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#.

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