Archive for the ‘ROBOTC’ Category
China Daily Europe recently interviewed Terry Sy, executive director of China ROBOTC, about robotics education. Check out the article below!
They are here to teach, not to steal your job
Education using robots promotes employment, says licensee for top US training system
The widely held belief that robots cost jobs is a fallacy, a robotics expert says.
Terry Sy, executive director of China ROBOTC, the only organization authorized in China to promote what is considered one of the world’s premier robotics education systems, says: “Many parents have asked me about the future of robots. I tell them that if they want their children never to face unemployment, let them do something related to robots.”
ROBOTC was developed at the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University, the global research university, based in Pittsburgh.
It supports several different robotics platforms and features a variety of functions, including tips and tools for educators and parents on using robotics to teach children about math, science, engineering and physics.
Sy established China ROBOTC in Xi’an, northwestern China, which is considered the center of China’s aerospace, controls and automation market – the perfect location, arguably, to attract the kind of modern young minds who might consider a career in robotics.
“The people who make, apply and repair robots and who teach about robots will always be needed in future.”
Speaking at the recent China International Robot Show in Shanghai, Sy said he felt strongly that Carnegie Mellon’s programs and systems will be a huge benefit to the teaching of robotics in China, and will help narrow the knowledge gap that exists between Chinese and Western students.
The ROBOTC programming language has already been translated into 15 languages and used in more than 40 countries.
In the US alone, more than 300 colleges and 10,000 primary and secondary schools are using its curriculum, Sy says.
ROBOTC is a programming language that uses what is considered an easy-to-use development environment that supports several of the simplest and most commonly used different robotics platforms, including LEGO, VEX PIC, Cortex and Arduino.
It contains firmware that boosts performance and greatly improves program download times, its developers say.
It also features an interactive, run-time debugger, which helps developers find and fix bugs in programs, allowing them to view and edit all of the values that the robot sees – motors, timers, sensors and variables – and quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot problems in programs, greatly reducing the time it takes to develop a program.
“It is easy enough for primary students to learn, but also satisfies the needs of programming experts,” Sy says.
He had the idea of bringing the system to China in 2012, when he was in Beijing attending a national seminar on physical robots, on behalf of the Carnegie Robotics Academy.
At least 20 Chinese universities were at the event, and he found that many wanted to set up robot courses, but did not have qualified teachers, professional textbooks or robot platforms, let alone know how to run courses.
“Chinese students are very good at showing off innovative technologies in competitions, but China doesn’t have a good robot education system,” he says.
He adds the biggest defect in China’s robot education system, however, is that students are not taught how to program and just use existing written codes, which are not enough to develop their own talent further, so he decided to bring ROBOTC to China.
“ROBOTC language can support the world’s biggest robot platforms. It can help children become more innovative, and college students and workers gain more technical skills,” he says.
He chose Xi’an as it was less expensive and crowded than Beijing or Shanghai, but also because the region boasts about 60 universities.
He is now looking for a subsidiary in Shanghai, and more outlets are planned in other cities.
His plan is to increase collaboration with universities and schools by setting up robots in college laboratories.
So far two universities and several primary schools have adopted the system, and the goal is to bring it to 100 colleges, 100 middle schools and 100 primary schools, providing specialist robot training for teachers and technicians.
It is planned to offer training online, so the language can also be brought to people in remote villages or locations that do not have the resources to support robot education.
Sy is confident that despite robots still being a novelty to many in China, their use is set to grow fast.
In 2011, US President Barack Obama decided to give greater priority to the use of robotics in teaching the vital fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and Sy believes it is now important for China to move in that direction.
“That is why we want to bring this kind of robot education to as many parts of China as we can, to make it part of the Chinese education system. This training will definitely help people become more logical and confident.”
Check out some photos from their very first VEX Training in Xi’an, China!
Anna Lynn Martino attended one of our Professional Development classes recently and wrote a wonderful blog about her experience. Check it out below …
Last week I attended another teacher training at CMU’s Robotics Academy. My goals this year was to be more comfortable working with ROBOTC, which is the programming language that my FTC robotics team uses. Also, I am teaching/mentoring/moderating our robotics class in the fall. As a middle school with a programming class, I thought my students would be better served by teaching them robotC but also I thought it would be great to have them also prepped for the team if they are interested in becoming part of the team.
Above is a collage showing the ROBOTC graphical interface, some “regular” ROBOTC, and a Tetrix bot.
