Archive for the ‘Cortex’ Category
Every year at Worlds, we get to meet some amazingly talented students. This year was no different! One of those students was the lead programmer and captain for the all-girls VEX team 355E, Mia Garbaccio. She is an avid programmer with an organized binder of code that impressed the entire ROBOTC team. Check out her story and programming binder in this interview:
Are you a ROBOTC student who wants to share your story with us? If so, send us an email at
Every student who completes a ROBOTC Summer of Learning course will have the opportunity to take a ROBOTC Student Certification Exam! This certificate will represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments.
Throughout the course, the student will earn badges as they successfully complete challenges. Each badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
At the very end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take an exam. This certification exam will consist of 125 questions to be completed in 100 minutes. Students will need to earn a score of 70% or higher in order to earn the certification.
Every student enrolled in one of our Robotics Summer of Learning class will have the option of taking the ROBOTC for LEGO or the ROBOTC for VEX student certification exam. Sign up for a class today:
And don’t forget about our free ROBOTC live training, starting Monday, June 17th:
Starting Monday, June 17th, our free online classes will begin for the Robotics Summer of Learning. The ROBOTC team will show you the best ways to get started using ROBOTC and answer your questions LIVE! The goals for these classes is to support you, our users, and help you earn a ROBOTC certification!
The classes and Q&A sessions will take place throughout the summer on WebEx at the times listed below. The length of the class will be based on how many questions we need to answer.
How to Sign Up:
1. Register for Summer of Learning - Choose one of the following Robotics Summer of Learning Courses and sign up!
2. Choose a WebEx Course - Join your choice of WebEx courses 30 minutes before scheduled course begins:
If you would like to ask questions during the live class, make sure to have a USB headset. You can also submit your questions before and during each class through the ROBOTC forum or our social media sites.
We are very happy to announce the official prizes for the Robotics Summer of Learning competitions! We will be giving away VEX IQ and NXT Kits; ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds licenses; and two $1000 scholarships. There will be three competitions eligible for prizes: CS2N VEX Toss Up Challenge, CS2N FTC “Ring It Up!” Challenge, and Robot Virtual Worlds Beacons and Barriers.
Each competition will be broken up into three divisions. Each player is eligible for only one prize per competition. The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.
Competitions are open now, so sign up today!
- Middle School Division – 6th to 8th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- High School Division - 9th to 12th Grade (for the 2013-2014 School Year)
- Open Division - Teachers, Mentors, Coaches, Educators, Hobbyists, Everyone!
The official rules are listed on the official Robotics Summer of Learning page.
Start programming today for your chance at these awesome prizes!
Robot designed by Drew Ellis from The Noun Project and the Trophy is from The Noun Project.
ROBOTC is the premiere robotics programming language for educational robotics and competitions. ROBOTC is a C-Based Programming Language with an Easy-to-Use Development Environment. ROBOTC 3.61 contains three major updates, as shown in the changelog below.
You can download it here.
3.60 to 3.61 Changelog
- NEW Joystick Configuration Utility – Added compatibility for custom joystick configurations; the Joystick Configuration Utility can now be used to configure a wide variety of controllers for use with ROBOTC. Read about it on the Custom Joystick Controls page on the ROBOTC wiki!
- Fixed Samostat.c sample program – There was a typo in the ‘nxtDisplayTextLine(status.nLine, “%s”, status.message);’ line of the Samostat.c program in ROBOTC 3.60 that prevented it from working properly. This has been fixed in 3.61.
- Updated Robot Virtual Worlds Curriculum Companion Tables – ROBOTC now includes the latest update of the Curriculum Companion Tables which added Quality Control Settings and now provides Update Notifications as well. Find out more about recent RVW updates here.
Get ready to create all new levels in the Robot Virtual Worlds’ Level Builder! Sign up for Beacons and Barriers, the Robotics Summer of Learning level design competition.
