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VEX IQ Virtual Challenge – Beltway!

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We are excited to announce our brand new programming game, Beltway, just in time for the kickoff of the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge!

beltway medium

In Beltway, you will program your VEX IQ robot to autonomously score as many cubes as possible during the 2 minute period. The standard Highrise game has been augmented with a conveyor belt around the perimeter and several other game play elements. Click here for a more extensive list of the new rules and game play. Beltway is available in the latest update to the VEX IQ Highrise Robot Virtual World download.

Check out this video of one of the new Virtual VEX IQ models, Clampbot, scoring in Beltway:

We include sample code to help you get started when you install the Robot Virtual World. You can locate it in ROBOTC by going to File > Open Sample Program, and choosing the Highrise folder. Get started today, and keep submitting your high scores and code to CS2N!

Check out our previous post on the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge, here.

Written by Jesse Flot

November 14th, 2014 at 4:45 pm

ROBOTC 4.27 Update is Available Today!

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ROBOTC 4-27

The ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce our latest release update, ROBOTC 4.27! This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems and includes new features, functionality and a load of bug fixes! Download the latest update and take a look at the setup information below.

Download ROBOTC 4.27 here! 

Important Setup Information for ROBOTC 4.27:

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.

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 4.26 -> 4.27 Change Log:

  • Support for the EV3 platform in Robot Virtual Worlds.
  • Updated NXT 3rd Party Sensor Library with latest release from BotBench.com
  • Update Built In Variable files for missing EV3 compatible commands.
  • Added EV3 motor synchronization functions: setMotorSyncEncoder and setMotorSyncTime.
  • Add “Autobot IQ” as a standard model for VEX IQ platform.
  • Fixed an issue where bad parameters to “Read Data from Flash Memory” message may cause problems for EV3 downloading.
  • Fixed NXT Joystick issue – update to JoystickDriver.c to start the “readMsgFromPC” task upon first request for joystick data (prevents Natural Language from keeping the task from starting).
  • Set the “Project Explorer” window to be hidden by default.
  • Added 200ms sleep to EV3 prolog code after sensors have been reset and configured. Ensures first reads from sensors in user programs contain useful data.
  • Updated “Official” kernel image for EV3 to remove debugging noise on sensor port #1 – Version number is still 1.06X, but requires users to update the EV3 Kernel.
  • Task queue was not being initialized for EV3 firmware except when running with Debugger. Caused all multitasking programs started from the On-Brick EV3 GUI to fail.
  • Adjust NL Libraries for Forward/Backward issues on NXT platform.
  • Adjust EV3 Motor Commands (moveMotorTarget, setMotorTarget) to use a better ramping algorithm – movements are now a lot more reliable.
  • Updated licensing system to fix potential encryption vulnerabilities.
  • Fix a bug where an incomplete TETRIX configuration line will cause ROBOTC to crash.
  • Added a super user toggle to silence the “Must set Team Number” value for Cortex Competition Mode.
  • Fixed issue where Debugger Windows (Motors, Sensors, Variables) were not appearing after subsequent downloads/debugging sessions.
  • Fixed issue with EV3 touch sensor and EV3 bumped sensor values (and resetting those values) in EV3 Firmware.
  • Updated Swervebot “standard model” to include VEX Motor IMEs
  • Fix an issue with “Save As” always pointing to the “My documents” folder – this forced redirect should only take place for saving NEW files.
  • Modify Natural Language main include to be a “warning” instead of error when using emulator mode.
  • Added new RBC Macro Command to switch “External Controllers” flag.
  • Fix encoder issue with emulator platforms (mix between raw encoder counts and “scaled”)
  • Fixed a bug where the joystick station would not appear / crash ROBOTC when using IQ or Cortex platforms.
  • Fixed accidental bug where motorPWM was disabled for the NXT platform.
  • Fixed a bug where Virtual Worlds/Emulator VEX IQ was not displaying the correct values in the debugger for the specific color sensor mode.
  • Remove some unneeded color enums from EV3 native bytecodes libraries.
  • Improved support for use of “enum” and “struct” keywords. Previously declarations were of the format ” “; now they can also be of form “struct “. Similarly for “enum” keyword. ROBOTC compiler is a blend of C and C++ syntax for “enum” and “struct” recognition.
  • Fix “Include” file issues (i.e. forward slash vs back slash + relative path issues)
  • Add special “Start Page” if users have a PLTW license.
  • Functions whose return value is “void *” were incorrectly generating a ROBOTC compiler error.
  • Added VEX Cortex 4.23 Firmware Images
  • Added support for VEX IQ 1.13 Firmware
  • Enhancements to Virtual Worlds Joystick Control with Natural Language/Graphical
  • Updated values the Joystick Debuggers display when buttons are pressed.
  • Increased height of the Joystick Station Debugger Windows to allow multiple buttons descriptive text

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

Written by Cara Friez

November 6th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Visit us at the PLTW Summit 2014!

