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Curriculum Preview: Intro to Programming VEX IQ for ROBOTC!

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We are excited to give you a preview into our newest curriculum series: The Introduction to Programming VEX IQ with ROBOTC. The website is still in-the-works, but it should be completely ready by August. The focus for this curriculum is on the VEX IQ virtual and/or physical robot and the ROBOTC 4.0 software featuring the new  graphical function. It consists of videos, PDFs, quizzes, and our famous easy to use step-by-step videos. Check out some of the videos of from our curriculum series …
 


 

 

 

The Introduction to Programming VEX IQ with ROBOTC is a curriculum module designed to teach core computer programming logic and reasoning skills using a robotics engineering context. It contains a sequence of projects (plus one capstone challenge) organized around key robotics and programming concepts.

Why should I use the Introduction to Programming EV3 Curriculum?

Introduction to Programming provides a structured sequence of programming activities in real-world project-based contexts. The projects are designed to get students thinking about the patterns and structure of not just robotics, but also programming and problem-solving more generally. By the end of the curriculum, students should be better thinkers, not just coders.

What are the Learning Objectives of the Introduction to Programming VEX IQ Curriculum?

  • Basic concepts of programming
    • Commands
    • Sequences of commands
  • Intermediate concepts of programming
    • Program Flow Model
    • Simple (Wait For) Sensor behaviors
    • Decision-Making Structures
    • Loops
    • Switches
  • Engineering practices
    • Building solutions to real-world problems
    • Problem-solving strategies
    • Teamwork

For more info and to see the online version of the curriculum, visit http://curriculum.cs2n.org/vexiq.

Written by Cara Friez

July 17th, 2014 at 7:45 am

VEX IQ HighRise for Robot Virtual World!

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HighriseWebBG

The ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World teams are thrilled to announce the availability of our newest virtual world: VEX IQ Highrise! Like previous simulations of the VEX competitions, this virtual world includes a fully programmable robot, the correctly scaled field, game objects, and score and timer tracking. It’s absolutely perfect for teams who want to do strategic planning and learn how to program.

Just like the official 2014-2015 VEX IQ competition, the object of the game is to attain the highest possible score by Scoring Cubes in the Scoring Zone and by building Highrises of Cubes of the same color on the Highrise Bases. Each Cube Scored in the Scoring Zone is worth a point value equal to the Highrise Height of the same color as the Cube. That is, if a team builds a Highrise of 3 red Scoring Cubes on the Highrise Base, a red cube in the Scoring Zone is worth 3 points.

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Check out our latest video highlighting the game:
 


 
The download for the VEX Highrise virtual world, along with additional helpful information can be found at RobotVirtualWorlds.com/VEXIQ.
 
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Written by Cara Friez

July 10th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Cool Project: VEX IQ Great Ball Contraption

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VEX IQ Great Ball Contraption 0134The engineers at VEX had some fun one weekend and built this Great Ball Contraption. It was featured at Brickworld 2014 as part of one of the world’s largest GBC’s!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Each module was created independently with common inlet/outlet bays so that they could be reconfigured in any order. They even include some of the new multicolored VEX IQ parts, coming summer 2014!

Do you have a cool project? If so, email us at socialmedia@robotc.net.

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Written by Cara Friez

June 26th, 2014 at 9:53 am

Cool Project: VEX IQ Quadruped

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Repost from BotBench

In my last post about the VEX IQ building system I had a small video featuring my VEX Quadruped.  I’ve done a bit of work on it since then and the gait has been greatly improved.  I also added some small rubber feet on the legs.  These are the traction links from the Tank Tread & Intake Kit.

Due to the heavy load that these motors are under, you may find that the batteries will run down a bit faster than you’re used to.  Good thing the kits come with a charger!

Up next on the agenda is to add some sensors and have it interact a bit more.  The little wheels on the bottom are not used when it is walking; the robot is fully lifted off the ground.

I’ve taken some picture, so you can see how it’s put together.  These should be enough to copy the design, should you wish to.  You can download the program to run this here: [LINK].  Note that part of the code is based on the excellent guide on creating an Arduino based quadruped: [LINK].

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CIMG3360 CIMG3361

CIMG3362 CIMG3363

CIMG3364 CIMG3365

Repost from BotBench

 

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Written by Xander Soldaat

June 3rd, 2014 at 11:17 am

CMU Robotics Academy Professional Development Classes are Filling Up Quickly!

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PD Blog

The ROBOTC Professional Development courses offered by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy are filling up quickly. Register today to make sure you get into your preferred course!

On-Site Training

Take one of our week long on-site courses in Pittsburgh, PA at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC). NREC is part of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, a world-renowned robotics organization, where you’ll be surrounded by real-world robot research and commercialization.