Beacons and Barriers is a design competition primarily intended for kids aged 12-18, but open to all, that is focused on creating fun and challenging levels using the Robot Virtual Worlds’ (RVW) Level Builder and Model Importer. In addition, the participants will write a succinct and easy to read set of instructions for completing the level. The competition is hosted online at the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N).
This competition offers a unique opportunity for students to create levels and get feedback from their peers. They will also give feedback on their peers’ work. Everyone learns not only how to evaluate projects logically, but also how to effectively communicate their assessment.
Entries will be judged based upon their difficulty, uniqueness, length, and fun factor. Their instructions will be judged on their ease of comprehension and grammatical correctness. The project’s final score for the competition will be based on the scores given by their peer reviewers.
There will be three divisions for this competition: Middle School, High School, and Open. The top five in each division will win the prizes listed below. Students in Middle School and High School who place in the top five will need to submit verification from their school about the grade they will be entering in for the 2013-2014 school year. The top entries from the competition will also be highlighted in a blog post after the competition, and the 1st place level will be posted on future CS2N Level building competitions as a benchmark for success.
Registration for the Beacons and Barriers level building challenge is available now, and is open to all members of the CS2N community.
Registering is easy:
1. Visit the Beacons and Barriers Main Page
2. Login to your account or register for CS2N.
3. Click on the box under “Step 1: Register.”
The final level file and instructions are due by August 31st, 2013. Don’t forget to look at the rubric that your level and instructions will be evaluated on. The files must be submitted in a zipped folder containing the .rvl file for your level and either a .pdf, .rtf, or .txt file that contains your instructions.
If you have any questions, whether it is about the RVW level editor, the competition, or how to do things like zip files, create pdfs, and so on, send your question to CS2N through “Contact Us”
We’ll do our best to respond to your question as soon as possible.
Remember: The competition does not end with the submission of files. Participants must grade and give feedback on other projects during the first two weeks of September (September 1st until September 14th, 2013). Each participant will have 5 other projects that they must review and give feedback. Participants will not be able to win prizes if they do not complete their evaluations. After the evaluation period ends, participants may choose to give their evaluators feedback on how useful their evaluation was.
The final winners of the competition will be announced on October 1st, 2013
In preparation for the 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning, we’ve released a second round of Robot Virtual Worlds updates! New versions of the VEX Toss Up, FTC Ring It Up, and RVW Level Builder can be downloaded today.
VEX Toss Up 1.5.2
If you haven’t already signed up for the VEX Toss Up programming competition on CS2N, you should do so here.
Changes in this version of VEX Toss Up:
- Added Preload Buckyballs
- Buckyballs load into Intakebot, are placed at predefined location when using Ballerbot
- Better handling of game pieces when performing robot switch and realignment in a base zone (CS2N Competition)
- Updated scoring to include hanging with a ball bonus when low hanging
- Robots no longer fly away when hanging in CS2N Competition
- Added score submission for CS2N Competition
- Made “remember me” checkbox on login screen work properly
- Changed keyboard control mapping on Intakebot’s Tread motor to be more intuitive
FTC Ring It Up 2.5.2
Sign up for the FTC Ring It UP programming competition on CS2N here.
Changes in this version of Ring It Up:
- Fixed Scissorbot’s through-hole grip of rings
- Fixed scoring bugs with floor goals (CS2N Competition)
- Gripperbot’s range of motion is now limited to make it specialized for picking up rings from the ground and scoring on low pegs
- Added final score popups in Ring It Up mode
- Fixed bugs with the behavior of rings that are hanging on pegs
- Made “remember me” checkbox on login screen work properly
- Added score submission for CS2N Competition
RVW Level Builder 2.1.0
CS2N is also hosting a RVW Level Builder design competition, called Beacons and Barriers. Click here to sign up and see full competition details.
Changes in this version of the RVW Level Builder:
- Added “checkpoint” functionality. Robots must come into contact with checkpoints before reaching the stop tile.
