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ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS 4.28 BETA

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ROBOTC 4-28The ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce our latest BETA release update, ROBOTC 4.28 BETA! This update is for the LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems and includes new features, functionality and a load of bug fixes!

This new build of ROBOTC for LEGO Mindstorms includes a number of new features for the EV3 platform, including USB Joystick Support, File I/O (reading and writing files on the EV3), and also Datalogging while using the EV3 platform. Take a look at the sample programs folder for examples on how to use all of the new features with ROBOTC and the EV3 platform!

To download the 4.28 BETA, use the following links:

Important Setup Information for ROBOTC 4.28 BETA:

LEGO NXT Users:

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

LEGO EV3 Users:

  • All users will need to update the  LEGO EV3′s Kernel by connecting the EV3 and selecting “Robot Menu -> Download EV3 Linux Kernel” from inside of ROBOTC. The version number is the same to keep alignment with the EV3 Programming Software and LEGO’s releases, but the Kernel has bug fixes to increase sensor reliability.
  • After updating your EV3′s Linux Kernel, you’ll also need to update the ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

ROBOTC 4.27 -> 4.28 BETA Change Log:

  • All – Updated Help System Documentation for new commands and features.
  • All – Updated Firmware for 10.28 / 4.28 compatibility.
  • All – Added a compiler error when ‘switch’ expression was illegal.
  • All – Support for optional “int” keyword as in the declaration “short int” or “int short” in addition to “short”.
  • All – Add USB Joystick control to Graphical (in loop blocks)
  • EV3 – Fixed user reported bug in Synchronized Motor Movements commands.
  • EV3 – Disabled setting sensor ports to typeNone/modeNone when initially configuring port. This prevented sensor ports from being reconfigured manually afterwards inside a program.
  • EV3 – Added Joystick support for EV3.
  • EV3 – Fixed BMP files not displaying properly on the EV3 screen.
  • EV3 – Added Datalogging for the EV3. It is file based and saves the data in a CSV format under prjs/rc-data/
  • EV3 – Added EV3 file operations for reading/writing to files. Commands are available for reading/writing all types and raw data. Files are saved in the standard ROBOTC projects folder and cannot be saved elsewhere for security/safety reasons.
  • EV3 – Fix EV3 issue of USB connected brick disconnected when COMM link is open and IDE cannot recover when USB link is reconnected.
  • EV3 – Changed ramp up/down parameters to 0 for EV3 motors, as per the LEGO programming environment. This is a feature ROBOTC was using but isn’t supported well by the EV3.
  • EV3 – Fixed issue where motor speed was not normalized to -100 to 100 when values exceeding the maximum were provided.
  • EV3/NXT – Fixed issue with ROBOTC ‘auto-updater’ when launching ROBOTC for LEGO based platforms.
  • EV3 – Adjusted I2C read and write commands to use standard LEGO ioctl. The calls are non-blocking.
  • EV3 – setSensorTypeModeFromWithinOpcode is now used instead of calling for a separate type and mode change. This fixes the issue of bad sensor modes.
  • EV3 – EV3 Touch sensor can now have both bumps and touch value read, regardless of mode
  • EV3 – sensorReset() now calls appropriate reset function, depending on the connection type. If used on Gyro or Touch, the heading or bump count is reset, respectively.

Happy Programming!

Written by Tim Friez

December 23rd, 2014 at 4:34 pm

ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.28 BETA Available Today!

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ROBOTC Beta Release VEXThe ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce our latest BETA release, ROBOTC 4.28 BETA. This update is for the VEX Robotics (Cortex EDR and VEX IQ) robotics systems and includes new features, functionality and a load of bug fixes!

 

 

 

 

This new BETA release of ROBOTC includes the brand new “Natural Language 2.0″ libraries for the ROBOTC Graphical interface.

CortexGraphical

The new Natural Language 2.0 for Cortex allows users to customize and use their own robot configurations with our new Graphical Interface.

CortexConfiguration

In addition, users can also program their VEX Cortex Competition Robots using our new “Graphical Competition Template”!

CortexCompetition

We’ll have more videos and tutorials on using the VEX Cortex Graphical Language mode in the near future, but try out the new software today and let us know what you think!

