Archive for the ‘Robots’ tag
In preparation for the 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning, we’ve released updates for the Palm Island (v2.1.0), Operation Reset (v3.1.0), Curriculum Companion (v2.4.0), and Level Builder (v2.0.11) Virtual Worlds!
In Palm Island, Operation Reset, and the Curriculum Companion, we’ve added two highly-requested features: Graphics Quality Control and Update Notifications.
Graphics Quality Control
In the Options section of each virtual world, we’ve added a new Graphics Quality setting. Choosing LOW (FASTER) will reduce the visual quality of the virtual environment, but will allow the virtual worlds to run more smoothly on older computers. MEDIUM is the default setting and is a balanced choice between quality and speed on most computers. Choosing HIGH (SLOWER) will improve the visual quality and is the most resource intensive; it is only recommended if you have a newer computer with a dedicated graphics card.
If your computer is connected to the Internet and you log in using your CS2N account in the virtual world, it will now check if there is a newer version of the virtual world available. If an update is available, a notification about the new version appears with a DOWNLOAD NOW button. Simply press it to download the latest version available!
RVW Level Builder
We also updated the RVW Level Builder! We have improved the performance of the menus and fixed an issue where line tracking tiles were getting “stuck” once they were placed. Thank you to everyone who has sent in feedback! We’ve also released a series of videos to help get started with the Level Builder:
The updates can be downloaded from the RVW Level Packs Download area at ROBOTC.net or RobotVirtualWorlds.com.
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 will be LIVE at 4pm EST today with our free Robot Virtual Worlds webinar! This is the second in a five part Google + Hangout series that will take place every Monday in the month of April. Today’s topic is how to use the Robot Virtual World’s Curriculum Companion.
If you can’t tune in at 4pm EST, we will update this post later in the day with the YouTube recording. If you are joining us live, make sure to send us your questions …
Check out future webinar dates below:
We are thrilled to announce the new Single and Team perpetual licenses available for Robot Virtual Worlds!! Previously, we only offered Classroom licenses for perpetual users, but due to user requests, we have now added Single and Team options. Read the rest of this entry »
We understand the challenges robotics classrooms face every day in terms of cost, number of robots, batteries, and homework. That is why we created Robot Virtual Worlds (RVW). With RVW, every student can experience the same benefits of learning robots, right on their computer. RVW currently simulates popular real-world VEX, LEGO, and TETRIX robots in a 3D environment; while using the same language, ROBOTC, to program both your virtual robot and your physical robot.
To help you get started and get a better understanding of what RVW can do, we are offering five FREE webinars on Google Hangout every Monday in April at 4pm EST with project manager, Jesse Flot, and some members of his team! We will show you a brief tutorial on the specific topic of the day then take a few questions from the Google Hangout chat or on twitter using hashtag #RVWHangout.
At each webinar, we will be giving out a discount code for Robomatter, the robotics education store, and a chance to win a one-year license for ROBOTC 3.6!!! To tune in live, follow Robomatter on Google+ or visit ROBOTC.net/hangouts the day of the event (you will need a google+ account or twitter account to submit questions.)
Listed below are the specific dates with topics that we will be covering …
The ROBOTC team is happy to announce the ROBOTC 3.59.0 BETA release. We’ve made a number of enhancements and repaired a number of user issues. Some of the major updates are:
- Added support for proxy server when activating ROBOTC.
- Add watchdog timer support to VEX Cortex to alleviate processor crashes that can occur with static.
- Fixed a bug in the NXT color sensor that now allows you to read individual RGB values.
- Updated with the latest version of the 3rd party sensor drivers for NXT. (Thanks Xander!)
See below for the more detailed changelog. You can download ROBOTC 3.59.0 here!
3.54 to 3.59 BETA Changelog
- Add watchdog timer support to VEX Cortex. This will allow the VEX Cortex User Processor to “restart” automatically once the processor crashes/is halted. Useful for any potential static issue that may cause the User Processor to “crash”.
