Archive for the ‘Software’ tag
The ROBOTC Development Team is happy to announce an update to ROBOTC for VEX Robotics – Version 4.05! This new version fixes a number of user reported issues and also adds a few new features and enhancements. We recommend that all ROBOTC 4.X users upgrade to the latest version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics. Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.05 today!
Also available today, users are able to purchase and upgrade to the new ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.x. To see pricing details and purchase/upgrade your license, visit http://www.robotc.net/purchase/vexrobotics/ (for Real Robots) or http://www.robotc.net/purchase/rvw/rvw-vex-4.php (for Virtual Worlds).
ROBOTC 3.x to 4.X upgrade details:
ROBOTC for VEX Cortex and PIC 3.X Upgrade
Perpetual Users (who purchased in 2013): No upgrade fee! Full purchase price will be applied towards same type of license for 4.0.
Perpetual Users (who purchase before 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
Annual Users (who purchased in 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
ROBOTC Virtual Worlds for VEX Robotics 3.x Upgrade
FREE VIRTUAL WORLDS UPGRADE FOR ALL EXISTING USERS!
In order to upgrade, you will need your existing LicenseID and Password information to complete the upgrade checkout process. A new licenseID will be generated for your upgrade license. For a walkthrough on the “upgrade” process, visit our ROBOTC.net Wiki page on upgrading your license.
The upgrade period for ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.x is only 6 months long and will expire on June 1st, 2014 – so upgrade today before it’s too late!
4.04 -> 4.05 Change Log:
- Moved Virtual Worlds folder to C:/Program Files/Robot Virtual Worlds (may be /Program Files (x86/) to support future products.
- Resolved an issue where ROBOTC would crash whenever a USB device was plugged into the computer on 32-bit (x86) machines.
- Fixed an issue where the “reverse” flag for Virtual Worlds was being applied twice (effectively ignoring the reverse flag)
- Fixed an issue where the “Check for Updates” was not triggering properly at the start of the ROBOTC application.
- Enabled the “Joystick Configuration” menu option – was previously hidden from end users.
- Updated Virtual Worlds Curriculum Companion to 3.3.1
Here’s a few notes before you get started with the new build with VEX IQ:
* Make sure you use the VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility and update your VEX IQ Brain to version 1.07 or later – this is required to use the new 4.03 Beta Version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics
* If you are using the VEX IQ Color Sensor, there is a new firmware version available for it as well. Upgrade the IQ Brain to version 1.07, then connect your VEX IQ Color Sensor and use the “Update” button.
* Inside of ROBOTC, you’ll want to download the latest ROBOTC firmware (version 10.03) to your VEX IQ. Use the “Robot -> Download Firmware” option to download this new firmware onto the VEX IQ Brain.
* If this is your first time using your VEX IQ kit with ROBOTC, make sure to take at the ‘Getting Started with VEX IQ Guide‘ on the ROBOTC wiki for instructions on setting up the VEX IQ system.
ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.X includes the new ‘Natural Language 2.0′ for the VEX IQ platform. Programming robots has never been easier than the new and improved Natural Language 2.0. Learn more about Natural Language and download our new documentation at http://www.vexteacher.com (Note: the VEX Cortex will continue using Natural Language 1.0 to maintain backwards compatibility.)
Here’s a few notes before you get started with the new build with VEX Cortex:
* There is new ROBOTC firmware for the VEX Cortex system. Use the “Robot -> Download Firmware” option to download this new firmware onto the VEX Cortex microcontroller.
* The default platform when starting ROBOTC for VEX Robotics for the first time is now VEX IQ. Cortex users can switch the platform back to Cortex mode by using “Robot Menu -> Platform Type”
* The VEX Cortex Master Firmware and VEX Cortex Joystick Firmware are still the same from ROBOTC 3.62.
After the firmware(s) has been updated, your VEX Robotics systems should be good to go! Take a look below for the basic change log and let us know if you have any questions/concerns, or if you run into any issues.
The ROBOTC Development Team is happy to announce the first beta version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.X!! This version (4.03 Beta) support both the VEX Cortex and VEX IQ platforms in the same programming environment. This 4.03 Beta version can be installed along side of your existing ROBOTC 3.x installation. Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.03 Beta today!
This beta version includes ROBOTC’s Natural Language 2.0 for the VEX IQ platform. Programming robots has never been easier than the new and improved Natural Language 2.0. Learn more about Natural Language and download our new documentation at http://www.vexteacher.com (Note: the VEX Cortex will continue using Natural Language 1.0 to maintain backwards compatibility.)
Important Note: All users will have a 30-day free trial period with ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.03 Beta – we will be opening up the order processing for upgrades and new ROBOTC 4.x licenses within in the next few weeks.
