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Student teams program interplanetary robots

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Engineering teams have been given a set of topographical maps and a sophisticated robotic system

to solve a set of robotic challenges using state of the art software, telecommunications, and multi-sensor feedback.  Te

ams are using current methodologies demonstrated by the Mars Lander missions where NASA was able to remotely control its Pathfinder robot by sending snippets of code to control the robot enabling NASA to explore the Martian surface. Today, teams are challenged to write code that enables their robots to autonomously collect fuel cells to power-up the communications system of an abandoned robotic mining colony. The simulation software that enables this challenge to take place is being jointly developed by the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Robomatter Incorporated.  The software is being designed to inspire a larger percentage of students to pursue computer science related careers.

Computer science and robotic technologies are changing all facets of industry and the country that inspires its brightest students to pursue these areas of study will begin to secure its economic future. DARPA and other government agencies looking at our country’s economics are concerned that the United States doesn’t have enough students pursuing advanced computer science to stimulate future innovation.  The Robotics Academy and Robomatter have developed a new robotics education game called “Operation Reset”.  Operation Reset is a simulated virtual world where robots are controlled using ROBOTC, a leading educational robot programming language, and Unity Technologies game development cialis engine. The simulation software provides an inexpensive solution  that allows students to program virtual robots which are equipped with a full physics engine and capable of providing real-time feedback using simulated encoders, sonar sensors, compass sensors, and light and touch sensors. The robot virtual world simulation is supported by free training materials which can be found at  The software enables students to control their virtual robots using the exact same code that they can use to program their LEGO and VEX robots.  The newer worlds have a videogame like feel to them designed to motivate and enrich the learning experience. If you already have the RVW license Operation Reset is a free download.

This project is part of the newly emerging Computer Science Student Network. Operation Reset has evolved from initial research conducted by the Robotics Academy around Robot Virtual Worlds into a multifaceted product being distributed through Robomatter Inc.

The Robot Virtual Worlds are programmed using ROBOTC software, which is used in robotic education classrooms and competitions across the globe. Programmers are able to use the same code on the simulated virtual robots and the real world robots. You can download and test out the beta version of the software here. For optimal performance your computer should meet the following specifications:

  • PC Compatible OS: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo processor family or better, AMD Athlon X2 processor family or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800GTS or better, ATI Radeon™ HD 3850 or better
  • DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c and DirectX® 10
  • Hard Drive: 200 MB free hard drive space
  • Sound: Standard audio device

Read more about computer requirements for Robot Virtual Worlds here.

For information about The Robotics Academy, ROBOTC Programming language and The Robot Virtual Worlds visit the following links:

Written by Robin Shoop

November 29th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Posted in General News