Week 2

Small Setback

This week started off a little unproductive, I had a small storage problem. Whiles I was trying to delete my Linux partition, I managed to delete my boot-loader. This meant a day was wasted for re-installing Windows and setting up my computer again.

On the positive side, I was able to test out a few of the tutorials made and they seem to be easy to follow. A couple of correction have been made to directory paths, but for the most part they worked well.

Back to Work

This week was about figuring out how to use the NXT-G software to program the Lego NXT Brick.

The Software its self is a bit of a pain to setup for 64-bit machines (but that is why I have wrote a small tutorial for it), but once installed it works as you would expect.

When I started off using the visual programming language I was a bit lost. I was trying to do ‘simple’ tasks and failing to do so. I think this was down to jumping straight in, instead of reading some documentation first. The main task with using this visual programming language is to figure out/remember what each ‘block’ does, and how to use them.

The software comes with some basic tutorials which helps with some basic programming, but they don’t seem to touch on and ‘advanced’ topics such as obstacle avoidance. However, the tutorials do show you how each sensor works, the capabilities and some applications.

Couple of Points

With the tasks for the first day of the event, I believe it would be better to try and stick with simple tasks, that require simple robots (maybe some more complex tasks for participants who more quickly). It would seem that building models such as the Robot Arm take up to an hour. The main focus of this event is to show people that programming robots to be autonomous or to tele-operate them is simple and easy, for this reason I believe that there should be minimal time spent on construction and more time spent on learning how to program the NXT Bricks using the on-board programmer, NXT-G Software, or Visual C#.

Week 1

So what was the plan for this week then?

This week was all about finding other similar events, look at what tasks they do, and see if any can be used.


What did I do?

So for this week i have been reading up on papers for the RoboJam.  These papers are from the ‘Teaching Robotics Teaching with Robotics’ workshop.

Most of these papers seem to focus on teaching problem solving with children in primary and secondary, ages ranging between 8 to 15 (give or take a few years). The idea for the RoboJam is that focuses in the range of people 15 and above. Although these papers don’t all focuses on this age range, they have given me some ideas on how to structure the even on a day to day basis.


I did a little more as well

Whiles not researching for similar events, I have spent time figuring out equipment works, what doesn’t work, and what we need to get for the RoboJam to work. This will be carried on throughout the weeks to come.

Oh and of course I have spent time setting up the computer and all that jazz 😀


Things that did not go to well

After testing (turning on and seeing if stuff worked) the Lego NXT bricks I found that more then half did not work correctly. Some of the problems included:

  • The screens not working
  • sound not working
We are currently trying to fix all of the bricks that we are not limited on the task we can do.
Before anything could be done with the Lego NXTs i needed to install the supplied software, this gave me a few problems because I am using a 64-bit computer for this project.


Things that went well


After updating the firmware all the Lego Brick’s sound seemed to work fine, leaving with only 5 Bricks that had screen issues.


What happens now?

Next week I will be looking at deciding what tasks will be in the training day of the RoboJam.

At least once a week I will update the blog, maybe more if something either goes really wrong or goes really right. I would like to be able to do it more, but we shall have to wait and see what time is left available.