Again, it was a really great workshop and I learned a lot! It is crazy. I have been teaching Scratch and this summer I introduced kids to Python and some basic programming in Arduino and I was struggling with explaining variables and functions. I got the basics but I had a hard time explaining it because I do not have a Comp Sci background but this time, I totally understood how variables and functions operating within a programming language. Tim Friez, our instructor, was really amazing and his style of teaching was perfect. I think, that his style is what a lot of teachers are starting to go for – in the parlance of our field – student-driven/centered.
We also had a teacher, who works on curriculum development at the center, come in and give us tips and hints about teaching robotics. It was practical advice and just giving us tips on what to be aware of. Also, in order to have a class, there is a fair amount of start-up costs.
What you need:
- The Robot kits (you might want different types)
- Fields (for kids to do their challenges on)
- license for the programming language
- license for the curriculum
- remote controls
- wifi/bluetooth adapters
- challenge elements (blocks, balls, cut pvc pipes, folders or books for walls
- colored electrical tape
- expansion kits if you have advanced students (which you will probably have)
I also met some really amazing people and it was great hearing what their challenges are and how they dealt with them. Most of us were just “regular teachers” which also made the prospect of having a robotics class less daunting.
I am again super excited about it but I also realize that I need to recharge. I am taking the next few weeks to do that before orientation week. I worked all of June and July. I do not want to go back feeling like I did not have this time to process all that I did this summer and last year.
If anyone is thinking about teaching robotics, I would highly highly recommend the CMU Robotics Academy. They offer online and campus workshops in the summer. They are going to have webinar soon about EV3 and ROBOTC.
Follow them on Twitter @ROBOTC or subscribe to their blog
Thank you, Anna for the great blog post! To read more from here blog, visit her at www.annalynnemartino.com!
We were delighted to hear about an inaugural weeklong robotics summer camp happening in North Carolina that is using ROBOTC, ROBOTC Graphical, and the VEX Robotics IQ system to help teach students STEM while keeping them connected to their military families. (One of the mentors was trained at the Robotics Academy last summer too!) Read the story and watch the video highlighting this program below!
Reblog from East Carolina University’s News Service
ECU partners in Operation LINK mentoring program
Ten-year-old Tyrrek Grizzle took control of his paddle, maneuvering his miniature land mover with ease.
He and a teammate moved his robot across a grid and past an opponent to pick up as many green-colored blocks as possible and dump them in a coordinating green basket. The team that filled the basket with the most blocks in the three-minute competition won.
Grizzle attended an inaugural weeklong robotics summer camp through Operation LINK, an AmeriCorps school-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics mentoring program for elementary and middle grades students in eastern North Carolina. The STEM program, with a special emphasis on students from military families, will transition from an afterschool program to part of the regular school day this fall.
Offered this spring in Wayne County, the program aims to promote positive behaviors and success in school while keeping military youth connected to family. It’s a partnership between East Carolina University, AmeriCorps, military family support networks, veterans groups, community colleges and public schools.
The summer camp, held at Greenwood Middle School in Goldsboro, allowed students to make real robots from designs they developed in their afterschool program.
Counselors and campers used a box kit to construct a robot with up to 650 pieces. A software program (ROBOTC) developed at Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy gave the students the ability to control movements.
“We had fourth-graders writing code,” said Michael “Mike” Dermody, associate professor of cinematic arts and media production in the ECU School of Art. Dermody, who grew up in a military family, said “It’s amazing how quickly they adapt. It’s a very tactile and hands-on experience. They go in and test and modify it. There’s lots of activity between the computer itself and the robot.”
For Grizzle, a rising fifth-grader at Tommy’s Road Elementary School, taking his work from the computer lab to create a functioning robot is exciting. “Robots help you in a lot of ways,” said Grizzle. “They help us do things we can’t normally do ourselves.” Grizzle has cousins who serve in the military.
The pilot program will become part of the curriculum this fall at three Wayne County schools with a higher population of children from military families, said Lou U. Rose, Operation LINK coordinator in the ECU College of Education, which has facilitated the program.
“We will be able to impact more kids that way.”
Area teachers observed some of the program activities. “Some will do it as an elective in science and math classes,” Rose said.
“The beauty of this is they can tailor it and run with it and be creative. It brings relevancy in the real world, and maybe will get students interested in science.”
Michael Giddens, an AmeriCorps camp mentor who earned a teaching certificate in middle grades science and math from ECU in May, said students learned to collaborate and work as a team at the camp.
“The energy has been electrifying,” Giddens said. “Keeping them (students) engaged is a challenge in the classroom in the 21st century.”
