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FIRST robotics competition and Java RTS

Burk Hufnagel
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I tried asking this earlier but no-one's replied so I'm posting with a more complete (and sexier) subject line.

At JavaOne they announced that the robotics API used in the FIRST robotics competition (for kids) was recently ported to Java and I was wondering if it's actually using Java RTS so they can have real-time control of motors and reading sensors because that seems like a great use case to me.

Burk


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Vyas Sanzgiri
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I also interface with various machines in manufacturing thru Java and C and the answer to this question is also of great use to me!


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Theodore Casser
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W00t! Another FIRST person. (I didn't see your post, obviously.) I'm one of the mentors for Team 768, m'self.

My guess? I'm going to take a wild stab that they're probably not using Java RTS for the competition this year, but I haven't had a chance yet to dig into the kit from WPI to see what's in it. (As I commented in another thread, I have to train a whole new programming team this year - my programmer was commenced, regrettably - and I'm contemplating moving the team to Java.) Still, we can hope, right?


Theodore Jonathan Casser
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Theodore Casser
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Actually, browsing this forum this week, I think I found the answer to the question - it's almost certainly no, given the hardware and software requirements. Check out this other topic. (I'd forgotten the hardware requirement, myself... what processor are we using this year in the new kits, anyway?)
Burk Hufnagel
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Theodore Casser wrote:W00t! Another FIRST person.

I'm not sure I count as a FIRST person, though I do enjoy learning about robotics -- it's kind of a hobby though I haven't tried building one yet.
I took my 6 year old son to the the competition here in Atlanta which is why I knew about FIRST then I was at JavaOne when James Gosling brought up two people from FIRST and this year's winning team. That's why I knew about the conversion to Java.

I think it's great that you're involved. Good luck next year,
Burk
Burk Hufnagel
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Theodore Casser wrote:W00t! Another FIRST person. (I didn't see your post, obviously.) I'm one of the mentors for Team 768, m'self./quote]
Theodore,
What kind of time commitment is needed to get involved with FIRST as a mentor? Not committing, just curious.

Thanks,
Burk
Theodore Casser
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Jokingly, I'd say it sucks your entire life away, if you let it... but that's more looking at my in-laws (the responsible party for getting me involved).

On a more serious note - it depends on the team with which you get involved. In my case, my involvement has been ramping up over the years. I started with just helping to debug the robot source code during build and competition season (first weekend of January through April), and am moving swiftly into helping to teach new programmers (which is about one or two days a week during the fall in the school year). Some teams just want the mentors to nudge their members in the right direction, and some want heavy (read: actually programming the 'bot) involvement.

There's plenty of information on the FIRST website. Don't pay attention to the 'US' in the URL - it's an international competition, with teams in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Brazil and Israel last season.
Burk Hufnagel
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Theodore Casser wrote:Jokingly, I'd say it sucks your entire life away, if you let it... but that's more looking at my in-laws (the responsible party for getting me involved).

Yeah, I suspect it's the kind of thing that I'd like to get sucked into. Maybe I should wait until my kids are old enough to get involved so I'll actually wind up spending time with them.
Theodore Casser
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There's also Junior FIRST Lego League (elementary-middle school), FIRST Lego League (middle school), and FIRST Technology Challenge (high school, using VEX kits) in addition to the FIRST Robotics Challenge (the competition we've been talking about with regards to the robots, what a lot of us in the program refer to as 'Big Robot', since the machines in this category can be up to 125 pounds).

It's worth checking out, at any age level, though.
Fred Hamilton
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Burk Hufnagel wrote:
... I do enjoy learning about robotics -- it's kind of a hobby though I haven't tried building one yet.

Burk


Hi Burk.

I find the concept of robotics interesting, but I've never delved into it seriously. Out of curiosity, since you are into robotics and I am into chess programming, perhaps we could combine our talents and create a robot that plays chess. My program would calculate the move and spit out the chess notation for the move, and your "robot" would translate the notation into physical "arm movements". How feasible do you think that is?

Anyways, I'm not really seriously suggesting this, I wouldn't tackle it on my own, but if I met someone who was serious I'd certainly give it a go.
Burk Hufnagel
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Fred Hamilton wrote: How feasible do you think that is?

Years ago, Byte magazine had at least one article on doing just that. The arm was made using copper or brass tubing and could only lift about an ounce or so, which worked out well for playing chess.
I'm pretty much a software guy and I'm currently learning JavaFX so maybe I could write you a virtual robot arm to hook to your chess program.
Burk
Fred Hamilton
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Burk Hufnagel wrote:
Fred Hamilton wrote: How feasible do you think that is?

Years ago, Byte magazine had at least one article on doing just that. The arm was made using copper or brass tubing and could only lift about an ounce or so, which worked out well for playing chess.
I'm pretty much a software guy and I'm currently learning JavaFX so maybe I could write you a virtual robot arm to hook to your chess program.
Burk


hmm a virtual robot. Sounds like an incredibly useful device. heh heh heh. I suppose we could combine my chess engine with your virtual robot, and get someone else with a flair for animated graphics to visually display a robot arm moving pieces about on the screen? Perhaps if the virtual robot were designed in a certain way that would make it easier to replace this "graphical" arm with a real mechanical device at a later date. Anyways, this can't be any more complicated than the resursive programming techniques required for a proper chess engine, which mine really isn't. cheers.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Cool. More FIRST people. I'm getting involved as a mentor for next season now that they can use Java.

I'm under the impression it's a Java wrapper. Just as the C was a wrapper. There was some stuff about the Java emulator online. I believe there will be a more working example in September.

We should definitely start a FIRST thread in MD next season!


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Theodore Casser
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Cool. More FIRST people. I'm getting involved as a mentor for next season now that they can use Java.

I'm under the impression it's a Java wrapper. Just as the C was a wrapper. There was some stuff about the Java emulator online. I believe there will be a more working example in September.

That's my understanding too. But hey, it's better than nothing. (And I certainly speak Java better than I speak C....)
We should definitely start a FIRST thread in MD next season!

Definitely. I think it'd be interesting to see how many FIRST folks are around here.
 
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