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Traversing a Grand Challenge with the VEX Cortex

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The Grand Challenge is a staff designed course which is not revealed to participants until the day of the competition. Before the competition, participants are provided with a list of conditions and situations to prepare their robots for.

On the day of the competition, the participant’s programming knowledge and preparation are put to the test as they work to traverse the course in a limited amount of time. The robot that makes the most progress without stalling out or deviating from the course wins!

In this iteration of the Grand Challenge, the Cortex-based robot must:

  • Navigate an obstructed path using feedback from the Shaft Encoders and Ultrasonic Rangefinder
  • Track an incomplete line up and down a ramp using feedback from the Line Tracking sensors
  • (Optional) Pick up the yellow ball and take it to the finish zone for extra points
  • Respond to remote-control commands only in the final zone
  • Avoid hitting obstacles in it’s path, walls on the field, and falling from the ramp

Check out this cool video of the robot completing the course.

To accomplish it’s task, the Cortex-based robot is equipped with:

  • Two driving motors, each with a Shaft Encoder
  • An Omni-wheel acting as a rear-caster wheel
  • Three Line Tracking Sensors
  • An Ultrasonic Rangefinder
  • Remote Control over VEXnet

Instructions for building this robot can be found here.

If you’d like ideas for creating your own Grand Challenge, check out this document for some inspiration.

Note: All materials are part of the VEX Cortex Video Trainer. Check it Out!

Written by Jesse Flot

November 3rd, 2010 at 10:40 am

Robot Magazine Article: VEX Curriculum 2.0

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VEX Curriculum 2.0 SleveCheck out the VEX Curriculum 2.0 review, featured in ROBOT Magazine! Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“When I began clicking around the VEX Curriculum I was immediately impressed by both the scope and the quality of the materials. Whether you are a student, teacher, or a hobbyist eager to learn more about robotics you will find something there for you. At www.vexcurriculum.com I found a cornucopia of practical robotics exercises and presentations that are shown in user-friendly, inviting multi-media formats. The Curriculum is designed to meet academic standards for high school classes, but any curious person interested in robotics will enjoy perusing the site. Although the package is intended to sustain two semesters of study, it is voluminous. The teachers that I spoke to also use segments of the curriculum for multi-year robotics programs, to guide students through independent study robotics projects, and as a robotics library for students building robot projects.

Teachers that use the Carnegie Mellon Curriculum report that the lessons tend to build confidence and they make the users feel associated with Carnegie Mellon. In researching this article, I found that both educators and students express a sense of pride as they work through the materials, and in the process, succeed in learning to solve robotics problems and meet multidisciplinary intellectual challenges.”

Read the entire article here: http://www.botmag.com/articles/vexcurriculum.shtml

Preview the VEX Curriclum 2.0 here: http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/roboticscurriculum/vex_online/main_start.htm

Written by Jesse Flot

December 16th, 2009 at 10:19 am