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ORTOP NXT Robotics Techniques Workshop 2009 “Opening doors to the worlds of science and technology for Oregon’s youth” Goals Audience: Rookie coaches/mentors, experienced coaches & mentors Provide material that is immediately usable with your team

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NXT Robotics Techniques Workshop 2009

“Opening doors to the worlds of science and technology for Oregon’s youth”

Goals l.jpg

  • Audience: Rookie coaches/mentors, experienced coaches & mentors

  • Provide material that is immediately usable with your team

  • Gain experience with 3 motor robot & missions

  • More experience programming Mindstorms NXT

  • You should have already attended NXT workshops I & II and/or coached a team in a 2008 tournament

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Instructor Contacts

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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ORTOP Project Administrator

Cathy Swider

[email protected]


(after August 1, 2009)

FLL Operational Partner for Oregon

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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  • Introductions (5 min)

  • Slide Review (20 min)

  • Review mission video(s)

  • NXT Techniques lab exercises (90 min)

    • Distance sensor

    • Loops, Variables, My Blocks

    • Mission exercise

  • Review & questions

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Our Mission

  • FLL is not just about building robots and competing in tournaments

    • Develop team member skills

      • technical

      • team building

      • research & presentation

    • Technical problem solving can be fun

    • The youngsters do the work

    • Introduce possibility of a technical career

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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CanDo Challenge

  • Simple project, but good learning tool

  • What did you learn?

    • Unexpected things happen – cans get caught under the wheel, it goes the “wrong” direction

    • Take it in smaller steps – “Let’s see what happens before it hits a can”

    • Mechanical problems may do you in

    • Clarify the “rules” – know the requirements

    • Experiment – “Just go try it. We can rework it.”

    • Keep it simple

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Engineering Design Process

Define theProblem

Research theProblem


Develop Possible Solutions


Choose the Best Solution

Test and Evaluate

Create a Prototype

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Building Strong Structures

  • Note how NXT parts are all pinned together using Technic parts

  • Here are three cross bracing examples

  • Ref: Minnesota HighTekKids.org “Robot Building”

  • http://www.hightechkids.org/coach-library

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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  • Gears

    • Spur Gear (show example)

      • instructor holds beam

      • class person turns axles and

        feels torque on other axle

      • tactile feedback = learning

        about gears and torque

    • Gear Ratio and Speed

      • turn the large gear one complete turn

      • How may revolutions does the small gear turn?

      • Is gear ratio the same as the ratio of gear teeth?

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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  • Gears & Pulleys

    • Worm Gears (show example)

      • one way transfer of power

    • Crown & Bevel Gears

      • turn 90 degrees

    • Spur Gears

      • change direction & change torque

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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One Move block in the program controls both motors

  • The robot moves straight - motors will adjust speed as the robot moves

  • Try programming tests for straight and curved movements, adjusting the turn slider for each test

  • What happens at the extreme ends of the turn slider?

  • There are Move blocks and Motor blocks – Motor blocks allow ramp up and ramp down of speed(speed vs. time)

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Base Robot Chassis

  • 3 motor base

    • Level, square

    • Screen location

    • Attachments

    • Nxtprograms.com

  • TriBot design, built in Educational Kit

  • Class comments on various designs

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Program Memory

  • Firmware & programs stored in flash (like photos on a digital camera)

  • Maximum available memory is ~125KB

    • Firmware refresh and all files deleted

  • Each program is ~0.1KB overhead

  • E.g. Move block ~5.1KB, two ~5.8KB

  • E.g. Move + Wait for light sensor ~7.7KB

  • Use My Blocks for subroutines for better memory usage

  • Click NXT Window then Memory to view memory usage

    • Instructor show this command

  • Refer to NXTmemory.doc for more details

    • Instructor, show this file

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Writing Efficient NXT-G Programs

  • Maximize free space by deleting default files that are downloaded with firmware

  • Maximize code reuse

    • Use only Move or only Motor blocks

    • Loops and My Blocks

    • Combine multiple programs – can combine 2 programs into 1 and select which of the two sequences to run programmatically (using a touch sensor, for example)

  • Minimize Sound and Display blocks

  • Use Mini-Blocks

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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NXT SoftwareV1.1, 2.0

  • New version V1.1 released summer/fall 2007

    • 2008 kits will have v1.1

    • 2007 kits may or may not.

    • Check and see

  • As of Jan 2009, kits shipped with 2.0, $80 single license

  • Main advantage is performance enhancements

    • Downloading to NXT is faster

    • Size of blocks on the NXT is smaller

  • Mini-Blocks can be downloaded:mindstorms.lego.com/support/updates

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Lab Exercises

  • Lab Sections

    • Lab 1 - The Distance Sensor

    • Lab 2 – Loops, Variables & My Blocks

      • This exercise shows 2 different techniques to program the robot to go in a square

      • Introduces different programming techniques

      • Shows memory usage of different techniques

    • Mission programming using 3 motor design

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Lab Exercises

  • Show video: examples of robots with fixtures for each mission

  • Introduce yourself to other team members

  • Begin with Lab1&2 exercises

  • Add attachments to 3 motor base to run 1-2 missions

  • 90 min to complete the labs

  • Ask questions, chances are someone else has the same question

  • Have fun!

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Lab Conclusions

  • LAB Conclusions

    • Each team briefly explain a section of what you learned in this workshop

    • What advice would you have for a team starting out with NXT?

    • Teaching for understanding “creates challenging situations in which students test their knowledge by solving problems, building products, and giving performances or writing reports that synthesize thorough analysis of a topic, a concept, or an idea.” *

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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Next Steps

  • Register your team with FLL

  • Share with your team

    • NXT Robotics Techniques slides

    • NXT Techniques labs

    • Mindstorms NXT tutorial (show tutorial)

    • Build and test 2-3 robot designs, then have your team select a hybrid of best features

  • Challenge the kids!

    • Make up your own exercises – stress basics & reliability

NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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  • Tutorial, Dale Yocum

    • Download from http://cgsinfo.catlin.edu/msrobotics/html/downloads.html

    • takes time, go through in sections

    • NXT Tutorial is also available online: http://www.ortop.org/NXT_Tutorial/

      • Requires Adobe Macromedia Shockwave Player and high speed download connection

  • Inscite www.hightechkids.org

  • www.nxtprograms.com

  • NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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    Parting Thoughts

    • From “All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten* Tips from 12 year olds on being creative:

      • Start simple

      • Work on things that you like

      • If you have no clue what to do, fiddle around

      • Don’t be afraid to experiment

      • Find a friend to work with, share ideas!

      • It’s OK to copy stuff (to give you an idea)

      • Keep your ideas in a sketch book

      • Build, take apart, rebuild

      • Lots of things can go wrong, stick with it

        *MIT Media Lab

    NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009

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    Review & Questions

    • Please give us your input

      • Let ORTOP know how we can improve the program

      • Thanks for volunteering! Your effort make learning possible.

      • Disassemble robots (keep caster assy together) and put pieces back into kits

      • http://www.ortop.org/fll

    NXT Robotics Techniques - 2009