Tag Archives: programming

New Resources up on Shared FTC Templates Site

We’ve just posted some new Robot C resources at FTC Templates, our site for sharing programming code templates and resources. If you have anything you’d like to share on the site, let us know!

And while we’re on the subject of programming, we thought everyone (especially coders!) might enjoy the cartoon a team member brought to our meeting last week!

Programming Help for “Get Over It!”

programming-siteThis season’s FIRST Tech Challenge game, Get Over It!, presents a lot of challenges, not the least of which is the 40 second autonomous period.

40 seconds!

A programmers joy, or nightmare, depending on ability and experience. Create a strong autonomous program, though, and the rewards are considerable. From the Game Manual:

Batons scored during the Autonomous Period are eligible to be scored again at the end of the Match.

Additionally, the following scores are calculated at the end of the Autonomous Period:
1. Parking a robot on a Cliff is worth 3 points.
2. Parking a robot on the Mountain or any unbalanced Bridge is worth 5 points.
3. Parking a robot on any balanced Bridge is worth 15 points.
4. Having a robot on the Dispensing side of the field (over the Cliffs, Bridge, or Mountain) is worth 10 points. The robot must be completely on the Dispensing side of the field in order to count and may not be touching the Mountain, Cliffs, or Bridges.
5. Dispensing any Batons from an Alliance’s Baton Dispenser on their Dispenser Side of the Playing Field is worth 2 points per baton.

Part of the reason for the increased autonomous period is not just to challenge students, but to provide opportunties for learning (which, when you come down to it, is what any good challenge is anyway!). But with a long autonomous period, if there are no programs running during that time, it could be a really long 40 second game start!

To help move things along – both learning and the game – FIRST Tech Challenge director, Ken Johnson wrote on his blog today, “I’d like to see the FTC community (teams, mentors, coaches) reach out to work with novice teams in the area of programming. There is absolutely no reason we can’t have an exciting autonomous period at every event. Help those teams you are competing with and against. Get them started with some basic code and let them play with it, whatever you can do to help. ”

Team Duct Tape completely agrees! It’s great fun to see four robots start out the gate on their own, as a good robot should, maneuvering about completing (or at least trying to!) a series of tasks. So we’re answering Mr. Johnson’s call for programming help in the FTC community with the creation of a public Robot C templates site on Google Code.
We’ll be adding more information to it soon, and welcome others to share their basic templates and information on the site, as well. If you have an questions, email our lead programmer, Chris, at clwillingham@gmail.com  .

And check back regularly as the season progresses. We’ll Get Over It! together!

Carnegie Mellon launches $7 Million Initiative using robots to boost Science, Technology Majors

From Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy blog:

carnegie-mellon-firePITTSBURGH—A new four-year, $7 million educational initiative by Carnegie Mellon University will leverage students’ innate interest in robots and other forms of “hard fun” to increase U.S. enrollments in computer science and steer more young people into scientific and technological careers.

The initiative, called Fostering Innovation through Robotics Exploration (FIRE), is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and designed to reverse a significant national decline in the number of college students majoring in computer science, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (CS-STEM).

FIRE will develop new tools that enable middle and high school students to expand upon their interest in robots, leading them from one CS-STEM activity to the next. Examples are programming tools that create game-like virtual worlds where robot programs can be tested, as well as computerized tutors that teach mathematics and computer science in the context of robotics.

The initiative will target robotic competitions such as FIRST, VEX and Robofest that already are popular among secondary school students, but also will create new competitions for autonomous, multi-robot teams and for computer animations that will attract a broader array of students and offer new challenges.

Read the complete story at http://robotics-academy.org/blog/?p=340 

And visit the FIRE website at http://fire.cmu.edu/