Archive for the ‘programming’ tag
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.
We are excited to announce that our official Robotics Summer of Learning page is live!
The 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning (RSOL) is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy and uses the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) to host all trainings, with additional resources provided by Robomatter Inc. and other organizations. This summer, students and teachers will have the opportunity to develop programming skills, earn certifications, and win prizes. Software, training, certifications, and the competitions will all be hosted online for free through the Robotics Academy.
Check out all the great tools and features we will be offering through the Robotics Summer of Learning…
FREE Modified FTC and VEX Programming Games
We have developed fun new “programming only” robotics games that take advantage of current VEX and FTC games. Multiple elements have been added to the game interface and field including; colored lines and tiles, IR beacons, walls, automatic loading zones, the ability to reset and reprogram your robot while still playing the match, and many more! The game’s time is tracked using the Robot Virtual Worlds’ Internal Timer. The games are played by placing objects into scoring positions as quickly as possible.
Earn Badges and a Certification
Carnegie Mellon has developed Digital Badges and Certifications designed to represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments. Each Badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, and links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
Free Training and Support
Training will be provided to all students and teachers through the Robotics Summer of Learning by the developers of the curriculum and software. Our team will also be available throughout the summer to take questions on all our social media sites.
CS2N RVW Competitive Events
Each Robotics Summer of Learning Project competition is divided into three divisions: Junior High, High School, and Open Division.
Players can only compete in the appropriate division:
- Junior High – Students in 6th through 9th grade.
- High School – Rising 10th graders through rising 12th graders. (9th, 10th, 11th grade graduates)
- Open Division – High school graduate and above.
You can find further details about each competition at www.cs2n.org/competitions.
There are over $10,000 in prizes available to participants, including free software, robot kits, and $100 and $500 College Scholarships.
The RVW challenge is broken into two parts:
- Part One – 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning Project, which ends Saturday, August 31st, 2013.
- Part Two – RVW CS2N Robot Programming Challenge, which begins September 1, 2013.
More information will be made available about the type and number of each type of prize at CS2N.org.
- Today: Players can create a CS2N account and download the software.
- June 1: Official launch of the Summer of Learning courses and forums.
- June 17: The instructor led online course will begin the third week of June.
- August 31: RSOLP completed and prizes will be announced.
- September 1: RVW CS2N Robot Programming Challenge begins.
- September 6: RSOLP competition winners will be announced and first round prizes will be distributed.
- April 2014: The Official CS2N FTC and VEX Robot Virtual World winners will be announced.
We hope every one has an enjoyable summer learning how to program!!
Vision systems are one of the more useful, albeit trickier, sensors that can be used in a robotics system. They allow a microcontroller to literally ‘see’ an object, its color, shape, and (in some cases) the material it is made from. They are used extensively almost anywhere an automated system needs to make a decision based on an object’s visual properties.
Fortunately, MindSensor’s NXTCam combined with Xander’s driver suite allows NXT users to quickly and easily program a vision system for their robots. ROBOTC forum member alain has recently created one of the basic NXTCam robots (a robot that will track a colored ball with relatively high accuracy) and was kind enough to share his programming journey on the ROBOTC forum and the video below.
If you’re interested in building your own color-tracking robot or have other, unique ideas for an NXT cam with ROBOTC, be sure to check out the Robotics Academy demo video for ideas on how the NXTCam can be used and the ROBOTC forum for coding help.
I’d like to welcome a new section to our blog called Teacher’s POV (Point of View) that will allow guest bloggers who are teachers, mentors, and coaches to share some of the lessons they have learned while teaching robotics. Our first guest blogger is a good friend to the ROBOTC family, Jason McKenna, a K-8 Gifted Support Teacher in the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He has been kind enough to put together some blogs about his experiences teaching robotics.
As teachers, we are constantly looking for ways to make the subjects that we are teaching relevant. Students are always asking when they will ever use a particular concept, or how what they are learning applies to a real life scenario. Admittedly, teachers sometimes have a hard time answering those questions.
Thankfully, teaching Robotics and computer programming puts those questions to rest. Because technology is so ubiquitous in students’ lives, students will immediately see the benefits of learning how to program. Moreover, Robotics is the perfect platform to show the application of math and science concepts to everyday scenarios.
In addition to all of that stuff that we educators like to talk about, students just have fun programming a robot to do something. Add in the allure of some competition, and you have yourself a pretty engaged classroom.
With that in mind, I decided to have my 8th grade students participate in a line following car race. Students were to program their robots to follow a line as fast as possible. Of course, the trick is the robot has to stay on the line. While following a black line, the robot has to decide (using a light sensor) if it is on the black line or on the white part of the mat. For the competition, the students added some PID concepts to their line following. As many of you already know, PID is used in many control systems, from your car, to your homes, to large scale factories. The students and I discussed how PID is basically a control system that tries to calculate an error and make adjustments to a control system based upon that error. The robot calculates an error (how far it is off the black line) and then makes adjustments to the motor speed based upon the error. That is what makes it proportional: the movement is based upon the error. Large error equals a large correction whereas a smaller error creates a smaller correction.
