Topic outline

  • General

  • Topic 1

    Introduction

    Why RCX

    RCX was released onto the market in 1998. As a result, it has been superceded long ago, so it is possible to find these very cheap around schools in back cupboards and in dark, secret store rooms. There is also a selection of legacy documentation hiding in corners around the 'net.

    There is a lot of support for Lego projects, especially the FLL (First Lego League) that is run out of various academic institution once a year. While it is great fun, it is also a commercially driven exercise.

    Download NQC from sourceforge

    This is important!

    Read the FAQ

    Advantages

    • Kids like Lego
    • Using Lego, the robot build is very quick
    • there are several languges that run the RCX
    • It is free and comes with tutorials and documentation
    • There is legacy teaching material available on the 'net

    Disadvantages

    • The usual learning curve
    • Old bricks might not work  (Check the battery contacts for corrosion.
    • RCX lead may have degraded

    However, around the world, there are adult groups who continue to enthuse about Lego

    Setting up RCX as RCX2 in Windows

    This is a summary of the advice on the net.

    1. My Windows machine comes with preloaded anti virus software. To run the following, boot into SAFE MODE then edit autoexec.bat usng sysedit from the command prompt.

    Creating the environment

    While the documentation says the RCX only operates on old windows versions, it will quite happily run on later versions of Windows.

     

    Upgrade of firmware advice

    Programming the RCX

    There are several choices for programming languages. 

    Labview comes with the various kits. It is a visual programming language used in process control. eg the Mars explorers

    NQC is a c# based language that is similar to the Arduino SDK

    Visual basic using spirit.ocx

    Picoblocks, similar to Scatch

    Threre is also something called Legos that is another operating system for the brick.

  • Topic 2

    An evolution of Tecnics

    This is a potted history of Lego technics from a user poiunt ov view

    1. Bricks

    2. adding wheels and gogs, beams

    3. Motors and battery powered devices

    4. Pneumatics

    5. Programmable bricks, RCX, NXT, ev series

    • Topic 3

      Mindstorms : Where it started

      A quick overview might go like this.

      Seamour Papert was a PhD student who's supervisor was Jean Piaget. He developed a philosophy that grew into this book on Constructivist Learning.

      Initially, it was based on a computer language called Logo, which was well supported by teachers in the 70 and 80's.

      Papert went to work at MIT, supported by Lego, and together developed the constructivist approach to learning with Lego. which was termed LegoTechnics.

      Mindstorms : Download the pdf 

      Montessory : Living with Lego

      • Topic 4

        Lego Educational Philosophy

        • Topic 5

          Getting started

          Mindstorms for schools is an easy to read guide to running a couse in RCX. It is available for download from the Lego engineering site.

          In this document are the follong

          Introduction

          • 4 levels of training missions
          • Video analysis via USB camera into Labview
          • Data logging

          Despite it's age, it makes it a perfect system to introduce STEM.

          Here is the diffinitive guide

          Mindstorms for Schools

          tankbot

          Free downloads of Roger Frost's Data Logging and Control

          • Topic 6

            Up and running

            The RCX brick uses an infra-red tower to commnicate with the brick. To get the tower driver for your computer, you might need to hunt round the net. 

            For Windows, try the SDK25 link. Or if you have your mindstorms disk, try that.

            The SDK25 also has the Firm038.lgo file which is the firmware or operating system for the brick.

            You can run RCX2 commands on an RCX1 brick by downloading the appropriate firmware.

            SDK25

            Hints and tips

            • Make sure your brick is turned on. It will beep. It also goes to sleep.
            • Look at Tools => Diagnostics to see if your brick is alive
            • Choose to download firmware. Sometimes the firmware is lost and you have to reload it.

            When you go to download your code, make sure you save it in the format for your brick.

            The tutorial

            All programming course follow much the same path

            Step 1 : what is programming

            Step 2 : the syntax

            Step 3 : data types and variables

            Step 4 : sequence

            Step 5 : decisioon 

            Step 6 : repetition

            Then they branch out into things like files and file handling, pointers and so on.

            The robolab quick guide summarises this.

            Robolab quick guide

            Mindstorms for schools

            Vocabulary

            RIS = Robot invention system

            • Topic 7

              Labview

              Labview is the software that comes with Mindstorms. It is used for programming Lego robots using an RCX brick.

              However, it also has data logging features.

              Robolab 2.9.4 patch

              Robolab tutorial

              • Topic 8

                Group work

                • Topic 9

                  Lego Education Pack

                  • Topic 10

                    • Topic 11

                      The build

                      • Topic 12

                        Programming

                        • Topic 13

                          Simple machines

                          • Topic 14

                            Documenting

                            • Topic 15

                              Homebrew components

                              Motors
                              Sensors
                              Systems
                              • Topic 16

                                Motors

                                • Topic 17

                                  Pneumatics

                                  • Topic 18

                                    Computers : EV3

                                    The main processor of the NXT was an ARM7 microcontroller, whereas the EV3 has a more powerful ARM9 CPU running Linux. A connector and Micro  slot (up to 32GB) are new to the EV3. 
                                    • Topic 19

                                      First Lego League

                                      Image result for comet bay stem robot
                                      • Topic 20

                                        • Topic 21

                                          • Topic 22

                                            Early Curricula

                                            In the late 1980's Jim fuller, a teacher from Western Australia, pioneered a lot of the early Robotics teaching in WA.

                                            The courses below were written for the then Unit Curriculum.

                                            He used the available Lego kits, 

                                            Lego 1030 "Simple Machines"
                                            Lego 1032 "Powered Machines"
                                            Lego 1039 "Technic Manual Control"
                                            Lego 1090 "Technic Buggy"

                                            The Technics kits were only produced for educatioal use and were not generally available to the general public. They worked off a series of cards that explained in pictures what to do.

                                            The first of these is available on this site.

                                            Jim's notes

                                            Robotics overview

                                            Unit 2.2

                                            Unit 3.2

                                            Unit 4.2

                                            Unit 5.2

                                          • Topic 23

                                            • Topic 24

                                              • Topic 25