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ROBOTC and Science Week in China

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IMG_3433In China, there’s a week dedicated to science and our China ROBOTC team was there to participate in the big event! “Science Week” is an annual nationwide event where students are encouraged to attend their area science and technology center to feel and see the latest development and innovation of the technical world.

“Beijing Science Week” is the largest exhibition in China. By winning the 2015 VEX World Champion title in VEX IQ programing challenge, China ROBOTC team was the only robotic educational institution invited to showcase the VEX IQ robot and Maker idea with the powerful ROBOTC programming software.

As honorable guest of the event,  Professor Kim Hyatt and Labash from CMU visited China ROBOTC booth and joined the award ceremony of Beijing Science Week in China.

As honorable guest of the event, Professor Kim Hyatt and Labash from CMU visited China ROBOTC booth and joined the award ceremony of Beijing Science Week in China.

At the closing event, China ROBOTC VEX IQ was awarded with the most popular demo by the crowd and Terry Sy, director of China ROBOTC, was awarded with Science Week Event Ambassador. Congrats to everyone involved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Cara Friez

July 7th, 2015 at 9:56 am

VEX CORTEX Trainer: Gyro Sensor Chapter Now Available!

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VEX Cortex Trainer The latest chapter within our latest VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available … Gyro Sensor! Located in the Sensing section, this chapter will allow you to to turn the robot by measurements of degrees.

Some of the lessons you’ll learn within this chapter includes:

  • How the Gyro Sensor works

  • How to account for the momentum of the robot when turning.

  • How to use the Gyro Sensor to reduce Accumulated Error.

  • How to use the Gyro Sensor to increase turning accuracy.

 

Gyro Chapters
 

Check out one of the chapter videos here:


 

End Gyro SectionAt the end, there are two programming challenges, Mine Traversal and Robo 500, that can be completed with either a physical or virtual robot.

 

Check out the entire curriculum here!

 
 
 

Written by Cara Friez

July 2nd, 2015 at 7:25 am

CMU’s Robotics Academy Fall 2015 Online VEX Training Schedule!

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Teacher_VEX copyCarnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy has announced their Fall ROBOTC online VEX training schedule, which starts in September! The Robotics Academy is a world leader in robotics education and trains teacher internationally. Enjoy the convenience of taking courses without leaving your own computer workstation.

Robotics Academy online training includes:

  • Online access to supplemental lessons from Robotics Academy materials
  • Technical support for all hardware and software used in the class
  • 24/7 access to class management system, forums, and message boards (monitored daily)
  • Opportunities for Continuing Education credits and certificate of completion

 

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
Sept 22 – Oct 27, 2015
Tuesdays for 6 weeks
6 – 8pm EST (3 – 5pm PST)

 
 
 
 
 

 

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX IQ
Sept 21 – Oct 26, 2015
Mondays for 6 weeks
6 – 8pm EST (3 – 5pm PST)

 

Register Today!

 

Written by Cara Friez

June 30th, 2015 at 6:40 am

VEX CORTEX Trainer: Integrated Encoders Chapter Now Available!

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VEX Cortex Trainer We are excited to share our latest chapter available within out VEX CORTEX Video Trainer CurriculumIntegrated Encoders! Located in the Movement section, this chapter will allow you to increase movement accuracy and automatic movement corrections.

Some of the lessons you’ll learn within this chapter includes:

  • Introduction to the Integrated Motor Encoder as an alternative to Rotary Encoder.
  • How to use encoders to monitor movement.
  • How to use encoders to make more accurate robot movements (Straight line/ turn/ etc…)
  • How to enable PID speed control to enforce a consistent movement speed.
  • How to more accurately move the robot a certain distance.

 

Integrated Encoder Chapter

 

Check out one of the chapter videos here:


 
End Challenges
At the end, there are two programming challenges, Basketball Drills and Sentry Simulations, that can be completed with either a physical or virtual robot.

Check out the entire curriculum here!
 
 
 
 
 

Written by Cara Friez

June 23rd, 2015 at 10:39 am

Download ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.32 Today!