Here’s a few notes before you get started with the new build with VEX IQ:
- Make sure you use the VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility and update your VEX IQ Brain to version 1.07 or later – this is required to use the new 4.03 Beta Version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics
- If you are using the VEX IQ Color Sensor, there is a new firmware version available for it as well. Upgrade the IQ Brain to version 1.07, then connect your VEX IQ Color Sensor and use the “Update” button.
- Inside of ROBOTC, you’ll want to download the latest ROBOTC firmware (version 10.03) to your VEX IQ. Use the “Robot -> Download Firmware” option to download this new firmware onto the VEX IQ Brain.
Here’s a few notes before you get started with the new build with VEX Cortex:
- There is new ROBOTC firmware for the VEX Cortex system. Use the “Robot -> Download Firmware” option to download this new firmware onto the VEX Cortex microcontroller.
- The default platform when starting ROBOTC for VEX Robotics for the first time is now VEX IQ. Cortex users can switch the platform back to Cortex mode by using “Robot Menu -> Platform Type”
- The VEX Cortex Master Firmware and VEX Cortex Joystick Firmware are still the same from ROBOTC 3.62.
After the firmware(s) has been updated, your VEX Robotics systems should be good to go! Take a look below for the basic change log and let us know if you have any questions/concerns, or if you run into any issues. A more comprehensive change log will be coming in the near future!
4.03 Beta Change Log:
- Updated RBC Macro Files to support VEX IQ
- Fully updated CHM documentation to support VEX Cortex and VEX IQ changes
- Full support for VEX Cortex 269 and 393 Integrated Motor Encoders (IME) with PID and “move to target” functionality and motor ramping for smoother movements.Added new commands for VEX Cortex IME-based movements. Commands are similar to VEX IQ implementation.
- VEX PID Overview: http://www.robotc.net/wiki/VEX_PID_Control
- VEX Integrated Motor Encoder Functions: http://www.robotc.net/wiki/VEX_PID_Control_Functions
- Updated numerous commands to remove capital letters at the beginning of function names for consistently – older programs may generate warning messages, but will still work.
- Support for the “%f” (float) formatting code for the VEX IQ LCD Display.
- Encoders were being reset when program was stopped by the user, but not at the start of a new program. This has been updated so encoder reset occurs when program is started or terminated by the user (encoders are not reset when the program is suspended, only terminated).
- Fixed issue with “Software Inspection” dialog overwriting the “last firmware downloaded filename.
- (VEX IQ) Preserve “auto ID” sensor types for using sensors not defined in motors and sensors setup. Don’t allow overwrite with “sensorsNone”.
- Numerous other small bug fixes and enhancements (in depth change log coming soon!).
We are very happy to release the newest version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics – VEX IQ Preview. Download the new Preview Version today from the ROBOTC Preview Website.
This new preview version includes ROBOTC’s Natural Language 2.0 for the VEX IQ platform. Robot programming has never been easier now with the new and improved Natural Language 2.0. Learn more about Natural Language and download our new documentation at www.vexteacher.com
Here’s a few notes before you get started with the new build:
1. Make sure you use the VEX IQ Firmware Update utility to update your VEX IQ Brain to version 1.06 – This is important for using the new Preview Version of ROBOTC.
2. If you are using the VEX IQ Color Sensor, there is a new firmware version available for it as well. Download the 1.06 version into your Brain, then connect your VEX IQ Color Sensor and use the “Update”
3. Inside of ROBOTC, you’ll want to download the latest ROBOTC firmware (version 10.03) to your VEX IQ. Use the “Robot -> Download Firmware” option to do this.
After that, you should be good to go! Take a look below for the official change log and let us know if you have any questions/concerns or run into any issues.
VEX IQ Preview #3 Changelog
- Added support for VEX IQ with Natural Language 2.0 - Documentation Available Here!
- Support for VEX IQ Distance and Gyro Sensors
- Modified Motor Encoder based commands – encoders now operate in “Degrees” by default (360 counts per revolutions – used to be 960 per revolution)
- Numeous commands have been updated to fix the first letter being a “capital” letter.
- Update some function name commands to better reflect their usage. This may cause an error in your program and we apologize in advance.
- setMotorPosition -> moveMotorTarget (relative movements)
- setMotorPosition ->setMotorTarget (absolute movements)
- getMotorEncoderValue -> getMotorEncoder
- getServoPosition -> getServoEncoder
- getColor12Color -> getColorName
- getColorProximityValue -> getColorProximity
- getColorSaturationValue -> getColorSaturation
- getColorHueValue -> getColorHue
- ROBOTC File System for VEX IQ is operational – users have the ability to store up to 64 programs at the same time!
