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LEGO Online Training Starts Soon! Register Today!

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OnlineTraining.235000

Only two more weeks until our Fall LEGO online trainings start. Register for the LEGO TETRIX and/or the EV3 classes today! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation.

Benefits of our Online Training:
- Assisted training using provided hardware and software
- Screen sharing amongst the class
- Networking opportunities with other professional educators

 

EV3

EV3

 

FREE!! 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)
* Graduates Earn a Robotics Academy Certification!

 

 

REGISTER TODAY!!

 

Written by Cara Friez

October 2nd, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Mohave Robotics Kicking Off Their Season with ROBOTC Graphical

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20140218 iPhonePics 129The Mohave Robotics team (7681B) shared with us that their team voted to kick off their VEX IQ season using ROBOTC Graphical instead of the regular version they used last year. Per their teacher, Bert te Velde, “We wanted to get more people involved with programming and ROBOTC Graphical was the logical step to allow everyone on the team to get involved, no matter what their prior level of experience.”

In November 2013, Mohave Middle School sent four 7th graders to Scottsdale Community College for a three month course in full ROBOTC. The results were worth the effort, with Mohave winning the VEX IQ Programming Award at the VEX IQ Arizona State Championship in March 2014, and placing 14th at the VEX IQ World Championship in April 2014. “And they did that with a modified clawbot, one ball at a time!” exclaims Glenn Clevenger, one of the team’s mentors. “It’s hard to believe that they went from scoring 1 point at their first qualifying event in January to scoring 40 points at the VEX IQ World Championship in April. These kids are proof that ROBOTC is not too difficult for a 7th grader to handle.”

Blog Photo Robot Only

If you are wondering why Mohave is moving to ROBOTC Graphical, it’s because they plan to have their 8th graders teach all of the 6th and 7th graders that participate in VEX IQ how to program this year. The 8th graders decided it would be faster to get the new team members up to speed on the graphical version, without having to worry about syntax errors. And they can always convert their program to full ROBOTC if they need to later into the season.

Click here to learn more about ROBOTC Graphical!

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Robomatter Blog Ad VEX IQ

Written by Cara Friez

September 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am

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.

Robomatter Blog Ad RVW

Written by Cara Friez

September 15th, 2014 at 7:15 am

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

First ROBOTC VEX Training in Xi’an, China!

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Pic 00

The China ROBOTC team sent us some great photos from their very first VEX training in Xi’an, China. Check them out below from our Facebook Photo Album!
 

 
 
 

Written by Cara Friez

August 13th, 2014 at 8:11 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)

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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

Mentoring Program uses ROBOTC and VEX IQ to Teach STEM and Connect with Military Families

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Tyrrek Grizzle poses with a robot he constructed during the robotics summer camp. The camp is part of an ECU partnership that supports elementary and middle grades students from military families in eastern North Carolina. (Photos by Jay Clark)

Tyrrek Grizzle poses with a robot he constructed during the robotics summer camp. The camp is part of an ECU partnership that supports elementary and middle grades students from military families in eastern North Carolina. (Photos by Jay Clark)

We were delighted to hear about an inaugural weeklong robotics summer camp happening in North Carolina that is using ROBOTC, ROBOTC Graphical, and the VEX Robotics IQ system to help teach students STEM while keeping them connected to their military families. (One of the mentors was trained at the Robotics Academy last summer too!) Read the story and watch the video highlighting this program below!

Reblog from East Carolina University’s News Service

POSITIVE CONNECTIONS
ECU partners in Operation LINK mentoring program

Ten-year-old Tyrrek Grizzle took control of his paddle, maneuvering his miniature land mover with ease.

He and a teammate moved his robot across a grid and past an opponent to pick up as many green-colored blocks as possible and dump them in a coordinating green basket. The team that filled the basket with the most blocks in the three-minute competition won.

Grizzle attended an inaugural weeklong robotics summer camp through Operation LINK, an AmeriCorps school-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics mentoring program for elementary and middle grades students in eastern North Carolina. The STEM program, with a special emphasis on students from military families, will transition from an afterschool program to part of the regular school day this fall.