- Added “obstacle” functionality. Robots must not come into contact with obstacles before reaching the stop tile.
This summer students have the opportunity to learn how to program robots, design games, animate stories, and earn a chance to win over $10,000 in prizes and scholarships! The Robotics Summer of Learning program hopes to effectively increase students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related fields. The program is hosted online at the Computer Science Student Network.
The Summer of Learning initiative is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy - an educational outreach of Carnegie Mellon University and a part of the university’s world-renowned Robotics Institute. The Robotics Academy mission is to develop educational tools and resources to use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students and teachers about science and technology.
The Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) is a collaborative research project between Carnegie Mellon University (including the Robotics Academy) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) designed to increase the number of students pursuing advanced Computer Science and STEM degrees. CS2N is an online network for students and teachers to connect together and use engaging activities designed to teach how to program robots, animations, web pages, and games.
CS2N also includes tools for teachers/educators to create their own individual groups for students to join. Using the “groups” feature, teachers can track their students’ progress through every activity offered on the site. All of CS2N’s learning activities are designed to align with national educational standards.
Check out all the great features and challenges that will be offered through the Robotics Summer of Learning…
The Robotics Summer of Learning will offer students the opportunity to program a variety of robots in deep space, on a tropical island, and a VEX or FTC game board. The robots are programmed in ROBOTC, a programming language for LEGO, VEX and Arduino robots. Beginning ROBOTC users are able to utilize simple Natural Language commands like forward, reverse, and pointTurn at the introductory level and then migrate to full C-Programming to learn advanced computer science concepts like recursion, pointers, multitasking/threading, and multi-agent communications.
Students will program the virtual robots using the ROBOTC language and ROBOTC’s Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW) software, an interactive educational video game software that allows every student to experience the same benefits of learning robotics and programming. RVW tracks and stores student’s progress, through CS2N, as they solve different levels in each World. After successfully completing a World, students earn a badge that documents their achievements. At the end of the summer, students will have the opportunity to take an exam that will earn them a Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy programming certification, which can be included in the student’s academic portfolio.
Introductory programming lessons are taught in the tropical themed Palm Island, one of three virtual environments in Robot Virtual Worlds. Once students learn the basics in their first mission, they are then challenged to complete missions on Planet H99 in deep space, and underwater in the Ruins of Atlantis. The final challenge is a national robot programming competition that will include over ten thousand dollars in scholarships and prizes. Two new “programming only” robotics game have been developed specifically for the Robotics Summer of Learning programming competition, which take advantage of current VEX and FTC games in Robot Virtual Worlds. The games are played by autonomously programming your robot to place objects into scoring positions as quickly as possible.
Animation programming languages, such as Scratch and Alice, make it easy for students to create video stories, animations, games, music, and art. By using storytelling and animation as a motivator, students learn the importance of the design process while using and learning interactive programming software.
Our Robotics Summer of Learning Animation Challenge is called Nature Doc-u-mentary. This challenge asks students to write a creative narrative and make an animated documentary using either Scratch, SAM Animation, or Alice 2.0.
Designing a digital game allows students the opportunity to creatively brainstorm ideas, create 3D objects to import into the game board, learn how to program in order to test the success of the game, and challenge them to think of ways to advance and optimize the gameplay. Robot Virtual Worlds comes with two great tools, the Level Builder and the Model Importer. The Level Builder uses a 12-inch by 12-inch board and our “desktop” models to create their very own Robot Virtual World. The Model Importer allows students to import their own 3D models into Level Builder to take their game to the next level. Students can use both tools while designing their own game board for a virtual robot to successfully complete!
Our Robotics Summer of Learning Animation Challenge is called Beacons and Barriers. This challenge will have users focus on creating levels for a virtual robot to navigate through. They will use the Model Importer, included in Robot Virtual Worlds, to create objects to serve as checkpoints and obstacles.