One old-fashioned value students have learned has been patience, Giddens said, such as when broken robots have had to be re-assembled. Now poised to reach more students, the initial idea for the Operation LINK program was to create a way for military parents to interact with their children – via the web – while the parents were away from home. “It’s (been) a way to keep the child connected,” Dermody said.
Amy Perry’s nine-year-old daughter Kayla and 10-year-old daughter, Alexis, participated in the afterschool program. Perry, a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, inspects aircraft for defects at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The Perry family doesn’t have a computer, internet or cable in their home. So the program has helped support her girls’ interests in science and technology. “It works for us,” she said.
Perry said the counselors encouraged her daughters’ unique personalities. “It’s allowing them to have the space to be who they are,” she said. “Respecting others is important.”
Kayla Perry said she enjoyed the computer lab and making a virtual robot. “I like the teachers. All the time they think of cool things for us to do,” she said. “They always come up with these amazing ideas.”
Program activities have helped build relationships between mentors and students, and among students, said Virginia Harris, a retired teacher and military spouse who taught 23 years in several states and overseas.
“I’ve seen changes in the students, being able to work together and learning to follow rules better,” Harris said. “One of the main things they learn is you’re not an island. You have to get along with people in life. I think it’s difficult for little people to work together as a team sometimes.”
To learn more, visit www.ecu.edu/operationlink.
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
- Sequences of commands
- Intermediate concepts of programming
- Program Flow Model
- Simple (Wait For) Sensor behaviors
- Decision-Making Structures
- Engineering practices
- Building solutions to real-world problems
- Problem-solving strategies
For more info and to see the online version of the curriculum, visit http://curriculum.cs2n.org/vexiq.
Did you know that you can sign up for the Robotics Summer of Learning anytime during the summer? All our live webinars are recorded, so you can easily sign up today and work at your own pace!
How do I join and get into the class?
Sign in or sign up for a new account at CS2N.org. Then visit http://cs2n.org/summer-of-learning and click on the VEX IQ robot. You’ll be taken to a new page where you will click “View” under “Summer of Learning 2014 – VEX IQ – Intro.” From there you will be in the official Summer of Learning course!
How much does this course and/or software cost?
Nothing at all! It is free until September 1, 2014.
What do I need to download?
ROBOTC and the VEX IQ Challenge Pack. You need to download both items. The License ID and Password is located in the CS2N Moodle Course. Use these to activate the license for the entire summer (through September 1st). Computer Minimum Requirements.
Where can I find the link for the live classes?
The link is at the top of the section for the topic of that class. For example, if the topic for the live class is turning, the link will be at the top of the basic movement section. This is also where you will find the recording after the live class has ended.
What is the class schedule?
The live class schedule is listed below, but remember that you can work throughout the summer at your own pace. All classes are recorded. Just keep in mind that if you work ahead, some items of the curriculum will not be released until later this summer.
Will I be able to use the ROBOTC Graphical with EV3 and/or NXT? And, will there be a RSOL class for that?
ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS is still in development, but it will be available later this summer. Once it is ready, there will be a Robotics Summer of Learning course specifically for it.
Live Webinar Course Schedule
- June 16: Introduction to Software, Setup, Forums and Procedures used in this course
- June 17: Intro to Expedition Atlantis and Moving Forward
- June 23: Turning and Intro to Ruins of Atlantis
- June 30: Forward until Touch and Forward until Near
- July 7th: Turn for Angle, Forward until Color, Intro to Palm Island
- July 14th: Loops and if/else
- July 21st: Repeated Decisions, Continuous Decisions, Intro to Operation Reset
- July 28th: Joystick and Button control, intro to VEX IQ Highrise
Our Summer Professional Development classes are filling up quickly. Register today to make sure you get into your preferred course!
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.
EV3 Professional Development
August 11 – 15, 2014
ROBOTC for LEGO / TETRIX
July 7 – 11, 2014
July 28 – August 1, 2014
ROBOTC for VEX CORTEX
August 4 – 8, 2014
Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation with our online classes.
EV3 Online Professional Development
July 14th – 18th, 2014
Monday – Friday for 1 Week
3-5:00pm EST (12-3:00pm PST)
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)
NXT-G Online Professional Development
July 7th – 11th, 2014
Monday – Friday for 1 Week
3-5:00pm EST (12-3:00pm PST)
Our 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below is an image of the final program.
Now our robot is able to move around autonomously while avoiding different obstacles!
- Alexis and Noah
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.
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.
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.
The repeatUntil loop has many options for how long the loop should run. For this challenge, we decided to use the timer.
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:
Now you can line follow in any challenge you would like, the possibilities are endless!