 


 

Offered this spring in Wayne County, the program aims to promote positive behaviors and success in school while keeping military youth connected to family. It’s a partnership between East Carolina University, AmeriCorps, military family support networks, veterans groups, community colleges and public schools.

The summer camp, held at Greenwood Middle School in Goldsboro, allowed students to make real robots from designs they developed in their afterschool program.

Counselors and campers used a box kit to construct a robot with up to 650 pieces. A software program (ROBOTC) developed at Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy gave the students the ability to control movements.

“We had fourth-graders writing code,” said Michael “Mike” Dermody, associate professor of cinematic arts and media production in the ECU School of Art. Dermody, who grew up in a military family, said “It’s amazing how quickly they adapt. It’s a very tactile and hands-on experience. They go in and test and modify it. There’s lots of activity between the computer itself and the robot.”

For Grizzle, a rising fifth-grader at Tommy’s Road Elementary School, taking his work from the computer lab to create a functioning robot is exciting. “Robots help you in a lot of ways,” said Grizzle. “They help us do things we can’t normally do ourselves.” Grizzle has cousins who serve in the military.

Amy Perry, left, watches as her daughter, Kayla Perry, works at the Operation LINK afterschool program held this spring in Goldsboro. Amy Perry is a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, where she inspects aircraft for defects at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Amy Perry, left, watches as her daughter, Kayla Perry, works at the Operation LINK afterschool program held this spring in Goldsboro. Amy Perry is a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, where she inspects aircraft for defects at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The pilot program will become part of the curriculum this fall at three Wayne County schools with a higher population of children from military families, said Lou U. Rose, Operation LINK coordinator in the ECU College of Education, which has facilitated the program.

“We will be able to impact more kids that way.”

Area teachers observed some of the program activities. “Some will do it as an elective in science and math classes,” Rose said.

“The beauty of this is they can tailor it and run with it and be creative. It brings relevancy in the real world, and maybe will get students interested in science.”

Michael Giddens, an AmeriCorps camp mentor who earned a teaching certificate in middle grades science and math from ECU in May, said students learned to collaborate and work as a team at the camp.

“The energy has been electrifying,” Giddens said. “Keeping them (students) engaged is a challenge in the classroom in the 21st century.”

One old-fashioned value students have learned has been patience, Giddens said, such as when broken robots have had to be re-assembled. Now poised to reach more students, the initial idea for the Operation LINK program was to create a way for military parents to interact with their children – via the web – while the parents were away from home. “It’s (been) a way to keep the child connected,” Dermody said.

USAF airman first class Eagan Nadeau pilots one of the student robots.

USAF airman first class Eagan Nadeau pilots one of the student robots.

Amy Perry’s nine-year-old daughter Kayla and 10-year-old daughter, Alexis, participated in the afterschool program. Perry, a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, inspects aircraft for defects at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The Perry family doesn’t have a computer, internet or cable in their home. So the program has helped support her girls’ interests in science and technology. “It works for us,” she said.

Perry said the counselors encouraged her daughters’ unique personalities. “It’s allowing them to have the space to be who they are,” she said. “Respecting others is important.”

Kayla Perry said she enjoyed the computer lab and making a virtual robot. “I like the teachers. All the time they think of cool things for us to do,” she said. “They always come up with these amazing ideas.”

Program activities have helped build relationships between mentors and students, and among students, said Virginia Harris, a retired teacher and military spouse who taught 23 years in several states and overseas.

“I’ve seen changes in the students, being able to work together and learning to follow rules better,” Harris said. “One of the main things they learn is you’re not an island. You have to get along with people in life. I think it’s difficult for little people to work together as a team sometimes.”

To learn more, visit www.ecu.edu/operationlink.

Logan Chase, 10, works on programming after a practice session with his robot.

Logan Chase, 10, works on programming after a practice session with his robot.

Reblog from East Carolina University’s News Service

Written by Cara Friez

July 24th, 2014 at 11:26 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