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Photo Nov 02, 3 21 40 PM We are at the 2014 PLTW Summit in Indianapolis this week! Stop by our booth to say hi and ask us questions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Nov 02, 9 32 09 PM

We also have our latest iPad app, Robot Virtual Worlds Expedition Atlantis, available to try out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Nov 02, 5 00 43 PMAnd there is a ROBOTC Maze Challenge where you can program a VEX IQ robot using ROBOTC Graphical.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Nov 02, 9 32 15 PM

We look forward to seeing everyone!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Written by Cara Friez

November 3rd, 2014 at 6:30 am

Sign Up for the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge!

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free-graphical

We are very excited to announce the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge! This challenge is part of an ongoing research project by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy and the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center designed to assist robotics teams learning to program.

teacherstudentmessageParticipating students will learn programming that enables them to solve this year’s VEX IQ Virtual Highrise Challenge. As they learn they will also earn an Introduction to Robotics and Programming Certification.

Robomatter is pleased to be working closely with the Robotics Academy to create high quality STEM learning experiences, and has agreed to provide access to all related materials FOR FREE this competition season …

- This year’s Virtual HighRise Challenge Game
Programming Curriculum to help you learn to program
A live online course to help guide you through the curriculum
Free ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds Software for active participants
Digital Certification for students who complete the course and challenge

The first online training course starts October 16th, but you will receive access to the software, the virtual worlds, and the curriculum immediately when you register to participate.  In order to solicit responses to our research questions the ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World licenses are time limited, they will last until November 15, or if your students actively participate by working your way through the programming challenges you will have the license extended until April 2015.

To access these resources and find out more go to the VEX IQ Virtual Challenge page: www.robotc.net/vexiq

We hope that you participate in this project. If you have additional questions please send them to research@cs2n.org

Written by Cara Friez

October 3rd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

VEX Online Training Starts Soon! Register Today!

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OnlineTraining.235000

Only two more weeks until our Fall VEX online trainings start. Register for the VEX CORTEX and/or the VEX IQ class today! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation.

Benefits of our Online Training:
– Assisted training using provided hardware and software
– Screen sharing amongst the class
– Networking opportunities with other professional educators

 

 

VEX CORTEX

VEX CORTEX

 

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Oct 13th – Nov 17th, 2014
Mondays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)
* Graduates Earn a Robotics Academy Certification!

 

 

 

 

VEX IQ

VEX IQ

 

FREE ROBOTC for VEX IQ Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
6-6:45pm EST (3-3:45pm PST)

 

 

 

REGISTER TODAY!!

 

Written by Cara Friez

October 2nd, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Cool Project: VEX IQ GoProBot

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2014-09-05-14.30.09Xander over at BotBench shared a really cool video a couple weeks ago when he attached a GoPro to his VEX IQ that was programmed in ROBOTC. He didn’t get any pictures of the robot with the camera on it, but you can see where it was held by the rubber bands on the end of the boom in the pictures below. The angle of the boom was also remote controllable.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
And check out the video here …
 

 
Read more about this cool project and other things going on over at BotBench, here!

Written by Cara Friez

September 30th, 2014 at 7:30 am

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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Robomatter Blog Ad VEX IQ

Written by Cara Friez

September 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am

2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner!

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Scholarship WinnerThe 2014 REC Foundation and Robomatter Scholarship Winner is Cameron Akker of Redmond, Washington!

Cameron Akker is the 2014 REC Foundation-RoboMatter scholarship recipient and will receive $5,000 intended for students pursuing a degree related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Cameron attended Redmond High School and is a member of VEX Team 575, Exothermic Robotics of Redmond, Washington. He will attend Harvard University this fall. Cameron, on far right, is pictured here with his Exothermic Robotics teammates.

Cameron started programming for the first time in 9th grade and pursued a variety of summer programs to improve his skills. He began by learning ROBOTC, picked up Java at a Stanford University program, and took a course focused on robotics programming using language C at the University of Pennsylvania. Last summer, Cameron put his knowledge to use and got together with friends he met through robotics to start a mobile app company. Working straight through the summer, the group was able to create and release two Android games on Google Play.

When it comes to programming robots Cameron says, “Virtual worlds is an excellent interface through which I’ve been able to program without the rough, troublesome physicality of actual robots. It’s helpful to be able to test programs without the possibility of one mistake leading to a physical robot’s untimely demise. The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy sponsored Robot Virtual Worlds Competition provides an exciting chance to experience the thrill of robotics programming without needing to attend a physical robotics competition.”

“Understanding programming has also aided the way I build robots to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition,” continues Cameron. “Instead of building an entire robot and then programming it, I program the robot at every step of the build process. As a result, I don’t have to wait until the end of the build process to find broken motors or faulty engineering, but can rather find them along the way. Understanding programming has also allowed me to better set up sensors on a competition robot. Instead of putting sensors on the robot and later figuring out how to incorporate them, I only add sensors when there is a clear need in programming for them.”
The REC Foundation and RoboMatter congratulate Cameron Akker on his well-deserved scholarship award and wish him much success in his college career at Harvard University.

