXos is a robotics operating system that harnesses the flexibility and power of VEX hardware for the rigors of competition and the diverse needs of education. This operating system, written completely by VEX Robotics, uses real-time processing for repeatable operation at the fastest possible speeds. The “VEXos Utility” program simplifies updating VEX IQ hardware, and is compatible with Windows 7-10, and Mac OS X 10.8 and greater. Find out more about VEXos here!

 

Other changes and bug fixes

New features – VEX

  • Compatible with the VEXos Utility for VEX IQ
  • You can control an LED on the VEX EDR from Graphical and Natural Language using the new setLED block or command.

Changes and Improvements – General

  • The default colors in the Assembly window (F9) have new defaults for increased readability.
  • Function tooltips have been revised and corrected where applicable.
  • License error messages have been improved. A short explanation of the error codes is now provided.
  • #info has been added to the list of support #pragma statements, such as #error and #warn
  • The start and stop buttons on the datalogging control have been merged into a single button.
  • Deleting a file from the File Utility was not possible, this has been fixed.
  • We’ve made some visual changes to ROBOTC Graphical including new colours for enhanced readability.
  • Internal improvements to the datalogging system have been made that resolve possible data corruption and inability to disable polling for a specific data series.
  • Saving a New User Model in the Motors and Sensor Setup has been fixed.
  • Various float conversion related issues have been fixed.
  • NaN (Not a Number) detection has been fixed.
  • Sscanf with more than 7 arguments could crash the VM, this has been fixed.
  • Overloaded deprecated function no longer cause warnings.
  • A discrepancy between the compiler and VM regarding the maximum number of tasks has been fixed.
  • An issue with ROBOTC crashing due to a recursive macro has been addressed.
  • The RVW package manager now shows the correct informational icon.
  • Opening the RVW package manager no longer causes an exception under certain circumstances.
  • An issue with the debugStream window background refresh causing a hang when communications with the robot was lost, has been remedied.
  • The Program Debug window no longer crops the status line.
  • You can now use displayInverseString() in combination with a char *.
  • drawInvertRect and drawInvertEllipse were not deprecated correctly, this has been fixed.

Changes and Improvements – VEX

  • The VexIQ LCD screen has been added to the #debuggerWindows #pragma.
  • A bug in the macro parser prevented the use of the VEX EDR platform when a PLTW license was active. This has been fixed.
  • An issue with debugging and using sscanf on the VEX IQ has been addressed.
  • VEX IQ getGyroRate and getGyroRateFloat return incorrect values, this has been fixed.
  • Starting a new task on the VEX EDR no longer clears the screen.
  • Using drawTextCenteredInUserScreenArea function will no longer throw an exception on the VEX IQ.
  • An issue with the start of flash file system not showing correctly in communication debug message has been fixed.
  • The VEX EDR competition template now sets the platform correctly.

Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.54 here!

And let us know what you think of the new updates.

 

And are you still using ROBOTC 3.x?
If so, you can upgrade today for 50% off!

 

Upgrade ROBOTC (1)
 

Email customerservice@robomatter.com to upgrade your license today! (Note: You must provide your existing ROBOTC LicenseID to confirm eligibility.)

Happy Programming!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

August 1st, 2016 at 6:00 am

Summer STEM Activities and Resources

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Summer STEM

 

Summer is here, and it’s a great time to take on some new and interesting STEM activities that are both educational and fun. There are a lot of STEM resources on the web, but here’s a quick summary of a few that we think are worth checking out:

 

  • SOL2016Carnegie Mellon CS-STEM Network Summer of Learning: The CS-STEM Summer of Learning program is an online outreach research project run by the Carnegie Mellon CS-STEM Network and University of Pittsburgh Learning and Research Development Center, in partnership with Robomatter, Inc. The program seeks to improve student preparedness in areas related to Computer Science, Computational Thinking, Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics. Sign up today!

 

  • Makey Makey: MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. By allowing you to turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet, beginners and experts to invent all sorts of things like, you know, a banana piano.

 

  • efk-logoEngineering For Kids: Engineering For Kids (EFK) brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), to kids ages 4 to 14 in a fun and challenging way through classes, camps, clubs, and parties. With 145 locations around the world, it’s easy to find an EFK location near you!

 
 

  • Squishy Circuits: The goal of Squishy Circuits is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough. The site guides you through creating conductive dough, creating insulating dough, and building some really cool circuits.

 

  • skew rev2 - CopyROBOTC Projects on Instructables: Instructables is a website specializing in user-created and uploaded do-it-yourself projects, which other users can comment on and rate for quality. Instructables has instructions for pretty much anything, but we’re sort of partial to the ROBOTC projects.