- Change watchdog implementation from “windowed” watchdog to standard watchdog (no window, reset any time). Increase watchdog timeout to 0.75 seconds.
- In Debugger Motors display the last motor was not always properly updated. Fixed.
- Enable emulator for VEX PIC. Fix subsequent bug with “Motors” debugger display for VEX PIC locking up IDE when emulator is enabled; this bug should be limited to VEX PIC Emulator only.
- VEX PIC downloading was failing when master firmware was out of date. Getting stuck in a repetitive loop that wasn’t exiting. Fixed.
- VEX PIC was not executing user programs. Bug was that “start of flash file system VTOC” needed to be aligned on 4-byte boundary. Previous change had added a 1-byte field to the header preamble and there was not a corresponding 3-byte file added for VEX PIC. ARM platforms worked OK. This may also have broken Arduino (i.e. any 8-bit) platform).
- Added a Conditional Compile flag for tUARTs to avoid confusion between uartOne and UART1
- There are two separate flags for “allow any serial port for communications” — one for VEX Cortex and one for all other platforms. This was not obvious. Preferences “Environment” tab was only updating flag for non-Cortex; this has been changed to update the appropriate flag based on platform setting. The VEX Cortex flag can also be updated in the “VEX Cortex” tab.
- User configurable UART setup was screwed up for the platforms whose “uart 0″ is fixed as non-configurable and usable only for system communications port to PC — i.e. VEX Cortex, VEX PIC. The ROBOTC IDE was storing the data in the persistent data table (at start of flash file system) offset by one entry. I.E. data for “uart 1″ on VEX Cortex was stored in “uart 2″, etc.
- NXT color sensor read RGB individual values broken with pointer implementation. Change “getMemoryParmXXX” function calls to “getCommonParamaterValueXXX” function calls. Check rest of firmware for same mistake.
- New feature for 3rd Party Sensor Driver Suite to set the two digital I/O lines on NXT sensors. Added two new sensor types (sensorCustom, sensorCustom9V) for this along with two new property intrinsic variables to set I/O line direction and values; these intrinsic variables are bit masks (2-bits) for the two lines.
- “setPixel” intrinsic (and corresponding “clearPixel” and “invertPixel”) take “unsigned” parameters. But implementation was using “signed” parameters and not properly range checking if parameters were negative. If negative, then should do nothing. Instead they were incorrectly wring to invalid buffer address which eventually caused a firmware crash.
- Fix issue for “Motors” tab for Arduino in “Motors and Sensors Setup” property sheet. Was incorrectly trying to setup “encoder information for motor”, but Arduino platform does not “associate encoder sensor with motor” — which is currently only a feature for VEX Cortex.
- Added Support for Proxy Server when activating ROBOTC – Users can set Proxy preferences under “Detailed Preferences – General – Environment”.
- Incorrect generation of compiler error message when double pointer (i.e. “**”) is used.
- “Print” a range of pages was not working when the starting page was not ’1′. Fixed.
- Remove incorrect error message from error “Assignment between two different pointer types” when one side of ‘=’ is a ‘void *’.
- Compiler was incorrectly generating error message for “Expected a pointer expression in a pointer expression with ‘++’ or ‘-+’ operand. Compiler was incorrectly checking to verify the right operand was an integer value.
- Compiler was incorrectly generating error message for “Invalid pointer expression” in a pointer expression with ‘+’ or ‘-’ operand. One operand of the expression must be a pointer and the other operand must be an integer (without implied conversion of a pointer to an integer). Compiler was incorrectly checking for the integer — the expression incorrectly had a “!” in it!
- Change code generation of ‘var arg’ for pointers to be consistent with standard C — i.e. the value of the pointer is placed in the argument. This may result in an additional instruction generated when argument is a ‘string’; previously RobotC got too cute trying to save this extra instruction which only worked for “%s” format codes but was broken for “%d” on a pointer.
- In ‘sprintf” implementation for “%s” and “%p” format codes– change from “get Address of parameter” to”get value of parameter” to match corresponding change in compiler code. Also minor cleanup of “%s” and “%p” format codes.