- Functions Library (left side-bar in ROBOTC) now has hover over text for VEX IQ Motor, Sensor, and Natural Language commands.
- Fixed issue where COM port “Select Port” dialog was being displayed twice when user hits “Cancel”.
- All sample programs updated to reflect new command names and features.
- Added sample programs for VEX IQ Gyro and Distance sensors.
- Added sample programs for VEX IQ Natural Language 2.0 functionality.
- Numerous other bug fixes and enhancements.
We are happy to announce that ROBOTC 3.62 is now available! This is a maintenance release that adds a few new features and fixes some outstanding bugs. This will be the last release for the 3.x family of ROBOTC products, barring any major issues that are reported.
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 3.62 contains four major updates, as shown in the change-log below.
3.61 to 3.62 Change-log
- Bug Fix: Fixed additional bug in “NXT Brick – Joystick” windows with the “Improper Argument” message box.
- Installer Fix: Updated Code Signing Certificate for Installers – No more scary warning when installing ROBOTC
- Update: Robot Virtual Worlds Curriculum Companion Tables – ROBOTC now includes version 3.0 of the Curriculum Companion Tables. All robot models have been updated to include grippers, arms, and new sensors such as Gyroscopes, Potentiometers, and IR Seekers. Find out more about recent RVW updates here.
- Update: License management now allows ROBOTC 4.x users to activate and use ROBOTC 3.x – users will be able to simultaneously have both versions installed on their computers without conflict. All ROBOTC 4.x users (new and upgrade users) will continue to have access to 3.62. Using both ROBOTC 3.x and ROBOTC 4.x with a 4.x license will only use one (1) activation from your license.
Over the next few weeks, we will start to release preview versions of ROBOTC 4.0 for the various platforms ROBOTC supports. ROBOTC 4.0 can be installed alongside ROBOTC 3.x to prevent any issues for users of ROBOTC 3.x. Users who purchase a ROBOTC 4.x license will be able to use ROBOTC 3.62 using the same license for added flexibility.
Important Note for FTC and VEX Competition teams: ROBOTC 3.x will be a legal language for the entire 2013-2014 competition season. Once ROBOTC 4.x is fully released, you will be able to use either version during competition. The ROBOTC development team does not recommend the use of “Preview” versions for competition.
A curriculum pacing guide is something that teachers have to consider whenever they examine their curriculum. This fact does not escape teachers of ROBOTC. Whenever I come across teachers who are just starting to use the ROBOTC curriculum, often their first question revolves around how long the curriculum will take. Once again, teachers are used to having some type of pacing guide that delineates how a subject is to be taught. The ROBOTC curriculum is not organized in that fashion. Instead, the curriculum is organized by topic. The topics include basic programming fundamentals, robot movement, robot sensing, etc. The teacher is then free to spend an appropriate amount of time within each topic.
As teachers, this freedom is welcome. It is welcome because the pacing that comes with most textbooks is an impossible guide to follow. In order to create a true pacing guide, student background knowledge would have to be taken into account. Since every classroom is different (sometimes within the same grade, within the same school), it is impossible to gauge how quickly the students are going to master the concepts as they are presented. Additionally, as the teacher becomes more familiar with ROBOTC, they will find that they spend more time on particular concepts then they did the first time they taught the curriculum. For example, when I first taught ROBOTC, I spent 20 minutes discussing Flowcharts and Pseudocode. Experience has now taught me to spend a significant amount of time on these topics. I also spend much more time talking about Errors. Specifically, what should a student do when they get the dreaded compiler errors in their program? Experience has taught me to spend much more time on thinking about the logic of a program before the writing of ROBOTC and on debugging strategies once the code has been written.
Each of the aforementioned sections of the ROBOTC curriculum contains a programming challenge. The programming challenged is designed to showcase the skills that were emphasized in that section. Each section also contains an assortment of “mini challenges”. These challenges can be used at the teacher’s discretion. They all do not have to be completed. However, they can be very useful. For example, after the students have spent a day or two learning a topic, I will begin the following class with one of these mini challenges. They might not know all of the skills needed to complete the section challenge, but the mini challenge is a good assessment of what has been presented so far in that section. This also serves as a good change of pace for the class. Simply, you can’t learn to program without actually programming. In order to really understand the applications of while loops or if/else statements, students need to apply them. The mini challenges found within the ROBOTC curriculum serve as a great opportunity to scaffold skills toward their more challenging applications.