 

  • Expedition Atlantis iPad App: Playing Expedition Atlantis is a classroom-proven method to teach kids the math that they need to program their robots. Through its virtual robotics environment, Expedition Atlantis allows students to focus on learning mathematical strategies, without having to worry about the nuances of programming, like syntax and debugging. And, it’s available in an iPad App!

 

 

 

If you have a cool robotics or computer science project that you’re working on this summer, let us know! We’d love to feature you and your project in our Cool Projects blog. Drop us a line at: SocialMedia@robomatter.com.

Congrats to our VEX Virtual Programming Challenge Winners!

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Virtual Winners

We are very excited to officially announce the winners of our VEX Virtual Programming Skills Challenge for both VEX EDR and VEX IQ! Winners of each competition received an invitation for their team to the VEX World Championship — April 20-23, 2016 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

VEX EDR Winner: Friarbots B (Team # 3309B) from Anaheim, CA. The team member who received the high score was Matthew Krager.

Frairbots

VEX IQ Winner: Flash Robotics (Team # 5194a) from London, England. The team member who received the high score was Dominic Vald.

Flash Robotics

We’d also like to congrats the VEX EDR runner-up who will be attending VEX Worlds with the challenge invite, since Friarbots qualified for Worlds at their local competition. VEX EDR Runner-Up: Univ. Tec. de Altamira (Team # TAL2), from Alltarmira, Mexico. The team member who received the high score was Victor Francisco Chavez Bermudez

We look forward to seeing all them at VEX Worlds in a couple weeks!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

April 7th, 2016 at 6:15 am

Explore National Robotics Week with Robot Virtual Worlds

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nationalroboticsweek_twitter

 
To help celebrate National Robotics Week, we’ve created a FREE, online version of our Robot Virtual Worlds software, which you can use in your classroom to teach students about robotics and introductory programming concepts.

For the week of April 4th (and the rest of April!) we’ve opened up a free, online version of our Ruins of Atlantis Robot Virtual World, as well as a number of other Robot Virtual World challenges.

 

We thought Atlantis was a myth. We were wrong.

 
ruins of atlantis screenshot with controlsExplore the Ruins of Atlantis, 6,000 meters below the surface of the ocean, collecting data and treasure as you do!

Ruins of Atlantis is one of our Robot Virtual Worlds, themed in a fantasy, underwater environment. It’s designed to teach and reinforce behavior-based programming in a fun and meaningful way. While immersed in a scaffolded programming environment, students practice robot programming, using a full set of virtual motors and sensors on exciting new robots, 6000 meters below the surface of the ocean.

The level design of Ruins of Atlantis features a path that includes collectible objects and additional starting points, making it ideal for teaching introductory programming concepts such as path planning and encoder based movements. Even though the robots in Atlantis do not resemble the real classroom robots, students can use the same programming languages (EV3, NXT-G, ROBOTC, etc.) to control them.

Visit our National Robotics Week website to get started!

 

More Robotics Fun!

 
In addition to Ruins of Atlantis, you can also access free, online versions of the following Robot Virtual Worlds Challenges:

  • Maze Challenge: This challenge features a sequence of turns that the robot must perform in order to get to the “end” of the maze. The robot must first begin at the starting point, and get to the goal area by completing turning and forward movement behaviors.
     
    maze challenge
  • Basic Movement 1 Programming: In this challenge, you will program your robot to pick up the three green cubes on the far side of the field and drop them into the green goal on the near side of the field, one at a time.
     
    basic movement 1
  • Basic Movement 2 Programming: In this challenge, you will program your robot to pick up one red cube, navigate to the red goal without bumping any of the walls, and drop the cube into the goal
     
    Basic movement 2

Visit our National Robotics Week website to learn more!

 

Robot Virtual Worlds + Research-Based Curriculum = Excellent STEM Education

 
STEMWith lots of research from the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy backing it up, Robot Virtual Worlds is a great tool to create a scaffold learning experience that teaches students important math, programming, proportional reasoning, and computational thinking skills. That’s we’ve built Robot Virtual Worlds into our STEM Curriculum.

Our curriculum does more than simply teach students basic facts and concepts. We teach students skills they need to be successful in the real world. Here are a few highlights:

  • Learner-centered instruction built on research that’s been proven in the real-world
  • Helps students develop 21st Century college and career readiness skills
  • Teaches important skills in foundational mathematics, engineering, programming, problem-solving, creative thinking, and computational thinking
  • Designed to provide structured problem-based learning that:
    • Provides guidance to both students and teachers
    • Scaffolds difficult concepts and complex tasks
    • Schedules class time closely so that no class time is wasted
    • Requires students to generalize their understanding and apply learning across contexts

To learn more about our curriculum, visit our website or send us an email at STEMSolutions@robomatter.com.