To download the 4.28 BETA, use the following links:

Important Setup Information for ROBOTC 4.28 Beta:

VEX IQ Users:

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.13 (may not be available at time of release, but will be available soon).
  • Users will also have to update their VEX IQ Wireless Controller in addition to any other VEX IQ Devices (sensors, motors) that may need to be updated as well.
  • After updating to the latest VEX IQ Brain firmware, users 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 Master Firmware Version 4.23 from inside of ROBOTC.
  • After updating the master firmware, users will also have to update the VEX Cortex with 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 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 4.23 from inside of ROBOTC.
  • After updating the master firmware, users will also have to update the VEX Cortex with the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

ROBOTC 4.27 -> 4.28 BETA Change Log:

  • All – Updated Help System Documentation for new commands and features.
  • All – Updated Firmware for 10.28 / 4.28 compatibility.
  • All – Added a compiler error when ‘switch’ expression was illegal.
  • All – Support for optional “int” keyword as in the declaration “short int” or “int short” in addition to “short”.
  • All – Add USB Joystick control to Graphical (in loop blocks)
  • Cortex – Fixed issue where performing a new motor PID movement when an existing PID movement is in progress didn’t work properly.
  • Cortex – Allow users to select “Xmtr2″ for VEX Cortex Graphical (Expert and higher menu level)
  • Cortex – Added competition control and competition template for Cortex Graphical
  • Cortex – Added Virtual Worlds Natural Language 2.0 Library for VEX Cortex
  • Cortex – Renamed old-style Natural Language mode to “Natural Language PLTW”
  • Cortex – Fixed issue where software inspection would fail without a radio link on VEX Cortex
  • Cortex – Added dialog message to Cortex “Download Firmware” button on large icon toolbar.
  • Cortex – Multiple incomplete consecutive PID moves. Fix issue when current move is in “ramp down” and new PID movement is initiated.
  • VEX IQ – Added additional standard models for VEX IQ.
  • VEX IQ – Fix issue where mode wasn’t being set for Graphical for VEX IQ Color Sensor.

Happy Programming!

Written by Tim Friez

December 23rd, 2014 at 4:23 pm

New Robot Virtual Worlds iPad App Available!

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We are thrilled to announce a brand new, FREE Robot Virtual Worlds app for the iPad! The Robot Virtual Worlds app allows you to start learning how to program both simulated VEX IQ and fantasy robots using ROBOTC Graphical.

Click here to to open the Robot Virtual Worlds App in iTunes!

The current version of the app will allow you to use the Basic Movement commands from ROBOTC Graphical to control the robot (forward, backward, turn right, turn left), along with the robot’s grippers and arms to interact with objects in the environment. We believe this is a great teaching tool to include with the Expedition Atlantis iPad app as well as a teaching tool for ROBOTC Graphical!

Check out our video of the app in action…


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

Written by Jesse Flot

December 9th, 2014 at 6:45 am

ROBOTC Graphical Interface Video

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ROBOTC Graphical VideoIf you haven’t had the opportunity to try out our new Graphical Interface yet, watch our new video to find out what you’re missing! The new ROBOTC Graphical Mode will allow you to drag and drop blocks of code from the “Graphical Functions” menu into your program to get your program created even faster.

 

 

 
 


 

Try it out today here!

Written by Cara Friez

September 23rd, 2014 at 2:19 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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Written by Cara Friez

September 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am

ROBOTC Graphical Programming Preview Available!

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clickanddragAfter months of work, the ROBOTC Development Team is excited to announce the availability of the first preview release of ROBOTC Graphical Language for the VEX IQ platform. This new interface will allow you to program robots from inside ROBOTC with easy-to-use graphical blocks that can be drag-and-dropped to form a program. Each block represents an individual command from the “text-based” ROBOTC and Natural Language. The new click and drag interface along with the simplified commands of Natural Language will allow any robotics user to get up and running with programming their robots as soon as possible.

The first release of ROBOTC Graphical Language is available for the VEX IQ platform for use with the standard VEX IQ Clawbot and Autopilot Robots. All ROBOTC 4.0 users will receive access to the new Graphical Language interface at no additional cost! Our plans over the next few months are to extend the Graphical Language interface to all of ROBOTC’s support platforms, including the Robot Virtual Worlds technology. You can download the preview version today at http://www.robotc.net/graphical/.

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The new ROBOTC Graphical programming environment adds a number of new features we’d like to highlight:

Graphical Language Command List (Drag and Drop)

GraphicalFunctionBar
With the new ROBOTC Graphical Mode, we’ve updated our “Functions Library” to match the style of the Graphical interface. This new mode will allow you to drag and drop blocks of code from the “Graphical Functions” menu into your program to get your program created even faster!

New Language Commands for Easier Programs

NewLanguageCommands
We also added some new language extensions to both ROBOTC and Natural Language; such as the simplistic “Repeat” command. Prior to the Repeat command, users would need to copy and paste large sections of code or use a looping structure (like a ‘for’ or ‘while’ loop) in order to have a set of actions repeat a number of times. With the new “Repeat” command, however, users can simply specify how many times they would like the code to run, with no complex coding required. And users who wish to make an “infinite loop” can use the “repeat forever” command to accomplish this task quickly!

Commenting Blocks of Code!