The students were able to apply some of the concepts they are currently learning in Algebra to their program. For example, they are utilizing the slope intercept formula (y=mx+b) to find their turn. Y is the turn distance, x is the light sensor reading (the error), and m is the change in y (maximum and minimum turning power) divided by the change in x (maximum and minimum light sensor reading). Students get to apply an important math concept to a fun and engaging scenario that has real-world applications.
The students then decided that they wanted to see what would happen with two light sensors. The students adjusted their code, conducted some iterative testing, and surveyed their results.
In conclusion, one really sees how Robotics and ROBOTC meld perfectly with the goals of a STEM classroom. Really, the only limitation is a teacher’s (and students’) imagination.
- Jason McKenna
Thank you Jason! If you are a teacher who would like to share your experiences on our blog, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Images - Code designed by Brennan Novak, Teacher designed by Juan Pablo Bravo, and Robot designed by Simon Child all from The Noun Project.
We are very excited to share details on ROBOTC 4.0!! This version of ROBOTC will be getting a lot of new features as well as some enhancements to favorite tools already included. Also included in this upgrade will be support for new hardware platforms, including the new VEX IQ and LEGO EV3.
Planned Features in 4.0:
- Overhauled Natural Language functionality to make learning how to program even easier.
- Motors and sensor setup that will automatically detect devices (with supported platforms/devices.)
- Enhanced drag and drop capability with our function library for new users.
- Updated text editor with code collapsing, improved auto-complete, and more user customizability.
- Even more sample programs to help users get started, including samples for new platforms and advanced programming concepts!
- Support for both VEX Cortex and VEX IQ in ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.0
- Support for both NXT and EV3 in ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS 4.0
- No-Cost standalone version of ROBOTC for VEX PIC for legacy users.
Pricing and final availability for 4.0 has not been finalized; however customers can feel secure buying ROBOTC today knowing they will get a full ROBOTC 4.0 upgrade as soon as it is available.
Current ROBOTC Users Upgrade Details:
- 3.0 Perpetual Users (who purchased in 2013): No upgrade fee! Full purchase price will be applied towards same type of license for 4.0.
- 3.0 Annual Users (who purchased in 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
- 3.0 Perpetual Users (who purchase before 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
If you own a license to ROBOTC 3.xx – You can continue to use 3.xx for as long as you would like (assuming you have a perpetual license) – the software will not stop working once 4.xx is released. However, if you wish to use the features and platforms available in ROBOTC 4.xx, you will have to purchase an upgrade at a significant discount.
Upgrades will be available for up to 6 months after the official release of ROBOTC 4.0. Stay tuned to the ROBOTC.net Blog – We will be releasing free beta versions throughout the Summer and will announce final pricing and availability details in the near future.
We ran into Paul Utley from Pitsco at the 2013 FIRST Championship who designed a model of the Curiosity Rover with TETRIX parts, NXT brick, and programmed in ROBOTC! We were lucky enough to get a short interview with him about it. Check it out here …
If you are at the 2013 FIRST Championship in St. Louis, MO., make sure to stop by and check it out in person. For more information on Tetrix go to http://www.tetrixrobotics.com
We are very excited to announce that today is the first day of Spring and …. the first day of ROBOTC 3.60! 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. We are really proud of this release and can’t wait to hear what you think! Remember, we could not do this without your support and feedback. We hope you’ll continue to share your comments with us, either in the forums or on our Facebook or Twitter page.
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Good news everyone! I’m excited to let you know that our latest batch of tutorials in the VEX Cortex Video Trainer are available now!
This set of 5 tutorials focuses on the VEX Line Tracking Sensors:
- The Line Tracking Sensors – Introduces the sensors and explains how they work
- Calculating Thresholds – Goes through the process of acquiring sensor values using the ROBOTC Sensor Debug window and calculating a threshold for the robot to distinguish light from dark
- Basic Line Tracking – Opens, explains, and runs a basic line tracking sample program on the robot
- Line Track for Distance – Modifies the sample program to line track for a number of encoder counts
- Optimized Line Tracking – Explains how to modify motor speeds for tracking different types of lines
These tutorials will work with the new VEX Line Tracking Sensors (in the picture above), as well as the slightly larger, previous generation. To view them, open the VEX Cortex Video Trainer and head to the Sensing > Line Tracking section. Be on the look-out for additional programming challenges and activities using the line tracking sensors early next year.
As usual, the VEX Line Tracking Sensors can be purchased at the RobotMatter store. Happy Holidays everyone!