- Assignment expressions of “<char * variable> = <char constant> were generating compiler error because the “<char constant>” was evaluated as a “string” type. Added code in “get expression type” to check for this and not generate error as the compiler auto converts “string” to “char *” during code generation.
- Fixes an issue with the Live Start Page and “check for updates” that may have caused crashes.
- Improved validation of pointer expressions. Fix bug in calculating expression type of pointer expressions like “<ptr sub-expression> + <numeric constant>”; the result was (always?) incorrectly set as “long *”? Also added check that “=” of pointer is from a pointer of the same type – otherwise generate error message.
- Fixed consistency in implementation of “random” intrinsic property.
- Eliminate compiler error message in constant expression evaluation of sub-expressions using “*” operator. If either of the two operands is ‘zero’ then result is zero regardless of whether the other operand is a compile time constant.
- Do not generate additional errors — “too many parameters” specified — when procedure is “compiler generated undefined symbol”.
- When switch between “real robots” and “emulator”, the function that calculates “size of RAM pointer variable” was not being called. It adjusts between 2-byte (VEX PIC, Arduino) and 4-byte (Emulator, VEX Cortex, NXT) pointer sizes. No issue with VEX Cortex and NXT as they only use 4-byte pointers. But a problem with VEX PIC and Arduino where real robots use 2-byte RAM pointers! Added the appropriate call to function setup.
- Small code optimization for “postfix –”/postfix ++” operators to avoid temporary. In some cases they can be simplified to prefix operands.
- Incorrect initialization of static variables in “inner scope” for local procedure. They were initialized every time inner scope block was accessed rather than once on program startup.
- Debugger Panes for “Locals” and “Globals” (especially Globals) was not properly handling updates to ‘long’ and ‘float’ variables. Globals was completely broke — only lower two bytes of 4-byte variables was being updated which broke ‘long’ and ‘float’ variables. In both, ‘char’ variables were updating a short value — i.e. overwriting following characters.
- Fix problem with incorrect user code using a “short” variable and “sprintf” format code of “%f”. This can crash ROBOTC VM firmware if the short variable is not aligned on a 32-bit boundary.
- Add additional entries for StringFind for Character Constants and added test program.
- Redefine datalog opcodes and intrinsics. Legacy datalog incompatible with 3.5x VM operands which split memory variables and intrinsic properties into separate items.
- Firmware for all platforms now call “datalogHandlerInit()”. Conditional compile will define as NULL macro if a platform does not support Datalog. Datalog support is now conditionally compiled via “bHasDatalog” define rather than hard-coded as NXT only.
- Fix incorrect compiler type checking error when string constant is assigned to a char pointer.
- Fix bug in check for “is this a preprocessor string comparison expression”.
- Eliminate preprocessor string comparisons in Natural Language and replace with “defined(_Target_XXX_) where “_Target_XXX_” are three new system defined preprocessor variables — “_target_Robot_”, “_Target_Emulator_” and “Target_VirtWorld_”. Sample programs modified appropriately. Legacy user programs using legacy definitions will still work but will generate a compiler warning about non-standard extension.
- Add registry flag to enable compiler extension to allow preprocessor expressions support for string comparisons. Generate compiler error message if encountered without the flag being set.
- “cast” code generation fix. Previously when cast changed sign of result the ‘cast’ was applied before expression was converted to ‘int’ size used during a calculation. So casting a “ubyte” to “int” incorrectly converted it to a “signed char”. What should happen is “ubyte” expression gets evaluated into an “int” as part of expression evaluation (all expressions are evaluated at ‘int’ (or higher) level in “C”) and then the cast to “int” has no additional effect.
- Function to extract numeric “COMxxx”. Expanded syntax to support successful parsing of “(COM99)” previously would not accept extraneous characters.
- Add improved Dialog for selecting Communications Port. It uses a list box to display information about the port. Add check box to select any communications port.
- Compiler crash when parsing invalid syntax of ‘?’ expression. Compiler was not handling the case when “NULL” pointer returned from parsing sub-expression. The “NULL” was incorrect.