Hi, we’re Alexis and Noah, two eighth grade students at Hopewell Memorial Junior High School. Earlier this week, we did the Robo 500 challenge. To write the programs, we used the recently released ROBOTC Graphical software for the VEX IQ. The goal of the challenge was to complete two laps around a Vex IQ storage bin.
We completed the challenge by using timing and degree measurements. The first step was to get the robot to move forward. For this, we would use a basic motor command.
In ROBOTC Graphical, it gives you the option to choose the values in which you want your motor to run by, such as time and rotations. In this challenge, we chose time.
From there, we experimented with different time values until we found the timing that was needed to finish the side of the challenge before the turn. Through testing, I found that 3.7 seconds covered the distance needed.
Now, what was left was the largest challenge of the program, the turn. Timing a turn can be challenging on seconds alone. So, I used degree turns. I started with a 180 degree, which brought me around about 45°. Due to the drift of the robot when it moves forward, I had to make the turn slightly less than double the 180° turn. I settled on a value of 300°.
Once the values were established, the rest was just repeating the commands so the robot would go around the whole box. Here is an example of my final program.
We were then thinking about how the turns were a hassle with trial and error, and contemplated a better way to turn. So, we decided to use a gyro sensor to have the most accurate turns possible.
To start out the program we had to reset the gyro sensor so the sensor could record the degrees from zero.
From here we moved forward to the end of the course for time, and we moved forward for about four seconds. Then we used a while loop. A while loop is set to check a condition and while the condition is true, it performs what is inside of the curly braces of the while loop. In this case the condition is while the gyro sensor value is less than 90 degrees.
We would then repeat these actions until the robot has made two full laps around the course. Here is the program for one lap. To do two laps I would just repeat this program again.
We were able to finish our programs efficiently in a short amount of time due to the design of the new graphical programming. This new design enables you to drag over commands from the function library; such as, moving forwards and backwards, turning, and sensor commands while avoiding the hassle of painstakingly typing each command. This reduces the time spent on each program and allows us to speed up the pace at which we program, and we are able to complete challenges in a shorter amount of time.
To the left, we have an image of the function library and a depiction of what would happen if you dragged a command into your program. The command would line up with the next available open line and would give you options as to what values you wanted to program your robot with.
If you’re a student who would like to contribute to the blog, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are really excited to introduce a new blog series called Student POV! This series will feature students giving their perspective and advice for programming in ROBOTC. If you’re a student who would like to contribute to the blog, let us know at email@example.com. Welcome our first student bloggers, Danica and Jake!
Hi it’s Danica and Jake, and we just completed the Labyrinth Challenge. We are both 8th grade students attending Hopewell Memorial Junior High. We both used VEX IQ Graphical Programming Language to complete this challenge since it is a new software recently released by ROBOTC. The first challenge we had to accomplish was the labyrinth challenge. The labyrinth is a square, where the robot has to travel from the starting point, to the ending point by doing a series of basic commands.
Our first task was to make our robot move forward.
This block is telling the robot to go forward at 50% power for 5 rotations, but you can also set the robot to move for degrees, milliseconds, seconds, and minutes.
Our second task was to make the robot turn left.
When turning left, you can use multiple commands such as degrees, rotations, milliseconds, seconds, and minutes. You can also use this for turning right.
One problem while programming for this challenge was making 90 degree turns. To get a perfect 90 degree turn, with timing, you had to go through a lot of trial and error. After figuring out the perfect turns, based on timing, the time for moving forward, and the stops to prevent drifts, we had to string all the commands together to form the program for the challenge. This what the finished program looks like:
An easier way to perform more accurate turns, is with the use of the gyro sensor. The gyro sensor allows you to count how many degrees you turn. This simply means that you can actually tell the robot to make an accurate turn. You also have to remember to reset the gyro after every use, and it will make this program a lot easier.
To reset the gyro you have to use this block:
The finished program with the gyro sensor looks like this:
In this program we used the setMotor command instead of turnLeft or turnRight. This command is better to use in the while loop since you only have to set the speed of the motor. The condition in the while loop determines how long the robot turns. As a result, we just need to set the motor speed with the setMotor command.
A cool feature you can use in RobotC is commenting out your code. You can also do this in the VEX IQ Graphical Organizer. It is much easier though since you only have to click the number on the block of code you want to comment out.
Commenting looks like this:
These comments allow you to test only one turn out of the whole code, which is very useful during the trial and error stage.
Now it is time to go try the Labyrinth challenge on your own, either with or without the gyro sensor. Have fun!