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@example.com URL: http://www.cet.edu/robotics/
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!
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.
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)
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
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
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.).
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?
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., FileSave as Maria LineEnter)
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
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
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
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.
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
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)
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/
To Get Tankbot Building Instructions, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org • 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
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!
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!
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
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
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