May 9, 2006

How RoboCenter works

When you open up the Mindstorms NXT software, this is the start screen. On the right is the RoboCenter. This is where the 18 challenges are covered (broken into 4 categories - Vehicles, Machines, Animals, and Humanoids).

To start a project, you click on the + beside a category. For this walkthrough, I'm going to open the Animals category.


For each category, there is one major project (in this case, Spike). Each project is broken up into sub-projects that allow you to slowly build the device and program it. In some instances (like the Vehicles category - TriBot) each sub-project has you doing something a little different with the device. For the TriBot, for example, most of the projects have you using a different sensor and learning to integrate it and program it with the basic TriBot base. Here, I'll click the "Go" button for Spike to see the sub-projects.


The Spike project opens... and I see that there are 4 sub-projects: Crawling Base, Tail, Sound Sensor, and Reactions. I will click on "Crawling Base" and show you how each sub-project is broken down into further steps.






Here, you'll see the first step is to complete the "Building Guide". Each sub-project is broken down into 4 steps:

Building Guide, Programming Guide, Test Guide, and Next Step.
If you click on the title "Building Guide, it will minimize, showing you all the steps (see next image)




For each of the 4 steps, you will be given visual instructions. In the case of the Building Guide, you will see images showing you how to build Spike using the NXT components. In the Programming Guide, you are given visual steps for programming using the software...


Here, I've skipped ahead a little bit (step 14 of 37)... if you click the "Zoom +" button...








... you'll get a full-screen view of the assembly instructions. Click the "Zoom -" button to return to the smaller view.






Here is a view of the Programming Guide, step 3 of 6. Each step either shows you the block to drop in OR the block's configuration panel (with little arrows showing you where settings should be changed from defaults to something specific to Spike).






And, finally, a view of the Test Guide. Here you're given the tasks to perform with the particular sub-project you are working on. In this example, for each of the 4 steps you were to test a particular function. The final step (4 of 4) gives you a checklist to verify before you click on "Next Step" - (which simply takes you to the next sub-project - in this case, the "Tail" project) - and suggestions for fixing any problems you might encounter.

15 comments:

Daniel Wittenaar said...

Would you mind to take some screenshots of the 'Machines' sections in the software.. I'm curious what bot's are in there besides the 'ball grabber'.

Hoping for some robotic arms or other nice machinery..

Jim Kelly said...

For the Machines category, you are building the T56 RoboArm.

The sub-projects are:

1. Basic Arm
2. Hand
3. Recognize Colors

I'll see about getting you some images...

For the Vehicles category, you build the TriBot with the following sub-projects:

1. Driving Base
2. Bumper
3. Grabber
4. Sound Control
5. Light Sensor
6. Locate Object

For the Humanoid, you build the famous AlphaRex with sub-projects:

1. Walk
2. NXT as body - Turn around
3. See
4. Talk, Feel, Hear
5. Light

byronczimmer said...

I'm not real sure I'm happy that the constructopedia is softcopy.

Is there any hardcopy building instructions/hints/tips/etc?

I feel that many people are going to struggle with the studless tech in the beginning.

Brian Davis said...

There is a small hard-copy building instructions for the basic core of Tribot, but most of the plans are on the hard drive. Not that the Spybots were also like this (and also studless). I agree it's limiting... but far cheaper to produce that way, and you can include programming instructions in the same package.

A "studless hints/tips" document would be very good...

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

I believe there IS a Hints/Tips document in the works... just a rumor ;)

As for the lack of printed documentation - with the building instructions in ZOOM mode, the detail is fine. The NXT set does come with 2 print documents - one is the Quick Start guide that shows you how to build the basic TriBot... the other is the more comprehensive book that covers operation of the Brick, BlueTooth, software, and misc...

Studless building is fairly intuitive, in my opinion. I'm not sure having another print document that shows how to snap things together is really necessary. After about 1 minute of playing with the various components you're throwing them together with confidence. Going thru the 18 challenges also helps to demonstrate various techniques.

Jim

byronczimmer said...

I'd love to see this section of the LEGO website expanded:

http://www.lego.com/eng/create/technicdesignschool/default.asp

byronczimmer said...

That didn't work so well:

Lego Design School

Anonymous said...

Can i print these pages for the instructions of t 56? If so, explain how. plz

forestial said...

I am using the Education version of the NXT software (from kit 9797). I don't see the 'RoboCenter' in the right pane - instead I have 'Robot Educator'. This does not seem to include the build instructions for Spike, Tribot etc.

Am I looking in the wrong place, or is this normal for the Education set.

Anonymous said...

I also have the education set - the one from FLL. I do not have the Robo Center, but instead the Robo Educator. Can someone please help me with access to the Robo Center? Thanks Much!!

Anonymous said...

hello.i've just got the nxt robot (model 8527).in the robo center window its not giving me the images for the building instructions.does anyone have any ideas why? any info will be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

reply to: hello.i've just got the nxt robot (model 8527).in the robo center window its not giving me the images for the building instructions.does anyone have any ideas why? any info will be appreciated.

5:06 PM

hi i also have the same problem as above about the software and it is also not showing me the building instructions for any of the robots any help would be appreciated as this is highly annoying to not be able to build the robots any help would be appreciated. thankyou

Anonymous said...

I have both versions of NXT (Regular + Educational)

The Educational Set gives you a whole set of different parts, and the simple robot design included with the Edu version isn't on the Regular Version. Instead of designs, it gives you tutorials.

The Regular Set gives you four robot designs (more can be downloaded), but no tutorials. instead there are robot challenges.

If you have both versions, it will only let you keep the Edu version, not the Regular version. Does anyone know if you can run both? Or make a hybrid? That would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Me too,just bought the 8527 package and do not get the building instructions,I e-mailed technical support and will see what answer I get.
If a get a solution,will post it here

Anonymous said...

I also have the same problem were i cant get any building instructions, is this fixable?

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