The Robotics Summer of Learning Program is excited for the opportunity to advance students’ interests in STEM and advanced their programming skillsets! Software and training will be provided for free throughout the summer. Students will have 24/7 access to the online course materials, as well as professional support from developers of the software and curriculum. There will be over $10,000 in prizes available to participants in the challenges, including free software, robot kits, and college scholarships. The Robotics Summer of Learning kicks off on June 1 and runs to September 1, 2013.
Also offered during the summer are our Professional Development courses. These courses provide teachers and coaches with a solid foundation for robot programming in the respective languages, and experience in troubleshooting common student mistakes. It also focuses on identifying and extracting academic value from the naturally occurring STEM situations encountered in robotics explorations. Classes are available on-site or online.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, we challenged students to send us stories about their awesome robotics teachers, mentors, and coaches. We received some great stories and are excited to announce the top three stories!! Each teacher will receive a 365-day classroom license for Robot Virtual Worlds. Below are the list of winners and the stories submitted by the students.
You think you’ve seen awesome but you haven’t met Miss Liberty! In 2009 she convinced our elementary school principal to let her start a robotics class. At first, she volunteered her time to teach 24 of us after school (we were in 3rd and 4th grade)…it was so much fun! She made learning how to program seem really easy. We used both NXT-G and ROBOTC.
Then, she loved doing it so much, she founded a STEM non-profit to start robotics and engineering programs throughout our community. She gave a ton of her time to help start robotics programs at elementary, middle, and high schools and then her “robot fever” spread to the neighboring school districts. She began teaching at multiple schools, starting FIRST teams at all levels, and helping us realize there was more we could do with our future then we ever thought possible.
In our community, because of her passion, we now have three school districts with: 4 high schools with actual engineering and robotics elective classes, 3 middle schools with engineering/robotics electives, and two elementary schools with technology rotations of programming with robotics. To top if off, she recruited other awesome teachers to help with the after school programs and every year there are over 32 schools who have full-time robotics teams…all because she rocks. (oh…and she helped the Palm Springs Air Museum raise over $400,000 to build a technology center for kids who want to do robotics, but it isn’t offered at their school!).
Well, we aren’t in elementary school anymore, but she continues to open up her house for our rag-tag group in addition to all the classes she teaches. We love her so much. She is enthusiastic about making sure we “learn how to learn”; thinking critically about everything we work on, from strategy, to psuedocoding, to prototyping out designs. She always answers our questions with questions, and has a neat way of helping us break down complex issues into tiny bite-size pieces.
But best of all, she encourages us to be “Fruitloops in a World Full of Cheerios” and challenges us to the best of who we can be and embrace our quirkiness.
Yeah…Miss Liberty is awesome!!!!!
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” – Hamlet Act IV Scene V
A life beyond what we can perceive is a tall tale to tell indeed. The future is uncertain, opaque, and daunting. We can never truly grasp what it entails, and it often seems unreachable. Yet visions and plans of a future that we may influence lie entirely in our hands, and these dreams may be brought to reality through the wisdom, guidance and eccentric nature of one great man. Mr Graham Conlon is truly a delight to all. His enthusiasm, insight, good-humour and remarkable wit has propelled our team onwards and upwards to unimaginable renown. Whilst this may be marked as pretentious, there are no delusions of grandeur here. Mr Conlon has been a wonderful and exemplary mentor, showing us that with careful organisation, a calm approach, and a dry joke or two, we can affect and shape a collective future for the team. Regardless of the final outcome, we are taught that the journey that we embark on as a team is far more significant; That growing and developing as a team has more value than success. He centers our main focus around building an exceptional team that can then build, control and influence an exceptional robot. From there, the rest is our own doing.
Mentor from Reseda Regents Robotics
*We have not got official word from this coach to use his name in the article, so it has been removed from the story.