Written by LeeAnn Baronett

April 4th, 2016 at 6:00 am

Winners of our Virtual World Challenge – Validation Needed!

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splash-image_RECF1

We are excited to say we have our winners in our Robot Virtual Worlds VEX Challenge! However, we are waiting for final validation from teams. If you participated in the challenge, please check your email as soon as possible so we can lock down your spot to VEX Worlds. We look forward to announcing the winners soon!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

March 9th, 2016 at 6:00 am

Cool Project: Tumblebug

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TumbleBugBlogDamien Kee, a VEX IQ and EV3 Super User, has created another cool project! This time he used one of his kids toys, the Tumble Bug Ball Drop, to test out how often the ball comes out of the left foot / right foot with a 50% probability. Damien says, “My boys got this toy for Christmas one year and I thought I’d put together a little device to check the probability of how it works. I used Ultrasonic Sensors with the EV3 and Colour Sensors (Proximity mode) with the IQ to keep track every time a ball went through the toy…. This would make a great experiment to run in class, not just with the Tumble Bug but all different types of kids toys.” We couldn’t agree more!

Damien used the VEX IQ and LEGO EV3 programmed in ROBOTC to run his tests. The programs figure out the percentage and display them on screen. Here is a full breakdown video of how the project was done …

 
 
 

 

Not only does this project allow for the practice of programming, but it gives the opportunity to assess variables when determining the results. Damien says: ”

What I love about doing these sort of extended investigations in class, is that rather than being a final conclusion, this now opens up a huge range of other questions and scenarios that you can test.

  • Why was there a difference?
  • Was the table level?
  • Do the different balls have an impact?
  • Does the placement speed in the mouth affect the results?”

Want to try it out yourself? Here are the code files Damien used:
EV3 RobotC –  EV3_tumblrbug.c
VEX IQ RobotC –  tumblrbug_VEX.c

To see the full hardware setup and find out the final results, check out his full blog here – Testing the Tumblebug (EV3 and VEX IQ)

 

Do you have a cool ROBOTC project you want to share with the world? If so, send us an email at socialmedia@robomatter.com and we’ll post it on our blog and social media pages!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

March 2nd, 2016 at 6:00 am

Latest High Scores for our VEX Virtual Programming Skills Challenges!

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Updated Scores Can Be Found Here!

As some of you may know, we along with VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation have an exciting competition going on right now with the VEX and VEX IQ Programming Skills Challenges for Robot Virtual Worlds. This competition offers a low cost, high quality virtual competitions that enable students to test their problem solving and programming skills in the VEX Nothing But Net and VEX IQ Bank Shot Robot Virtual World Competitions. And, not only do these virtual competitions provide a great learning experience, the winner of each competition will receive an invitation to the VEX World Championship — April 20-23, 2016 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky!

The competition kicked off a few months ago, and it is time to share our latest high scores …

VEX Scores Together

You still have one more month to compete and try to beat these high scores for a chance to qualify for VEX Worlds! Think you can do it? Learn more here robotc.net/recf and visit www.cs2n.org/competitions to sign up!

Important Deadlines:

  • Submissions for both contests are due by March 1, 2016.
  • Winners will be announced on March 11, 2016!

And remember, you must submit both your score and code through CS2N.org to officially register for the competition.

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

February 1st, 2016 at 12:32 pm

PLTW Upgrade Pack – Now only $199!

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PLTW

The School Year is Well Under Way, But There’s Still Plenty of Time to Make the Most of Your Classroom with the PLTW Upgrade Pack. Now on sale for $199!

When you purchase the PLTW Upgrade Pack, you’ll get:

  • Robot Virtual Worlds
  • Access to the Graphical Natural Language Programming Interface
  • The ability to program VEX IQ robots
  • Access for 100 seats for the rest of the school year

Learn more here!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

January 12th, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Download Today – ROBOTC 4.52 for VEX Robotics!

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ROBOTC 4-52 VEX

The ROBOTC Development Team is very happy to announce the official release of ROBOTC 4.52. This update is for the VEX Robotics (VEX EDR CORTEX and VEX IQ) physical and virtual robotics systems and includes new features, improvements, and a load of bug fixes.

Click here to download 4.52!

Important Setup Information for ROBOTC 4.52:

VEX IQ Users:

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.15.
  • Also update your VEX IQ Wireless Controller and any other VEX IQ Devices (sensors, motors).
  • After updating to the latest VEX IQ Brain firmware, 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 Master Firmware Version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC.
  • After updating the master firmware, you will also have to update the VEX Cortex with the latest ROBOTC firmware.

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 download the VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility here.
    • 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 Master Firmware Version 4.25 from inside of ROBOTC.
  • After updating the master firmware, you will also have to update the VEX Cortex with the latest ROBOTC firmware.

ROBOTC 4.50 —> 4.51 —> 4.52 Change Log:

New Features and Improvements:

  • Added support for simple mathematical expressions in numerical text boxes in Graphical.
    Graphical_Math
  • Datalogging has been added for the VEX IQ platform.
  • Users can now log data from inside your program, with or without a timestamp.
    DataLogging4
  • Users can also configure motor, sensor and other values to be automatically polled at intervals as low as 10ms.
    DataLogging2
  • Users can view data in ROBOTC as it polled in and save to a .CSV file for additional analysis in a popular spreadsheet software.
    DataLogging3
  • You can use standard keyboard shortcuts to Select All, Copy, Cut and Paste in the Debugstream Window.
  • Natural Language Library Files have been enhanced for improved readability.
  • “Port with no Motor” has been added as an option for graphical blocks that use multiple motors – this will allow you to unselect a specific motor.
  • Graphical Copy and Paste has been improved to work better with comment blocks.
  • A flag (-SUPPRESS ) has been added to allow suppression of command line activation errors.
  • When compiling multiple files at once, the IDE will remain more responsive to user interaction.
  • A setMotorBrakeMode block has been added to Graphical, allowing motors to be set to either “float” or “brake”. This will allow motors to be setup as “free running”. This command can be found in “Expert” and above menu levels.
  • Additional programming samples have been added
  • User I2C commands for the Cortex has been implemented.
  • Users can now use custom I2C sensors within their programs – custom I2C commands are compatible with using the VEX Integrated Motor Encoders.
  • The list of loggable properties has been greatly trimmed down and sorted according to menu level. Static and irrelevant properties have been removed where appropriate.
  • Datalogging has been enabled for the VEX Cortex platform

General Bug Fixes:

  • ‘Trial’ indicator displays correctly, regardless of license combinations.
  • Missing function added to the Function Library descriptions
  • Fixed and improved “hover over” tool tip help descriptions inside of the Function Library.
  • Resolved issue where the bottom of the Graphical Library view would not be cleared properly when scrolling
  • Char arrays with “\0” are properly initialized.
  • Selection of options inside of a Graphical Block can be reverted by using “undo”.
  • Fix potential RVW file read issue from crashing ROBOTC.
  • Several float-related issues resolved:
    • Compiler incorrectly optimizes constant expressions with ‘float’ operands.
    • Formatted printing does not work with negative floats
  • Using nSemaphore.nOwningTask comparison no longer generates a compiler warning
  • Two enum issues related to overflowed values have been fixed.
  • Functions returning pointers no longer generate errors when used in Boolean logic expressions.
  • Values from arrays of pointers assigned to another pointer, no longer cause errors.
  • setMotorBrakeMode commands take immediate effect, rather than after the first motor speed command.
  • Closing a source file could cause am unhandled exception under certain conditions, this has been resolved.
  • Compiling multiple Graphical programs at once no longer generates an error that there is no code to compile.
  • Fixed an issue where the Global Variable Base Address was incorrectly displayed.
  • RVW Package Manager will only self-elevate if multiple level packs are being installed.
  • Numerous small visual enhancements and fixes.
  • Clearing a datalog series now clears the listbox properly.
  • The Datalog debug pane can now be opened in Basic menu level.
  • Changing Datalog source could lead to incorrect properties being shown, this has been fixed.
  • The UploadDatalog intrinsic is no longer exposed to the user.
  • Clicking download in the auto check for updates dialog did not work properly, this has been fixed.

VEX Bug Fixes: 

  • VEX IQ no longer crashes when using Ternary String Decisions
  • Users are now alerted when a VEX IQ program exceeds the max allowed compiled program file size.
  • Fixed issue where using playSoundFile on VEX cortex would generate a compiler error
  • Compile errors in sample programs for the VEX IQ Smart Radio messaging have been resolved.
  • Fixed an issue where a disconnected Ultrasonic Sensor was not returning -1 when disconnected from the VEX Cortex.
  • Motors dialog pane for VEX Cortex now shows default motor names, rather than port names.
  • An enum for the VEX IQ data path values instead of using raw numbers, has been added.
  • Prevent users from using sscanf with floats on the VEX IQ to avoid crashing the brain
  • Previously, setMotorTarget on the Cortex would not work correctly if the encoder had been reset to 0, this has been fixed.
  • On the Cortex, moveMotorTarget was not working as intended, this has been remedied.
  • Intrinsics to return the IME velocity values have been added.
  • IME velocity is now shown correctly in the motor debug window, for Cortex.
  • A bug with PID using Quad Encoders has been fixed.
  • bUseVexI2CEncoderVelocity has been obsoleted, it was not tied to any internal functionality.

Click here to download 4.52!

Happy Programming!

Written by Cara Friez-LeWinter

December 7th, 2015 at 6:35 am