Robomatter Blog Ad RVW

Written by Cara Friez

September 15th, 2014 at 7:15 am

Robotics Academy Fall Online Training Schedule

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OnlineTraining.235000

We are excited to share our Fall online training schedule with you! Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation. Register for a class today!!
 

Online Training Schedule

EV3

EV3


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for EV3 Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
7-7:45pm EST (4-4:45pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

TETRIX

TETRIX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for LEGO / TETRIX
Oct 16th – Nov 20th, 2014
Thursdays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 

 

VEX CORTEX

VEX CORTEX


 
ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Oct 13th – Nov 17th, 2014
Mondays for 6 Weeks
6-8:00pm EST (3-5:00pm PST)

 

 

 

 
 

VEX IQ

VEX IQ


 
Complimentary ROBOTC for VEX IQ Webinars
Oct 14th – Nov 18th, 2014
Tuesdays for 6 Weeks
6-6:45pm EST (3-3:45pm PST)
 
 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

September 9th, 2014 at 7:30 am

Latest ROBOTC Update is our Official Release!!

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ROBOTC 4-26

We’re very excited for our official release update, ROBOTC 4.26!! This update is for the both the VEX Robotics (CORTEX and IQ) and LEGO MINDSTORMS (NXT and EV3) robotics systems.

Some of these new updates include …

  • Full EV3 Functionality (Sounds, LCD, LEDs, Sensors, Motors)
  • Graphical Language for all platforms (VEX IQ, VEX Cortex – LEGO NXT, LEGO EV3)
  • Updated 3rd Party Driver Library for NXT and EV3
  • Updated Text Based Natural Language for NXT
  • Tons and Tons of Bug Fixes and Enhancements!

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.23.09

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.37.14

Screenshot-2014-08-15_17.25.23_____________________________________________________________________________

ROBOTC 4.25 -> 4.26 Change Log

  • Major Bug Fixes
    • Fixed Encoder Count Issue with VEX IQ Virtual Worlds – Encoders were not properly adjusting to the 360 count scale and may have caused issues when trying to use multiple “setMotorTarget/moveMotorTarget” commands.
    • Fixed Virtual Worlds for VEX Cortex platform – crashes when trying to download to Virtual Worlds with VEX Cortex platform are now resolved.
  • VEX IQ
    • Support for VEX IQ Brain Firmware Version 1.12
    • Increase timeout (4 seconds -> 10 seconds) for downloading over wireless for VEX IQ.
    • New VEX IQ Clawbot image for Standard Models
    • New Dialog Message for successful VEX IQ Firmware Downloading
  • VEX Cortex
    • Implemented fix for dual platform users who may experience compiler errors due to “External Motors/Servo Controllers” flag being enabled.
    • Check that a valid team number has been set for VEX Cortex Controller. The check is made during user program download when the download type has been set to “Competition”. Teams should set their VEX Team Number to assist with debugging at competition while using VEXNet 2.0 (white) radios.
  • LEGO EV3
    • Adjust EV3 Standard Model – Motor ports were reversed (left vs right)
    • Adjusted all EV3 Graphical Sample Program to reflect new “standard model”
    • Support for draw picture (BMP) file on LCD screen. Does not support general BMP files, but rather LEGO specific picture files.
    • Fixed an issue where the EV3 “Reset Gyro” command was not properly resetting the Gyro value.
    • “getBatteryCurrent” command has been fixed.
    • Improved usage of Casper’s “search for devices” so that USB connected EV3 that are disconnected during a ROBOTC session are better handled.
    • Crashes to ROBOTC after closing the IDE Editor after communicating with an EV3 have been resolved.
  • Virtual Worlds
    • Additional Logic to have “TETRIX” based Virtual Worlds appear if the “External Motor/Servo Controller” flag is toggled. Currently they do not appear under any condition.
    • Fixed bug hiding “Joystick Control – Basic” for Virtual Worlds users.
  • Graphical Interface
    • Prevent ‘text’ and ‘graphical’ menus from becoming undocked from the ROBOTC interface – doing so may cause the main ROBOTC interface to become unresponsive.
    • Fixed bug where empty parameter values were using the last provided string as opposed to overwriting with “Blank” values – applies for the “MultipleMotor” Graphical commands.
  • ROBOTC IDE / General
    • Text-Based Function Library will no longer show commands that have been deemed “deprecated”
    • Update “Errors” to “Compiler Errors” based on user’s feedback.
    • Change compiler “error” to “warning” for assignment of a pointer value to an int without use of a cast.
    • Compiler was incorrectly allocating temporary variables during evaluation of “&(NULL)” types of expressions. Fixed.
    • Updated Help documentation files.

Download ROBOTC 4.26 here! And ensure that your devices are up to date by following the instruction in our last post. 

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

Written by Cara Friez

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:07 am