A beginning teacher of ROBOTC could teach the basic ROBOTC curriculum in one semester. By including many of the mini challenges, the curriculum can be stretched easily over a semester. I often tell teachers who are teaching the class for a year to do this, and then to end the year with a larger programming challenge. After the students have made it through the ROBOTC curriculum, I enjoy introducing them to Multi-Robot Communication. The sensor needed (NXTBee) is inexpensive, and there are a lot of great ideas for activities and programming challenges.
If you have a stronger background in computer science, and maybe you are teaching older students, you may be able to navigate through the curriculum much faster. What then do you do with students if you have them for an entire year? Luckily, there are many great ROBOTC projects on robotc.net. Moreover, the ROBOTC forum is also a wonderful place to look for ideas for projects, in-class competitions, and programming challenges.
Teaching robotics and ROBOTC is a lot of fun. The ability to watch your students apply what they learn in the ROBOTC curriculum in such engaging and open-ended activities is one of the main reasons why.
Available today, all VEX IQ users will be able to download a preview version of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.0. The ROBOTC Preview for VEX IQ will allow users to program their VEX IQ robots using C-Programming and enjoy all of ROBOTC’s popular features including easy to use motor and sensor configuration, multitasking, and debugging tools. ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.0 adds over 75 new commands specifically for the VEX IQ, and has over 50 VEX IQ sample programs to learn how to get your robot moving and sensing!
The ROBOTC Preview for VEX IQ will only work with the VEX IQ system as of today, in the final ROBOTC 4.0 version users will be able to program both the VEX IQ and the Cortex using the exact same software. Everyone can enjoy a no-cost 90-day free trial of the ROBOTC Preview for VEX IQ. To enjoy the VEX IQ preview version of ROBOTC 4.0, head to preview.robotc.net to get started! The ROBOTC development team will be posting software and documentation updates frequently, so make sure to check back often.
Note: Existing users can use the ROBOTC VEX IQ preview alongside previous versions of ROBOTC.
Once the physical hardware (robotics kits) are secured for a classroom, the next step is to install the software (ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds). It would be nearly impossible to cover every single specific setup that could be encountered on a classroom’s computers, but this blog post will cover the basic installation steps and some of the more common installation issues that educators may run into when installing ROBOTC in a classroom.
The first thing you will need to do is install ROBOTC on the computers in your classroom. To do this, always make sure to grab the latest version of ROBOTC that your license supports from the correct ROBOTC download page. If the wrong version is downloaded and installed, or if there is already a different up-to-date version of ROBOTC installed on the computers, you will not need to uninstall and reinstall the program; instead, you will simply need to activate your license in ROBOTC (more on this later). During the download process, ROBOTC will also attempt to install the necessary drivers for communications with physical robots. Depending on the level of security on the computers, you may need to get your IT department involved in order to ensure that the drivers are installed properly.
Once ROBOTC and the appropriate drivers have been installed, you will need to activate ROBOTC on each computer manually. The license activation ‘unlocks’ the ability to download code to either a physical robot or a Virtual World, depending on which license is used. When ROBOTC is installed on a computer, all versions of ROBOTC (including different robotics platforms, such as the VEX and LEGO platforms, and different compiler options, such as Virtual Worlds compiler options) are installed at the same time. Instead of installing additional copies of the software on the same computer (or opening a new program every time you would like to change the compiler target), the additional platforms and compiler options are ‘unlocked’ by activating their respective keys.
Before we move on to the next blog (Setting up the Robots), here a couple more tips that may come in handy when setting up ROBOTC in a classroom:
- Depending on the programs, policies, and restrictions in place on the machines, your school’s IT department may need to be present for the installation or activation of ROBOTC, Virtual Worlds, or the installation of any drivers for the physical robots.
- If your school’s IT department images and deploys the classroom’s computers, make sure they reference the ROBOTC Deployment Guide on the ROBOTC wiki for important help and information.
- Make sure to check the computers’ hardware to the minimum requirements for ROBOTC or Robot Virtual Worlds before installing and activating a computer.
- Always test one computer first! If there is a problem with the installation, it is better to find out about it early and fix it before they same issue appears on a classroom full of computers.
We are happy to share a brand new Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) course called Inventor Tutorials. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to create a plate of spikes in Autodesk Inventor and import that object for use in the Robot Virtual Worlds Level Builder.
Autodesk Inventor is a robust tool used primarily to make 3D Models of mechanical parts and virtually assemble those models to make complicated objects. In addition, Inventor allows users to easily create technical drawings of parts for machine shops and instructions.
The RVW Level Builder is a tool included in Robot Virtual Worlds that allows you to create custom levels and challenges. The tool provides an empty virtual table accompanied with a library of various types of 3D models to construct the level. In addition, the tool allows you to create way points, objects and hazards. You can even import your own 3D models!
Sign up for CS2N and enroll in the course today at – Inventor Tutorials!
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.
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.