Archive for the ‘Camps’ Category

Sierra Canyon High School Spends “Peak Week” at Great Minds Robotics®

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Once a year, Sierra Canyon’s High School students go on an exciting and educational excursion to all sorts of cool places. This year, a group of 13 students spent their “Peak Week” learning robotics and programming with us at Great Minds Robotics®.

The camp-style excursion turned out fantastic! Not only did these students have a ton of fun, but they also got to experience a “sampler platter” of technologies and programming languages that we offer. The students first started with RobotC and Virtual Worlds; they then built and programmed LEGO NXT robots to solve autonomous challenges on our purpose-built practice tables. With the guide of our knowledgeable instructors, the students added remote controls and Bluetooth communications to their RobotC programs.

Programming is an integral part of robotics; at times it can require multiple programming languages to solve a challenge. We introduced these students to a few languages during peak week. In addition to RobotC, they were also welcomed to C# – our language of choice. The students wrote a few simple programs in C#, after which we demonstrated a number of more advanced projects that use RobotC, C#, and C++. They got to see a working demo of our SkyBase (our “giant” as mentioned in the previous blog) play tic-tac-toe! Later on they watched our drone take an aerial tour around GMR. Our guests also got an intro course to Arduino (our favorite Open Source electronics board), wired up a few RGB LEDs, and programmed their boards in C++. We also demonstrated an Arduino-controlled robot built from LEGO Technic!

The week ended with a team-based competition of our own. Students grouped into teams and competed in our custom-designed game on the VEX IQ Live Table. Pretty productive week, huh?

SierraCanyonCollage

Camps, Competitions, and Projects, Oh My!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Hello everyone! My name is Kristina, and I am a Lead Instructor here at Great Minds Robotics®. I have recently been appointed as the new GMR Blogger; after reviewing the blog I realized how much has happened since the last post! Let’s do a quick recap, shall we?

  • Our winter camp, “RoboSynergy: Trains++”, wrapped up a few weeks ago. Students designed, built, and programmed a sophisticated Train Control System powered by Arduino microcontrollers, using languages and technologies such as C++, C#, Web Services, wireless communication, and more. Phase II was right on track; boarding for Phase III will begin shortly. Don’t miss out, get on-board!
  • GMR Train Ticket

  • SkyBase, our “giant metal robot” as called by most of our students, recently got an upgrade. Last summer our students programmed this robot to play tic-tac-toe on the SmartBoard using RobotC and C# languages. That was fun, but watching the robot move across its 18’ beam and up/down to the right position autonomously was a bit…well, boring. So, we built an Arduino sensor that allowed us to move this robot with an Xbox 360 controller. Suddenly, the tic-tac-toe game became a lot more fun! We liked the outcome so much, we plan to do more cool stuff using Arduino and Xbox 360 controllers with our Skybase this upcoming 2015 RoboSynergy summer camp.
  • The “Game of Drones” is an interactive project that allows us to control a quadrocopter using an Xbox 360 / PS4 controller. We are able to receive a live video feed from the Parrot AR Drone and display it on screen in a student-written C# program. The objective of the game is to knock down the three defense towers set up around the 8’x8’ game table and land on the center landing pad before the opposing team shoots your drone down with a LEGO NXT Photon Cannon! Throughout the game you can see live updates on the SmartBoard, which receives real-time info from the sensors in the defense towers and on the landing pad, each connected to an EV3 microcontroller. Check out this video from our 2014 summer camp!
  • DroneWithLogo

  • The 2014-2015 Robotics competition season is going great for our teams. FLL teamsEduTech” and “Autobots 2.0” won 1st place at their respective Qualifying Tournaments, and had a stellar performance at the Los Angeles Regional Championship Tournament. Team “Autobots 2.0” emerged as the Champions for Los Angeles Region, and advanced to North America Open Tournament in LEGOLAND, California, which takes place mid-May 2015. This year we also competed in our very first VEX IQ competition. Team “IQ Cubed” took home the top award at that event and advanced to the Southern California VEX IQ State Tournament. We will be showing our love for the team on February 14th in Pasadena, California. For more details on these events check out our Facebook page!
  • Thanks for reading! Keep checking in for more frequent updates. That’s all for now!

Great Minds Robotics GameDev Summer Camp coming June 2014!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Ready to program an awesome computer game this summer? Sign up for our GameDev camp today!

Ready to program an awesome computer game this summer? Sign up for our GameDev camp today!

You’ve been a student at Great Minds Robotics for a while now. You started by building simple robots, and programmed them with a visual language, or perhaps some light C code. You solved missions on practice tables, and completed challenges in emulators, such as RobotC Virtual Worlds. You’ve done a bit of C# and Java in our “Intro to Object Oriented Programming” classes. You wrote madlibs, guessing games, calculators, learned about variable types, arrays and sorting algorithms. You worked with simple graphics and the Cartesian coordinate system (x-y coordinates), created bouncing bubbles, objects that react to mouse clicks, buttons that run away as you try to click them, and other little programs.

Perhaps you are at the “Object Oriented Programming” level, and understand classes, inheritance and polymorphism. Perhaps you’re even further along, and have already built a few simple games using C# and XNA framework, or Java and LibGdx framework – stuff like “Alien Attack”, “Pong”, “Brick Breaker”, or a Tetris clone.

Let us show you how to apply all that knowledge to a real-world style project – writing a computer game from the ground up as part of our development team! We’ll make a version for Windows PC first (Visual Studio: C# and XNA framework), and if time allows, we’ll make an Android version (Eclipse/IntelliJ: Java and LibGdx framework). We’ll teach you how to deploy a game to our Xbox 360, and how to debug Xbox-specific features. You’ll work with source control system and issue tracker (GitHub), and participate in team meetings. You’ll learn about using professional tools and techniques, like performance profilers, unit tests, and UML class designers. It’s an experience unlike any other, and is only possible in our GameDev camp.

Now, a quick disclaimer – we’re not building the next “Halo” or “Call of Duty” here – it will be a game that you – our students – can develop over the course of our Summer Camp. Our goal is to advance your knowledge of computer programming to the next level – and to complete the game in the process.

NEW THIS YEAR:
– Custom game graphics featuring one of our own labs and a number of our instructors!
– Introduction to performance profiling using JetBrains dotTrace Profiler.
– Introduction to unit testing using NUnit / JUnit
– Introduction to UML class diagrams using NClass

Mini-Lectures

Mini-lectures are a big part of learning in our summer camps. There is a new lecture every week. Here is a sneak preview of a mini-lecture:

Mini-Lecture sneak peak

Mini-Lecture sneak peak

This year’s GameDev camp project requires some very specific techniques for drawing images to the screen in the correct order. To teach this concept, we will dissect an image into logical layers and visually demonstrate how to correctly place game characters and objects on the screen in various positions, and how to re-position them as they navigate their way around the playing field. Of course, there will be code examples and time to practice the techniques.

Sign up for our awesome GameDev camp today! Starts June 9, 2014. See schedule for details.