Archive for March, 2012

Self-Driving Race Trucks! Spring Camp! April 2nd-6th, 2012

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Get your kids involved in TEAM-BASED engineering and programming that works in the real world. It’s different from regular classes and just as fun.

Camp is meant for kids who already go to class here, but anyone can sign up. There are three sessions per day. Your child can go to one, two, or all of them every day of the week

Call 818.292.8008 and sign up for the Great Minds Robotics 2012 Spring Camp today.

April second through the sixth promises to be one exciting and educational week. Engineers and programmers of all ages will work together to build, program and drive some awesome LEGO Race Trucks.

It’s more than just assembling a kit. Students are going to build and upgrade trucks with motors, gears, and sensors. Then they’ll program the vehicles to drive themselves and accept commands from a remote control.

Here’s how we set up the camp

Check out this little preview.

The photos are from the 2012 Spring Camp planning sessions. We started with LEGO Technic Limited Edition Set #8041 Race Trucks, some NXTSumoEyes sensors, and a few LEGO NXT bricks, motors, and gears.
Race Truck Sumo Eyes
After that, Chris E., captain of The A-Team of FLL fame, added the pieces to NXTify it as only a Great Minds Learning Center student can. Look at the truck on the left in the photo below. You can see that the stock, display-only drivetrain was removed and replaced with an NXT brick and motor.
NXTified powertrain
Then Alex M., engineer extraordinaire, determined the best way to install the advanced NXTSumoEyes sensor. See him at work here…
Alex M prototyping sensor placement on a Race Truck
All this results in an awesome-looking, remote-controlled, self-propelled truck that can see and react to obstacles. Check it out on the right in the following picture…
Race trucks - stock and NXTified

Chris and Alex put a lot of work into preparing the camp so other students can have a lot of fun.

This is what your kids get to do

Everyone who comes to the Great Minds Robotics 2012 Spring Camp gets to have fun while building, engineering, or programming. We’ve made sure that there’s something for every age group and skill specialty. What’s awesome is that this, like everything else we teach, gives your child a taste of real-world technological challenges and a chance to digest them with critical thinking.

This time we’re learning about technology that lets cars do everything from taking over control in an emergency to racing around a parking lot with no driver input at all.

We promise to keep your kids inside the building, but we can’t promise they won’t have too much fun. The week ends with students competing in a Race Truck Relay! The challenge will be to drive from one end of the course to the other without touching any moving obstacles.

To get a detailed picture of what goes on at camp, check out this jam-packed plan for day one…

Sessions 1, 2, and 3: Build the Trucks, Brainstorm the Required Programming:

  • Builders K-2 (Green/Purple classes) will put together the race trucks using original LEGO instructions.
  • Builders 3-8 (Red classes) will build moving obstacles designed at Great Minds Robotics using LEGO Digital Designer instructions. They’ll then free-build cool covers to make these moving walls look like,  uhm…  moving walls.
  • Advanced Builders (Blue classes) will discuss options for converting the race trucks to robots. They’ll also talk about the Race Control System for the relay race. Students will look at the pros and cons of detection using Lasers vs Touch Sensors vs UltraSonic Sensors. We’ll also plan remote control overriding to prevent cheating… wait… umm… untimely relay race starts!
  • Programmers 3-8 (Red classes) will be introduced to remote control communication protocols like Bluetooth technology. They’ll compare Infra-Red and Ultra-Sonic sensors to determine the best object detection methods. Sensor resolution is covered. Students will also write simple test programs to send commands remotely.
  • Advanced Programmers (Blue classes) will work on the actual RobotC framework running the final race. Specifically, Finite State Machine (FSM) behavioral model and Distributed Application Development via wireless communications will be discussed and tested. Also, Bluetooth vs. XBee vs. WiFi will be considered.

Pricing

There are three 90 minute sessions per day. They start at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm. The cost to attend one is $37.50.

Get a discount! Purchase all three sessions in one day for just $100.

Your child can attend anywhere from one session to all fifteen.

Call 818.292.8008 to sign up now.

Read more about self-driving vehicles.