We’ve just produced an exciting video that shows off the new RVW Level Builder! Check it out to see how easy it is to get started with the powerful new software.
Download the initial version of the software, here. For more information on the Level Builder, visit this page.
New Robot: Clawbot
- Clawbot features a 4-wheel, 2-motor drive system, an arm motor, a gripper, and the full array of sensors. Best of all, it’s fully programmable in ROBOTC!
- Additional sample code for Clawbot is installed with the update, and can be downloaded here.
Pre-loads and Automatic Scoring
- Both Gripperbot and Scooperbot can be pre-loaded with a sack! You can control what side the robot starts on, whether it gets a pre-load, and enable the autonomous duration all from the main menu.
- Scoring is fully implemented in this new version.
- Earn normal points from sacks, bonus points from bonus sacks, and even more bonus points from the autonomous bonus and “parking” your robot before time runs out.
- A cool, new timer and scoreboard keeps track of the match in the top-left corner of the window. Compete with your classmates or teammates to see who can get the highest score before time runs out!
- Driver Control loads are also implemented once the autonomous period ends. Introduce them into the playing field by clicking on the green sack icons in the top-right corner.
- Ever wonder why your Ultrasonic sensor “sees” the values that it does? Enable the new Sensor View to see what’s triggering the Ultrasonic sensor and the heading of your compass.
- We’ve improved the robot-sack interaction on all of the robots.
- The lighting and contrast of the game have been enhanced, making it easier to grab and score the sacks.
- Lots of small tweaks and adjustments.
To view the original post for the VEX Sack Attack virtual world (complete with video), visit this link.
UPDATE: Version 1.2.2 of the Ring It Up virtual world is now available, which includes additional starting points and memory management improvements.
Support for the IR Seeker and IR Beacon
- As the title implies, the IR Seeker and IR Beacon are both emulated in this new version. From the robot selection screen, you can choose whether your want your robot to start with the Compass or IR Seeker.
- The IR Beacon is randomly placed along one of the three columns, just like the real game.
- We’ve even added a cool, new “Sensor View” mode so you can see how the robot is detecting the IR Seeker, Sonar, and Compass values.
- Additional sample programs for using the IR Seeker are also installed with the update, and can be downloaded here.
- Both Scissorbot and Gripperbot can be pre-loaded with a striped ring!
- You can control what side the robot starts on, the color of it’s pre-loaded ring, and enable the autonomous duration all from the main menu.
- Scoring is fully implemented in this new version.
- Concepts like the weighted rings, owning pegs, line score bonuses and corner goal bonuses are all simulated.
- Cool, new timer and scoreboard in the top-left corner of the window. Compete with your classmates or teammates to see who can get the highest score before time runs out!
- We’ve improved the lighting and contrast of the game, making it easier to grab and score the rings.
- Improved robot-to-ring interaction and control.
- Lots of small tweaks and adjustments.
To view the original post for the FTC Ring It Up virtual world (complete with video), visit this link.
European, Asian, and African histories all reference an ancient city named Atlantis. According to legend, Atlantis was the center of trade and commerce for Eurasia thousands of years ago. Atlantis had incredible wealth due to a combination of prolific natural resources, people that were gifted and wise, and because it was located on a trade route used by Europeans, Asians, and Africans. For years we’ve thought that Atlantis was a myth, but with the emergence of new robotics technologies we are able to explore areas of the world that humans have never been to before. Read on to learn more.
The Ruins of Atlantis Virtual World is designed to reinforce behavior-based programming in a fun and meaningful way. Students can practice their ROBOTC programming, using a full set of virtual motors and sensors on exciting new robots, 6000 meters below the surface of the ocean. Example code found in the Sample Programs > Virtual World folder built-in to ROBOTC will help them collect as many gems and coins as possible throughout the world.
Here’s video of the new AnemoBot traveling through the Ruins of Atlantis.
Click here to download the Ruins of Atlantis.
Need help setting up Robot Virtual Worlds? Visit this page!