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ROBOTC 4-32
 

The ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce our latest update, ROBOTC 4.32. This update is for the VEX Robotics (VEX EDR CORTEX and VEX IQ) robotics systems and includes new features, functionality and a load of bug fixes.

 

Click here to download 4.32!
Important Setup Information for ROBOTC 4.32:

VEX IQ Users:

  • Run the “VEX IQ Firmware Update Utility” and update your VEX IQ Brain to firmware version 1.15.
  • 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 4.25 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 4.25 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.

ROBOTC 4.30 —> 4.32 Change Log:

Robot Virtual Worlds Package Manager

Robot Virtual Worlds Package Manager simplifies keeping your RVW worlds up-to-date and allows you to easily download new ones.

RBC Macro Editor

The RBC Macro Editor allows you to quickly create a ROBOTC Text-Based or Graphical macro file that will pre-configure many aspects of the UI, such as platform, the debugger windows that are to be opened, the default save-as file name and many others. If you are targeting Virtual Worlds, you can also select which world should be used.

General Changes

  • Debugstream has been made more robust to prevent buffer overflows and corrupted data.
  • Added quick access, “Add License” menu item.
  • Added command line option to deactivate all active, non-building licenses (-DEACTIVATE).
  • “SensorValue” intrinsic definition changed from ‘word’ to ‘int’. This will allow it be be either ‘short’ or ‘long’ depending on the native “int” format of specific platform.
  • CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+D” is new keyboard accelerator to open preferences.
  • All libraries (DLLs) and executables are now signed.

General Bug Fixes

  • Fix issue where a “save as” with a new document -> then a subsequent “save” would cause a “save as” prompt in the wrong location.
  • Fix enumeration bug in Joystick Driver
  • Context menu for large ICON toolbar changes now take immediate effect.
  • Fix the repeatUntil(0) warning message to say “‘repeat until’ expression is constant ‘0’. Loop will never exit.”
  • Fix issue with command line deactivation with building licenses
  • IDE was not removing error flags from graphical blocks.
  • Long operands on opcodes “&” “|”, “^” and “~” were incorrectly handling negative 16-bit constants.
  • Fix bug in addTo/MinusTo/DivideTo/TimesTo opcode when variable is a global short variable and the operand is a 16-bit or less compile time constant.
  • Fix issue that prevented functions that return pointers to be dereferenced in an expression.
  • Fixed a bug where the missing “Name” field would cause a crash for the command line activation.

Graphical

  • Hitting the Control key no longer deselects all the things.
  • Bug causing Graphical Block artefacts on the screen has been fixed.

VEX

  • Added 2 more RVW Cortex Standard Models.
  • Enhancements to improve the VEX Cortex IME functionality in Virtual Worlds
  • Fixed download firmware button not allowing you to cancel the procedure
  • Small fix for VEX Cortex to disable sensor ports during initialization to prevent solenoid jitter.
  • Fixed issue of “SQUAREBOT” standard model having PID control enabled with quadrature encoders.
  • Fixed issue of “SQUAREBOT” standard model not having the VEX LCD configured.
  • Removed the quadrature encoders from the “SQUAREBOT – IME” standard model.

Happy Programming!

Written by Cara Friez

June 12th, 2015 at 5:29 pm

The Robotics Summer of Learning is Back!

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SOL Coming Soon

We are proud to announce the return of our Robotics Summer of Learning program! This summer, students have the opportunity to learn how to program robots, earn a programming certificate and badges, and play with cool software for FREE! We will provide all of the software and training materials at no cost to you or your students.  The course will consist of three modules: movement, sensing, and program flow and will be taught using the Robot Virtual World software.

The Robotics Summer of Learning starts June 15th, register here and we’ll send you a reminder when it opens up!

VEX Users: Program Virtual Robots Without Downloading Anything New!

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Have You Explored New Worlds with ROBOTC?

ROBOTC has provided you with many challenges and learning opportunities, but did you know you can explore exciting new virtual worlds without downloading anything new? Try out Robot Virtual Worlds for FREE in ROBOTC with a 10-day trial!