CommentingOut
Another awesome tool that we’ve implemented in ROBOTC Graphical is the “comment out” feature. You can now comment out an entire line of code just by clicking on the block’s line number. The robot ignores lines of code that are “commented out” when the program runs, which makes this feature very useful when testing or debugging code. This new tool is unique to ROBOTC’s Graphical interface.

Updated and Simplified Toolbar

Toolbar
Sometimes navigating menus as a new user can be a little overwhelming – so many options to choose from and lots of questions about what each option is used for. To help with this, we’ve redesigned ROBOTC’s toolbar to make getting up and running easier. We put the most used commands on a larger toolbar so new users have an area to easily click to download firmware, send their code to their robot, and run their programs without having to use the standard menu interface.

Convert to Text-Based Natural Language

ConvertToText ConvertToText2
Because each Graphical Natural Language block corresponds to a real ROBOTC or Natural Language function, users will be able to graduate from Graphical Programming to full text-based programming with the press of a single button. This allows users to naturally transition from Graphical Natural Language to the text based Natural Language (or ROBOTC), without having to worry about manually converting the code line-by-line!

Teacher’s Guide and Sample Programs

UsersGuide
The new graphical interface includes over 50 new sample programs to help you get up and running with working examples and demo code. In addition, we’ve also developed a 30+page guide to walk new (and existing) users through the new Graphical Programming interface and getting started with the VEX IQ platform. You can find a link to the programming guide here and also on the ROBOTC Graphical page.

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This initial release is only the beginning and we’re planning on improving the software with more features and flexibility over the coming months.

Future Support/Features:

  • Copy and Paste
  • Undo/Redo Support
  • Support for custom robots/configurations via an updated “Motors and Sensor Setup” interface.
  • Dynamic Loop and Command Parameters (based on Motors and Sensor Setup / Robot Configuration)
  • Tooltips, Contextual Help, and more!

Click here to download the installer!

Let us know what you think! If you have any feedback or questions, please send them along via the ROBOTC’s VEX IQ forums.

 
 

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ROBOTC Graphical Natural Language

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We know that text based languages (such as ROBOTC) have advantages in terms of customizability with functions, complexity with algorithms and calculations, and typically smaller sized programs over graphical languages; however, it is difficult to overcome the simplicity and ease of use that “Drop and Drag” programming languages offer to new users just getting started with programming.

TextBasedNaturalLanguage

A few years ago (with ROBOTC 3.X), we announced our “Natural Language” feature – a simplified library of commands that used “natural” commands to control your robot, such as Forward, Reverse, and LineTrackForTime. The Natural Language feature was designed to help ‘bridge the gap’ between a graphical language and the text-based ROBOTC. Teachers have praised ROBOTC’s Natural Language for making it easier to get their students up and running faster than ever before. Currently, ROBOTC supports Natural Language on the VEX Cortex, VEX IQ, and LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT platforms for both “Real” and “Virtual” robots.

GraphicalProgrammingOverview1

Today we’re proud to give you a sneak peek to a new feature we’re calling “Graphical Natural Language”. This new interface will allow you to program robots from inside ROBOTC with easy-to-use graphical blocks that can be drag-and-dropped to form a program. Each block represents an individual command from the “text-based” ROBOTC and Natural Language.

 


 

Each block is custom designed to fit the needs for that specific function and parameters. Using text boxes and drop-down menus, users can customize each values of each function to solve various challenge and activities using the same commands as ROBOTC’s Text-Based Natural Language.

FunctionsParameters
We have also added some new language extensions to both ROBOTC and Natural Language, such as the simplistic “Repeat” command. Prior to the Repeat command, users would need to copy and paste large sections of code or use a looping structure (like a ‘for’ or ‘while loop) in order to have a set of actions repeat a certain number of times. With the new “Repeat” command, however, users can simply specify how many times they would like for the code to run, with no complex coding required.

RepeatCommand
Another awesome tool that we’ve implemented in ROBOTC 4.0 is the “comment out” feature. You can now comment out an entire line of code just by clicking on the block’s line number. Lines of code that are “commented out” are ignored by the robot when the program is run, which makes this feature very useful when testing or debugging a program. This new tool is unique to Graphical Natural Language.

CommentingOut
Because each Graphical Natural Language block corresponds to a real ROBOTC or Natural Language function, users will be able to graduate from Graphical Natural Language to full text-based Natural Language with the press of a single button. This will allow you to naturally transition from Graphical Natural Language to the text based Natural Language (or ROBOTC), without having to worry about manually converting the code line-by-line!

NaturalLanguageWithCode
We have many other features and enhancements planned for Graphical Natural Language – Be on the lookout for a preview version sometime in January!

Please Note: The screenshots and interface in this post are not the finalized version of the ROBOTC Graphical Natural Language – the names, interface, look and feel of the system may change between now and official release.