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A Crash Course in LEGO Robotics - Getting Started PowerPoint PPT Presentation

A Crash Course in LEGO Robotics - Getting Started Meri V. Cummings, Ph.D. NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future Center for Educational Technologies Wheeling Jesuit University 316 Washington Ave. Wheeling, WV 26003 Phone: 304-243-2499 E-mail: [email protected]

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A Crash Course in LEGO Robotics - Getting Started

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A crash course in lego robotics getting started l.jpg

A Crash Course in LEGO Robotics - Getting Started

Meri V. Cummings, Ph.D.

NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future

Center for Educational Technologies

Wheeling Jesuit University

316 Washington Ave.

Wheeling, WV 26003

Phone: 304-243-2499

E-mail: [email protected]

URL: http://www.cet.edu/robotics/


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Why Study Robotics?

  • Robotics is an excellent way to introduce the students to integrated STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

  • Students participating in robotics learn about STEM careers and experience the same activities as professionals solving real-world problems

  • Everyone – girls and boys alike – should get a chance to see how much fun it is learning engineering skills this way!


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Organized Chaos Girl Scouts robotics team at the West Virginia FIRST LEGO League tournament. We’re looking for volunteer judges for our next competition on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007.


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The Least You Need

  • One computer (ideally, a school computer lab with ROBOLAB installed)

  • One robotics kit, such as LEGO Education’s Team Challenge Set ($219), per 2-10 youth. I recommend you start with a small group (e.g., 4 students) – 1 kit per 2 students is perfect

  • ROBOLAB software to program the robot ($69 single to $265 site license)


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The Least You Need (cont’d)

  • Instructional materials – I recommend the ROBOLAB Video Trainer CD, which has excellent programming video sequences ($50 single or $100 site)

  • Robotics kits can be shared in your school, county, or state in 6- to 8-week rotations – they can be used all day for different school and afterschool activities


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Funding Sources

  • Utility companies are required to provide educational grants – some have utility robotics program partner grants (e.g., American Electric Power has an AEP-FLL partner award to customers in its service area)

  • NASA Space Grant Consortiums fund outreach programs


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After you’ve learned the basics, then what?

  • There are lots of robotics competitions kids can participate in, such as FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and Botball. Some are local, some statewide, some are regional.

  • The tournaments tend to include multipart, real-world problems and research and occur over specific time periods (for instance, the FLL challenge is released in mid-Sept. each year. Competitions occur from Nov. through Feb.).


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The Problem-solving Process

  • What is the robot’s task?

  • What behaviors are needed to accomplish it?

  • Create the program – debug then download.

  • Run the program.

  • Is the bot behaving badly (doesn’t do task)?

    • Check the robot first. If there’s a problem, can you fix it?

    • Next, check the program. Problem? Can you fix it?

    • Last, go back to the beginning and reread the task. Does your program really tell the robot what it’s supposed to do?


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Challenge 1: Line Program

  • Create and test a program to make the robot go forward in a straight line for exactly 1 second

  • Save your program as your first name and Line (e.g., FileSave as

    Maria LineEnter)


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Challenge 2: Square Program

  • Create and test a program to make the robot go in a square

  • Save your program as your first name and Square


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Challenge 3: Light Dark Program

Create and test a program to make the robot:

  • Go forward until it finds a dark line

  • Stop for 1 second

  • Go forward until it finds light

  • Stop for 1 second

  • Reverse for 4 seconds

  • Save your program as your first name and Light Dark


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Challenge 4: Tracker Program

Create a program to make the robot:

  • Go forward until it finds a dark line

  • Move forward along the edge of the line

  • Save your program as your first name and Tracker

    Hints: You need a loop, and it’s easier if the robot starts at less than a 90 angle


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Challenge 5 – Bump Program

Create a program to make the robot:

  • Go forward until it finds a wall

  • Turn moving backward for 2 seconds

  • Repeat these behaviors for 5 “wall bumps”

  • Save your program as your first name and Bump

    Hint: You’ll need to use wait until Touch in for the first step.


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Bonus Beep Challenge

Create a program to make the robot:

  • Go forward until it finds a line

  • Stop for 1 second and beep

  • Repeat for 5 lines

  • For fun, end with a different sound

  • Save your program as your first name and Beep


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ROBOLAB Video Trainer

  • The ROBOLAB Video Trainer CD has lots of video sequences showing you how to program ROBOLAB and how the robot responds to the program.

  • The Team Challenge Robotics set and ROBOLAB and ROBOLAB Video Trainer software are available from LEGO education (www.legoeducation.com under LEGO Mindstorms)


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Robotics Web Sites

  • NASA Robotics Alliance Project http://robotics.nasa.gov/home.php

  • NASA Robotics Curriculum Clearinghouse http://robotics.nasa.gov/rcc/

  • Mars Exploration Rover Mission http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

  • Robotics Academy

    http://www-education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/

  • Minnesota High-Tech Kids http://www.hightechkids.org

  • FIRST LEGO League http://www.firstlegoleague.org

  • Botball http://www.botball.org/

  • BEST Robotics http://www.bestinc.org/MVC/


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To Get Tankbot Building Instructions, E-mail [email protected]

  • After you get your Team Challenge robotics set from LEGO education, e-mail me requesting the tankbot pdf

  • I’ll e-mail you a color pdf file of step-by-step picture instructions to build tankbot, the robot we used in this workshop and the CD videos

  • Tankbot is distributed courtesy of Robin Shoop at the Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Consortium Robotics Academy


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Sample ROBOLAB Programs


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Want to Learn More?

  • If you have a group of West Virginia educators that want to get started, contact me to schedule a workshop and design a program plan that will work for your situation – courtesy of NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium!


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Hands-on: Your Turn!

  • Use ROBOLAB to program the robot to move in a square

  • Think about the robot’s required behaviors to move in a square

  • What motors have to do what for each behavior?

  • Which behaviors repeat? You can loop them!


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ROBOLAB Basics

  • Go to RCX settings in Administrator to unlock programs 1 and 2

  • Single-click the silver Programmer button

  • Double-click the Inventor 4 button

  • Maximize the lower Block Diagram window

  • Drag the Function bar to move the Functions palette to the lower right of the window

  • If the Block Diagram window is accidentally closed, open it by hitting Window -> Show Block Diagram

  • Hit Tab key to switch from hand to cursor tool


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ROBOLAB Basics (cont’d)

  • Hit spacebar to toggle between cursor and wiring tool

  • Hit Esc to escape sticky wires

  • Click on a wire or icon and hit Del to remove it

  • Drag an icon within a cm of another, then with the mouse still down, tap the spacebar to shoot a wire between the icons

  • Ctrl + B removes broken or partially deleted wires

  • Right-click an icon to replace it with another using a new popup Functions Palette


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ROBOLAB Basics (cont’d)

  • Always break a wire instead of placing a new icon on top of the wire; otherwise, the icon looks wired when it isn’t

  • Click on Help-Show context help, then on the icon itself in the block diagram to learn more about a ROBOLAB icon, including seeing what modifiers each icon requires and where to attach them and to see the icon in a sample program

  • If the white download arrow under Edit is broken, click on the broken arrow for information about where the program is miswired


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