School has been out for over a month now and you may wonder what our VEX Robotics teams have been up to. Well, they are surely not taking the summer off, they have been hard at work preparing for the Skyrise International Summer Games. After competing in the VEX Robotics World Championship in April they were invited to attend the VEX Robotics Competition International Summer Games in Honolulu, Hawaii. The games start this week and it is the first official event of the new season.

The VEX Robotics Competition Skyrise game is the competition for the 2014 / 2015 season that open to middle school and high school students (ages 11-18). The game is played on a 12 ft x 12 ft field and requires robots to move game objects into or onto goals. The one-page description of the game and scoring is here:

VEX Skyrise - One-Page

VEX skyrise robotics competition field

The playing field starts with the game objects set-up in known positions. In our practice matches we are using just one quarter of the field. The object is to move game objects, cubes of your color and the yellow skyrise sections into scoring positions.

Here is a look at the robot from Rolling Robots Team 7700B scoring points.

There is a robot size limit of 18x18x18 inches at the start of the match, but the robot can grow larger once the clock starts as shown here by the robot from Rolling Robots Team 7700A. It looks like soon the robot may be taller than the robot builders.

VEX skyrise scissor lift

A scissor lift is used to raise the game object to the scoring position. Here is a stack of 4 Skyrise sections worth 16 points.

VEX skyrise section stacking

The next goal is to collect the cubes and stack them on scoring poles. Each stacked cube is worth 2 points on a scoring pole and 4 points on the yellow Skyrise pole.

VEX skyrise cube scoring

The first competition for the new 2014/2015 Sesson is :

International VEX Summer Games, July 10 - 12, 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii.
VEX International Summer Games

The "away" team is already in Hawaii getting ready to compete over the next few days. You can get the up-to-date results by following @RollingRobots on twitter or at "Results" tab on the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation's website: International VEX Summer Games - Skyrise Division You can even enjoy the matches live at "Webcast" tab.

The Webcast is here:

International VEX Summer Games WEBcast, July 10 - 12, 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii.

News coverage from the event is below. Watch carefully near the end and you will see our team member Alex piloting the Toss Up robot in competition.

moonbots team

The Rolling Robots PV team was selected as a finalist in the MOONBOTS, Google Lunar XPRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge. The team was selected in the top 25 of 299 entries. Their challenge now is to create a game using the LEGO EV3 kit and demonstrate it by August 1. A nice summer project for these young roboteers.

We will be posting more info and results as the project progresses but for now check out their video entry.

Here is their Phase II video submission for the STEM Outreach Project:

View Updates and Details here: MOONBOTS, Google Lunar XPRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge.

Winners Announced

• Grand Prize Winner: Team Incredibots (Columbus, Ohio) • First Runner-Up: Team Dalton BRobots (Barcelona, Spain) • Second Runner-Up: Team Dutch Delta (Rotterdam, Netherlands) • Third Runner-Up: Team Starling (Balwin, Mo.) • Third Runner-Up: Team Electric Dreams (Erie, Pa.)

Check out the STEM outreach video of the Grand Prize Winner ..

Go Incredibots you truly are Incredible moon masters!

The "eyes" of your bot


There are several types of sensors a robot can use to interact with the environment it is in. The photo above shows a sample of 6 types.

1 and 2 are touch sensors from the Vex Robotics system.The Bump Sensor and The Limit Switch They are basically push buttons that sense and object by touching it. When bumping a wall or being pushed by a moving part on the robot a digital signal is created that our microcontroller can read.

Numbers 3,4 and 5 are infrared or IR sensors, they "see" objects with an infrared light. Number 3 is the simplest, just an LED and a sensor, this could be used to sense a person moving through a doorway or in the path of a closing elevator door. The light shines and if it is not detected by the sensor we know somebody or something is in the way. Number 4 is the Sharp GP2Y0D805, a digital sensor that uses the reflectance of infrared to detect objects. If the path is clear the sensor reads one if something reflects the infrared the sensor reads 0. A similar infrared reflectance sensor is number 5, the Sharp GP2Y0A21YK0F that produces an analog output that increases as objects get closer to the sensor.

Sharp IR

A detailed description and sample code are available on our LEARN page here.

Number 6 is the PING sensor that uses sound waves to measure distance. It is the same as SONAR used by submarines and bats to navigate in dark places. This sensor emits a sound wave that echoes off objects. We measure the distance using the speed of sound and the time it takes for the echo to return to the sensor.

Sample code and circuits for using the PING sensor with Arduino are found on our LEARN page here.

Going Further

The Robot Doc will be posting more info on how to use all these sensors on several different robotic platforms. Check back frequently or check our LEARN site. The LEARN site has several Arduino lessons right now under construction. See:

Have a question? Ask the Robot Doctor on twitter, just post it to @RollingRobots