See the instructions to get started at the bottom of this email!

What are Robot Virtual Worlds?

Robot Virtual Worlds are high-end simulation environments that enables users, without robots, to learn programming with game and competition worlds. Watch our video for more information!

Game Worlds!

Escape to one of our fantastic game worlds where you can use your programming skills to explore and complete challenges!

Ruins of Atlantis

We thought Atlantis was a myth. We were wrong. Your mission is to explore the Ruins of Atlantis, 6,000 meters below the surface of the ocean, collecting data and treasure as you do.

Palm Island Luau Edition

Visit the beautiful Palm Island and program your robot to drive along its boardwalk path. Collect coconut clusters and set lobster traps for the Luau.

Operation Reset

The mining colony of Alpha Base H99 needs your help! A terrible storm has damaged the colony’s equipment and we need you to use your programming skills to complete the mission.

Competition Worlds!

Practice your programming skills with virtual versions of popular robotic competitions.

VEX Nothing But Net

Try to get the most points by collecting and scoring the balls and bonus balls into the Low and High Goals. Elevate your robot into the climbing zone for bonus points!

VEX IQ Bank Shot

Get the highest score by emptying the ball cutouts, and scoring the balls into the scoring zone. More points if you can make a bank shot into the goal!

VEX Highrise Beltway

Autonomously score as many cubes as possible during the time period. Zoom around the beltway to move around. Beltway is a modified version of the VEX IQ Highrise competition game.

Getting Started

Starting your Virtual Worlds trial:

1.  Open ROBOTC (from the icon on your desktop or Start Menu).

2.  Click “Help”
in the menu and select “Manage Licenses”.


3.
  Click “Add License” in the menu and select “Robot Virtual Worlds – VEX” from the Product drop-down.

4.  Click “Start Trial”.

5.  Click “Close”.

Using Virtual Worlds:

1.  Click “Robot” in the menu and set the “Compiler Target” to “Virtual Worlds”.

2.  Click “Window” in the menu and set “Select a Virtual World to Use” to any of the virtual worlds installed.

Visit robotvirtualworlds.com to explore and download more levels!

If you need to go back to programming your physical robot, select “Physical Robot” from the “Compiler Target” menu.

Written by Cara Friez

June 9th, 2015 at 9:42 am

2015 Robomatter Scholarship Winner

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The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation isRobomatter-Logo pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Robomatter Scholarship, valued at $5,000 which invited students participating in the VEX Robotics Competition to submit an essay explaining how their participation in both the VEX Robotics Competition and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy sponsored Robot Virtual World Competition enhanced their understanding and application of programming. In addition, students were encouraged to share how programing skills and use of ROBOTC improved their robotics experience.

“It’s rewarding to hear that students, like Max Farr, gain valuable hands-on experience in programming through participation in the VEX Robotics Competition,” said Jason Morrella, president of the REC Foundation. “The REC Foundation is extremely grateful to partners, such as Robomatter, who make it possible for students to secure the resources they need to continue their education and pursue a post-secondary degree in STEM.”

The winner of the 2015 Robomatter Scholarship is: Max Farr, VEX Robotics Competition Team 21, from CHAMPS Charter High School in California.

“As our team’s driver and programmer, I rely on ROBOTC’s easy and approachable format to enable me to quickly plan, set up and execute commands that improve our game strategy and overall execution,” said Max Farr. “I also rely on Robomatter’s Virtual World at the beginning of every season to better understand the game and quickly begin brainstorming robot designs.”

The 2015/2016 season is now open with VEX IQ Challenge Bank Shot and VEX Robotics Competition Nothing But Net. Both games are available through the Robot Virtual Worlds too!

For more information about the REC Foundation and the scholarship program, please visit www.RoboticsEducation.org. And for more information about Robomatter, please visit www.Robomatter.com.

Written by Cara Friez

June 4th, 2015 at 5:30 am

VEX Worlds Recap: iPueo Robotics Team

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Branden Hazlet, Director of Technology for Maui Prep, shares with us his team’s experience at the 2015 VEX Worlds Championship in Louisville, KY!

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imageIt was a wonderful learning and exploring experience for our Maui students to participate with students from 29 countries in the VEX World robotics championships. Seeing hard working students from so many cultures coming together to cooperate in using intriguing technology was something wonderful. The student teams from across the world clearly felt honored to participate in such a massive gathering of clever young minds, an unparalleled gathering of student intellect in a massive 1.2 million square foot facility. That is roughly 200 football fields worth of great learning happening at the same time. As a culture, we honor the hard work of athletic teams with fanfare regularly, but it is something too rare that we honor our bright young minds in such a way that reflects their importance for leading the future. The Vex World Championships uses an intriguing model sometimes called coop-ertition — meaning that in every event there is a premium put on working with alliance teams. There is little chance of success in these events without a high degree teamwork within your own team, but of equal importance is cooperation across many partnerships with other teams. It is a model that ensures our students’ robotics experience is about more than robots…it is about working with other students. Beyond the coop-ertition of live robotics matches, teams must present an Engineering justification which documents their robotics build through multimedia and writing as well as through an oral presentation of student’s design thinking / structural reasoning. Then there is also an Autonomous robotics element where an emphasis is put on programming skills by doubling point awards for scoring that can be completed entirely by the robot running pre-coded programs with the use of sensors for direction, distance, light color, etc. Through all these elements, balancing the the human interactions with the technical knowledge, a model of education emerges that brings out the whole package of real world skills our students need to thrive in a changing world. And the best part…the students are just having a great time through it all…

image-3Our students spent a great week immersed in dynamic teamwork, creative challenges, technical puzzles, multicultural communication, planning and practicing strategies with alliance teams, rapid-fire as well as big-picture time management, resource management, interpersonal diplomacy, recovery from setbacks, getting right back to work after successes, identifying and depending on each other’s strengths, helping balance each other’s needs, constantly practicing, improvising, analyzing, prototyping, redesigning, finding consensus, stepping back from disagreement, stepping forward together …. Intense learning was going on across so many levels. The atmosphere of competition, total stimulation, constantly shifting team alliances and language challenges for communication all really put the emotional maturity expected of middle school students to the test…and it was satisfying to see we had given our Maui students the skills to rise to those challenges. We had matches with several teams from South America and Asia where the other teams spoke only a few words of English at best, some none at all. Between our students and the international students the teams managed to communicate their robot strengths, assess each other’s abilities then formulate a specific plan for making highly coordinated moves while continually giving each other feedback on positioning and making adjustments to the plan throughout the match. Thinking and communication skills that have been developed in years of parenting and education were called on for our students’ efforts. Thanks to all who have shaped these kids over the years. They have so much potential and such bright futures.

image-2Here is a quote from the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, which puts on the World Championships: “These students spent countless hours designing, building, programming and testing their robots over the course of the season at more than 1,000 local, state, and regional competitions (with participation from over 12,000 teams worldwide),” said Jason Morrella, President of the REC Foundation. “The truth is that all of these students leave the competition as winners. The teamwork and problem-solving skills they take away from this experience will successfully prepare them for future careers in STEM fields and serve them throughout their lives.”

For middle school students, beyond the STEM skills of technical and strategic optimization for competition, the ‘learning’ certainly extended to self-discipline and maturity dynamics…Staying focused, managing emotions, following through on directions/plans and keeping a positive tone in talking to each other despite stress were things the students became more aware of working on. As a middle school team the juggling of information streams, technical info along with the social processing and attentional demands despite so much stimulation are key parts of their developmental growth. These students certainly stepped their game up and grew through the experience. I think they have come back from this experience with a bit more capacity for directing their attention and managing themselves in a big pond; it is fair to say we have high expectations to push ourselves to new levels.

image-4For me, there were some super colleagues and coaches to watch in action and make connections with. Amazing high school and university teams for inspiration….as well as some middle school teams that were setting high water marks that expanded what I thought was possible for 12-14 year olds.

Out of the thousands of teams that competed this season, only 105 teams qualified for the VexIQ World Championship event. Maui Prep’s students worked hard to be among those teams and our iPueo’s final rankings, after a roller coaster of some early nerves, hitting stride mid-competition, then some hard fought last rounds where we earned both our lowest to our highest scores in the final two matches, gave us the following rankings:

Programming Skills / Autonomous – 21st in World Championships
Robotic Operations / Driver Skills – 21st in World Championships
Robot Team Work Skills – 33rd in World Championships

…Our goal was to take Maui Prep into the ranking of the top 30 middle schools in the world, so we hit the mark in two judged competitions, but missed by a small margin in the third category.

ipueo collageBeyond the rankings, our students from this little tropical island gained huge experience in competing at the world level, interacting on a technical and human level with many cultures, and working as a cooperative team with well known classmates as well as strangers. I think it is safe to say these students return to Maui as more mature young people with broader perspectives of than when they left two weeks ago.

I am proud of their effort, proud of their growth, proud of their accomplishment and proud of their potential as we look to take these 6th and 7th graders into next year’s season as 7th and 8th graders. One of the event highlights was the announcement of the new 2016 robotics challenge, along with new hardware and software releases which got the team pumped and creatively talking about next year’s robot design.

To have a little school from the pineapple fields of Maui competing with the world’s best in robotics was a great feeling of genuinely helping our kids prepare for dynamic futures in this changing economy where both intercultural and technical skills are required. Our students and school have definitely grown through this experience of participation in our first World Championship.

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Written by Cara Friez

May 12th, 2015 at 9:10 am

Summer Teacher Trainings are Filling Up Quickly!

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ban_eduProDev
 

Our on-site (in Pittsburgh, PA) and online Summer Professional Development classes for VEX CORTEX, VEX IQ, and LEGO MINDSTORMS are filling up quickly. Register today to make sure you get into your preferred course (listed below!)

Highlights of the Robotics Academy Training:

  • Acquire new skills with technology and new ways to teach STEM with robotics using innovative pedagogy!
  • No Prior Experience with Robotics or Programming required!
  • Hands-On Experience with 36 Contact Hours!
  • Learn directly from the curriculum and technology developers!

 

Here’s What People Are Saying After Our Trainings:

“You guys were fantastic! This was some of the most enjoyable and informative professional development I’ve ever attended. The instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to offer help when needed. I would recommend the Robotics Academy to any teacher that is wanting to get into robotics education.”

“I thought that just about every aspect of the sessions was valuable. As a person coming in with an almost zero knowledge base, I left feeling I had a strong sense of how things work and how I can immediately implement things in my classroom.”

“Instructors were great … this stands as one of the most enjoyable workshops/courses I have taken in a VERY long time. I learned a lot, I had a good time, I was challenged … what course could hope for a better outcome than this.”

 

Find out more at CMU Robotics Academy Professional Development!

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VEX and VEX IQ

ban_vexTeacherTraining
On-Site Classes:

ROBOTC for VEX CORTEX
July 6 – 10, 2015
July 27 – 31, 2015

ROBOTC for VEX IQ
June 22 – 26, 2015
July 13 – 17, 2015

Online Classes:

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX CORTEX
June 22 – 26, 2015
Monday-Friday for 1 week
3 – 5pm EDT (12 – 3pm PDT)

ROBOTC Online Training for VEX IQ
Jul 6 – 10, 2015
Monday-Friday for 1 week
3 – 5pm EDT (12 – 3pm PDT)

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LEGO

ban_legoTeacherTraining
On-Site Classes:

ROBOTC for LEGO
June 29 – July 3, 2015
July 20- 24, 2015

Online Classes:

ROBOTC Online Training for LEGO
Jul 13 – 17, 2015
Monday-Friday for 1 week
3 – 5pm EDT (12 – 3pm PDT)

Written by Cara Friez

May 8th, 2015 at 5:30 am