ROBOTC for LEGO / TETRIX
July 7 – 11, 2014
July 28 – August 1, 2014

ROBOTC for VEX CORTEX
August 4 – 8, 2014

Online Training

Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation with our online classes.

ROBOTC Online Training for TETRIX
July 21st – 25th, 2014
Monday – Friday for 1 Week
3-5:00pm EST (12-3:00pm PST)

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
July 28th – August 1st, 2014
Monday – Friday for 1 Week
3-5:00pm EST (12-3:00pm PST)

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX IQ
August 11th – 15th, 2014
Monday – Friday for 1 Week
3-5:00pm EST (12-3:00pm PST)

The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy’s Professional Development courses provide teachers and coaches with a solid foundation for robot programming in the respective languages, and experience in troubleshooting common student mistakes. It also focuses on identifying and extracting academic value from the naturally occurring STEM situations encountered in robotics explorations. All participants who complete the course will receive a Robotics Academy Certification. Find out more here – Robotics Academy Professional Development

Written by Cara Friez

June 2nd, 2014 at 11:15 am

Announcing ROBOTC 4.10 now available!

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Summer 4.10The ROBOTC Development Team is excited to announce the availability of ROBOTC 4.10 – an update for the both the VEX Robotics (Cortex and IQ) and LEGO Mindstorms (NXT and EV3) robotics systems. This new version includes new features and functionality for all ROBOTC 4.X compatible platforms.

  • Full support for the VEX IQ platform in ‘Robot Virtual Worlds’ – Updated “Curriculum Companion” to support VEX IQ
  • Support for VEX IQ 2.4Ghz International Radios (Requires VEX IQ Firmware 1.10 or newer)
  • Initial Support for I2C devices with EV3 platform
  • Updated Graphical Natural Language with new colors and commands!
  • Support for nMotorEncoderTarget in Virtual Worlds (NXT & Cortex Platforms)
  • Support for motor synchronization in Robot Virtual Worlds (NXT Platform)
  • Initial update of ROBOTC documentation (VEX Cortex/IQ Platforms)
  • Support for Project Lead the Way (PLTW) 2014-2015 School Year Users

Before you can use ROBOTC 4.10, you will need to ensure that your devices are up to date. The instructions to update your hardware will be different depending on what hardware setup you may have…

LEGO NXT Users

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

LEGO EV3 Users

  • Update your LEGO EV3′s Firmware/Kernel by connecting your EV3 and select “Download EV3 Linux Kernel” from inside of ROBOTC – This process will take about 5 minutes and will allow your EV3 to communicate with both ROBOTC and the EV3 Icon-Based programming language. After updating your EV3′S Linux Kernel, you’ll be able to install the ROBOTC firmware from inside of ROBOTC.

VEX IQ Users

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.10. You will also need to update your VEX IQ Wireless Controller by attaching it to your VEX IQ Brain using the tether cable. You 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 version 4.22 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install 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 find the “VEXnet Key 2.0 Firmware Upgrade Utility” utility here.
  • Link: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/index.php/Software_Downloads
  • 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 version 4.22 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.

Here’s the list of changes and enhancements between version 4.08/4.09 and 4.10.

New Features

  • Full support for the VEX IQ platform in ‘Robot Virtual Worlds’ – Updated “Curriculum Companion” to support VEX IQ
  • Support for VEX IQ 2.4Ghz International Radios (Requires VEX IQ Firmware 1.10 or newer)
  • Initial Support for I2C devices with EV3 platform
  • Updated Graphical Natural Language with new colors and commands!
  • Support for nMotorEncoderTarget in Virtual Worlds (NXT & Cortex Platforms)
  • Support for motor synchronization in Robot Virtual Worlds (NXT Platform)
  • Initial update of ROBOTC documentation (VEX Cortex/IQ Platforms)
  • Support for Project Lead the Way (PLTW) 2014-2015 School Year Users

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issue when deleting graphical blocks and ROBOTC would crash.
  • Improved error messages/status messages for Tele-Op based downloads with VEX IQ
  • Improved Licensing system features to provide more debugging feedback for -9105 errors.
  • Fixed to revert issue causing bad message replies on the VEX Cortex system which prevent downloading user programs. (4.09 only)
  • Updated CHM files and fixed issues in ROBOTC opening the wrong CHM file.
  • Update colors properly with the new document architecture with graphical.
  • EV3 – Casper update to prevent crashing when using VMWare Virtual Machines.
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Add USB ‘Directional Pad/POV Hat’ values for use with armControl with Virtual Worlds for IQ
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Added the ability for Graphical XML Documents to contain “RBC Macro” parameters.
  • Licensing system update to fix “heartbleed” like issues that may be present during activation.
  • EV3/IQ – Eliminate duplicate identical definitions in robotcintrinsics.c for motor commands.
  • Add new EV3 commands for sending I2C messages
  • Fix a bug in compiler generation of ‘string’ concatenation (i.e. “+”) operator.
  • Bug in code generation. Incorrect generation of opcode bytes for “opcdAssignGlobalSShort”; old format using 1-byte global index instead of new format with 2-bytes.
  • Update timeouts for VEX Cortex with new Master Firmware 4.22 for use with VEXnet 2.0 Radios.
  • Renamed DrawCircle to drawCircle
  • Fix Compiler bug with “%” and “>>” opcodes. Most of the “>>=”, “<<=”, “%=”, “&”=, “|=”, and “~=” opcodes don’t care whether the left-hand operand is ‘signed’ or ‘unsigned’. That’s how they were treated in current compiler / VM. However, “>>” and “%” opcodes do care if “signed’ vs ‘unsigned’ where the operand size is either ‘char’ or ‘short’. This change fixes that situation. This problem has been undetected since the introduction of ‘unsigned char’ and ‘unsigned short’ types were introduced.
  • 4WD Support for Natural Language with VEX IQ.
  • VEX IQ Graphical – Changes to “moveMotor” command to allow it to move in reverse if user specifies a negative quantity or speed, not just speed
  • VEX IQ Grahpical – Adjust the Graphical arcadeContorl and tankControl commands to only show channels; adjust armControl to only show buttons; add default values to most commands
  • Virtual Worlds – regulated motor movements for RVW;
  • VEX IQ – Fixed VEX IQ bug where I2C traffic would be considered “timed out” on VM startup.

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

Written by Cara Friez

May 28th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Announcing VEX Skyrise Robot Virtual World!

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The ROBOTC and Robot Virtual World team are thrilled to announce their latest virtual world: VEX Skyrise! The VEX Skyrise virtual world simulates the brand new VEX Robotics Competition, announced today at VEX Worlds, for the 2014-2015 season. Like previous simulations of the competitions, this virtual world includes multiple fully programmable robots, the correctly scaled field and game objects, and score and timer tracking. It’s absolutely perfect for teams who want to do strategic planning and learn how to program. Check out video of the new game here!

VEX Skyrise

VEX Skyrise features very high scoring goals this year. To account for this, we’ve added a brand new robot: RVW VEX Scissorbot. Scissorbot can pick the cube game objects off of the ground and quickly score them in the highest goals. It is fully programmable with motors, encoders, a gyro sensor, sonar sensor, potentiometer, and line tracking sensors.

Scizzorbot

We’ve also adapted our RVW VEX Scooperbot model with a gripper and linear slides, allowing it to grab game objects from the floor, extend its arms, and drop them onto the goals. We’ve dubbed this version RVW VEX Fantasticbot. It also features a full set of motors and sensors, making it fully programmable.

Clawbot

The download for the VEX Skyrise virtual world, along with additional helpful information can be found at RobotVirtualWorlds.com. To help you get started, sample code is included with the world, but also can be downloaded here:  RVW VEX Skyrise Sample Code

Good luck to all of the VEX teams at Worlds during the final day of the competition. We look forward to another great season!

 

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Written by Jesse Flot

April 26th, 2014 at 12:53 am

Student POV: Robovacuum

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Alexis and Noah are back again with another Student POV! This time, sharing how they programmed a robovacuum in ROBOTC Graphical Language for the VEX IQ platform.

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In this challenge, we programmed the Vex IQ robot to perform a task that was based off of the robotic vacuums that vacuum autonomously while avoiding obstacles. Our challenge was to program a robot that would perform like a robotic vacuum. Therefore it would be able to move autonomously while avoiding obstacles.

We started our program by putting in a repeat forever loop. This means that our program will continuously run until we stop it with the exit button on the Vex IQ brain.

RoboVacuum1

We then made a plan on what we needed our robot to do. Within the repeat loop, we had to put an “if else” statement. An if else statement is a command that makes a decision based on a condition. With our program, our condition is the bumper sensor. The robot checks the condition of whether or not the bumper sensor is depressed. If the bumper sensor is not depressed, it will run the command inside the curly braces of the if statement. If the bumper sensor is depressed, it will run the commands inside the brackets of the else statement. We had to put this statement inside a repeat forever loop because without it, it would only make this decision once.

RoboVacuum2

We then had to decide what task the robot was to perform when the sensor was depressed. So we set up commands within the curly braces of the else statement shown here.

RoboVacuum3

Below is an image of the final program.

RoboVacuum4

Now our robot is able to move around autonomously while avoiding different obstacles!

- Alexis and Noah

 
 

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Written by Cara Friez

April 17th, 2014 at 8:30 am

Student POV: Slalom Challenge

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It’s Danica and Jake, back again! This time, teaching people about the slalom challenge, in ROBOTC Graphical Language for the VEX IQ platform. The challenge is to line follow using the VEX IQ color sensor without hitting the “mines”, also known as the cups.

#5

In the graphical organizer, to line follow on the left side of the line, all you have to do is use the block, lineTrackLeft, to follow the right side you have to use lineTrackRight.

#1

In this block, there are 3 boxes, one for the threshold, the second for the speed of the left motor, and the last box is for the speed of the right motor. In this line of code, the threshold of 105, the robot’s left motor is set to go at 50% power, and the right motor is set to go at 15% power.

This block has to be included into a repeat loop to make sure the robot continues to do this command for an allotted amount of time.

#2

The repeatUntil loop has many options for how long the loop should run. For this challenge, we decided to use the timer.

#3

The timer is set at 7000 milliseconds or 7 seconds, so it has enough time to make it through the slalom. Our finished program looks like this:

#4

Now you can line follow in any challenge you would like, the possibilities are endless!

 
 

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Written by Cara Friez

April 2nd, 2014 at 7:47 am

Update – ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.08

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ROBOTC logo 4 UpdateThe ROBOTC Development Team is excited to announce the availability of ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.08 – an update for the VEX Cortex and VEX IQ platforms. This new version supports the latest firmware versions provided by VEX Robotics (4.20 for VEX Cortex / 1.09 for VEX IQ) and all of the new features supported by the new firmware updates. Some of these new improvements include:

- Support for the VEXnet 2.0 (white) Radios for the VEX Cortex
- Bug Fixes for the VEX IQ system to prevent “I2C Errors”
- Speed enhancements for VEX IQ for better performance of motors and sensor
- New VEX IQ commands for Gyro sensors

This new version of ROBOTC also supports the VEX IQ “Graphical Natural Language” feature. This new interface allows users 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 allows any robotics user to get up and running with programming their robots as soon as possible. As of today, the Graphical Natural Language commands work with the VEX IQ system, but we’re actively developing support for ALL ROBOTC supported platforms!

Before you can use ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.08, you will need to ensure that your VEX devices are up to date. The instructions to update your hardware will be different depending on what hardware setup you may have…

  • VEX IQ Users
    • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ brain to firmware version 1.09. You 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 version 4.20 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install 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 find this 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 version 4.20 from inside of ROBOTC. After updating your master firmware, you will also have to install the latest ROBOTC firmware as well.
    • Note that this new firmware version will support download and debugging with both VEXnet 1.0 (black) and VEXnet 2.0 (white) keys.

Here’s the list of changes and enhancements between version 4.06 and 4.08.

VEX Cortex:

  • Support for VEX Cortex Master Firmware 4.20 and VEX Game Controller Master Firmware 4.20
  • Support for wirelessly download and debugging using the new VEXnet 2.0 2.4Ghz radios.
  • Fixed an issue with launching ROBOTC in “Virtual Worlds” mode, which may incorrectly choose the wrong compiler target.
  • Fixed issue with Windows XP/Vista/8 where ROBOTC may crash when unplugging/plugging in a device

VEX IQ:

  • Improved motor responsiveness (16ms update cycles as opposed to 50ms today – this was a mitigation for the I2C issues in the current Master FW)
  • Improved sensor responsiveness (varies by sensor – this was a mitigation for the I2C issues in the current Master FW)
  • Gyro sensors can now return either integer values (getGyroDegrees/getGyroRate) or floating point values (getGyroDegreesFloat/getGyroRateFloat)
  • Fixed a bug where the Gyro sensor was not using the “rate” setting to properly return a deg/sec calculation for the getGyroRate command.
  • Exposed the ability to calibrate the gyro sensor from the user program and specify the number of “samples” to take during calibration (more samples = less drift = longer calibration time)
  • Also added a boolean “get” command to read the gyro calibration status bit to know when calibration is done.
  • New PWM adjustment function – allows users to trigger a specific VEX IQ motor to read the current battery voltage from the VEX IQ brain to adjust the PWM scale factor in the motor to ensure consistent performance. This is automatically done each time a program is executed with ROBOTC, but for longer programs end-users might want to readjust the PWM scale factor.
  • New “read immediate current” from motor – returns a value in mA
  • Modified functions for “motor strength” – renamed these to be “motor current limit” and uses values in mA instead of 0-255 byte value. These commands used to be called “getMotorStrength” and “setMotorStrength” – they’re now renamed to “getMotorCurrentLimit” and “setMotorCurrentLimit”
  • Fixed an issue with “Graphical” mode where users may start up in “Cortex” mode and the function library will appear blank
  • Fixed an issue when “Natural Language” mode was enabled that normal sample programs may not run properly (using the leftMotor/rightMotor keywords)
  • Fixed issue with Windows XP/Vista/8 where ROBOTC may crash when unplugging/plugging in a device

If you have any questions or issues, contact us at support@robotc.net. Happy Programming!!

 
 

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Written by Tim Friez

March 26th, 2014 at 8:40 pm