A Crash Course in LEGO NXT Robotics - Getting Started

albanianboneyardAI and Robotics

Nov 2, 2013 (4 years and 7 days ago)

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A Crash Course in LEGO NXT
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:
meri@cet.edu

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
-

you’re welcome to observe our Power Puzzle
competition on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007!

The Least You Need


One computer (ideally, a school computer
lab with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education
Software installed)



One robotics kit, LEGO MINDSTORMS
Education Base Set ($250), per 2
-
10 youth
-

I recommend you start with a small group
(e.g., 4 students)


1 kit per 2 students is
perfect


you might also want several
Education Resource sets (spare parts)



LEGO MINDSTORMS Education Software
to program the robot ($49 single to $265
site license)

The Least You Need
(cont’d)


The LEGO NXT robot can also be
programmed with ROBOLAB software



One Mindstorms NXT Base Set and one
computer (ideally, a school computer lab with
ROBOLAB installed and one base set per two
students)



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


you need
ROBOLAB version 2.9 ($49 upgrade)


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)


ask yours!



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 and 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 NXT 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., File

Save as


Maria Line

Enter)


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


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



LEGO Mindstorms Education Base Set and
ROBOLAB and ROBOLAB Video Trainer software
are available from LEGO education
(
www.legoeducation.com

under LEGO Mindstorms)



LEGO MINDSTORMS Education software has a
built
-
in reference tool


Robot Educator, that walks
you through simple challenges



Additional software can be found at the Robotics
Academy (
http://www
-
education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/

)

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/

Sample ROBOLAB Programs

Sample NXT Programs

Challenge 2


Square with a sound

Challenge 1


Forward for 1 second

Challenge 3


Detecting Light/Dark

NXT Programming Details

Select a motor icon (you’ll see a blue border
around it) to open its control panel
-

displayed at
the bottom of the screen

Additional control panels for sensors and wait for

icons have similar displays


Due to the limited amount of memory
available for the NXT, all currently
installed sound files should be deleted


Sound files take up a lot of space and
should be used selectively


Use the same sound file repeatedly in
stored programs to cut down on
memory usage

NXT Programming Details
(cont’d)


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 LEGO MINDSTORMS Educator to
program the NXT 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.