I do not write to you today about a mentor of my team, at least not a formal mentor. Instead I write of VRC#20 mentor. I recall him asking why I “wasn’t smiling” very much during the 2011 world championships as he handed me a completed score sheet with a win for red alliance. I find it strange; that single comment brightened the rest of the competition for me (even though I wasn’t sad, just tired) and forever made me a bit appreciative of what he does for robotics. Each year, my team (VRC#599) hosts a VEX tournament for teams in our area that services around 40 teams each year. As such a large event, we draw volunteers from numerous sources and rely heavily on volunteer support. Amongst the volunteers stand STEM teachers, college teachers, students, engineers, and parents. At my very first event, I knew the volunteers from my team and no one else. Within a year I recognized each face and knew each volunteer by name. I see the Reseda Regents Robotics mentor in the morning donning the bright Reseda Regents blue. Just as soon as his team is registered, the Reseda Regents Robotics mentor has put on the striped referee shirt. At every event, he does the same. You see him in bright blue, you see him in black and white. One would expect his black and white referee uniform to juxtapose his Reseda shirt just as the black juxtaposes the white. One would expect an on/off relationship of volunteer to coach; a relationship that leads him to coach his team and volunteer as two separate entities. His Reseda blue very well may be the black and white of the Referee shirt or the gray of a volunteer shirt. In everything he does, he presents a team that inspires. Reseda blue stands out amongst the field reset crew. Reseda blue stands out amongst the queueing team. Reseda blue stands out amongst the half assembled fields. Reseda blue stands out amongst my Robodox green. Reseda blue stands out because team 20, Reseda Regents Robotics, and everyone else emulate an outstanding mentor and teacher whose Reseda blue stands out amongst everything he does.
Account provided by Chris Miranda of VRC#599, Robodox
Thank you to every one who sent in their stories and thank you to ALL teachers, mentors, and coach for everything you do for your students!
We LOVE summers here at ROBOTC, and one of the main reasons for that is we get to meet tons of awesome teachers, mentors, and coaches at our ROBOTC Professional Development training courses! It’s our chance to meet our users and make sure they’re equipped with a solid foundation in ROBOTC programming to take back with them for a successful new school year; and it’s your chance to meet our team, ask questions, and give us feedback. We have separate courses for LEGO & TETRIX and VEX CORTEX with the option to take the class on-site or online.
Benefits of our On-site courses includes:
✓ Provided hardware and the ROBOTC software in our classrooms.
✓ Over 30+ hours of hands on experience.
✓ Training provided by the developers of the curriculum and software.
✓ Custom course content: We adjust the course to the skill level and desires of the participants.
✓ Mapping of robotics curriculum with national standards.
✓ Tour of the National Robotics Engineering Center.
✓ ACT 48 Credits (for PA teachers.)
✓ Certificate of completion for course “Graduates.”
✓ Lunch provided at no additional cost.
Enjoy these benefits with our Online Training:
✓ Convenient online training from your home or school via the Internet.
✓ Online access to video training material and supplemental lessons from CMU’s Robotics Academy.
✓ 24/7 access to class forums and message boards (monitored regularly.)
✓ Screen sharing and live discussion amongst the class.
✓ Technical support for all hardware and software used in the class.
✓ Networking opportunities with other professional educators.
In every Professional Development course, you will have the opportunity to take the certification exam to become a “Robotics Academy Certified Instructor.”
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
- Does this course offer college credit?
- The course offers continuing education credit and documents that you have participated in 36 hours worth of instruction at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy. It is not a college credit course.
- What happens if I don’t pass the certification test?
- The certification test is offered after you complete the course. If you don’t pass the certification test, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam one month later.
- Can I use Robot Virtual Worlds in my classroom?
- How do I register for the course?
- Go to Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013 and follow the instructions.
- Does the Robotics Academy take Purchase Orders?
- When should I register?
- As soon as possible. The courses are limited to 24 students per class and will fill up quickly.
- When are courses offered?
- You can find a list of all classes available here – Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013
All ROBOTC related training is listed below: