Integrated Development Environments for Educational Robots
Does your educational robot’s control language teach real-world programming or does it force you to navigate a vendor’s ideas? Does your language model Visual Studio, support breakpoints and single step debugging? Is your language based on a Windows standard programming environment?
Use your educational robot as a vehicle for transmitting the skills required to master real-world programming via the VB family of languages which underlies Windows and most Windows apps. Introduce your students to the concept of an integrated development environment and debugging.
Control your robot in Office, Visual Studio or in a Windows script file (.VBS), for the DIY robot programmer.
Extensive Help, Single Step Debug, Teach mode, Save and Load robot locations, save, run, and debug robot programs. Includes the RoboCom Windows Component (above).
Has all the bells and whistles to keep your robot moving!
The MVRobot IDE provides the ideal real-world robot control program development environment for education. Lessons learned can be immediately and directly applied to understanding computer programming, manufacturing technology, the Visual Studio Suite, VBA and Windows.
Educational Robotics Links:
Developed by the original architect of applications software at Rhino Robots, RoboCom and MVRobot represent the further evolution of concepts pioneered at Rhino during the years 1981-1983.
During early development, the Rhino was controlled in Basic by opening a serial port as a file and directly sending command strings to control the robot. Since both Apple and IBM PC implementations of Microsoft’s Basic proved too slow to provide smooth robot motion over longer trajectories, the development of assembly language routines managing robot move housekeeping soon followed.
The next challenge was to either incorporate robot move commands into an existing high-level language or develop a custom computer language to control the robot. Early efforts to provide a robot control language for educational robots relied on the simple redirection mechanism of the Applesoft ‘&’ command, an approach utilized both by Rhino and Teachmover.
Later, Rhino and most other educational robot manufacturers decided to provide custom languages for robot control despite the difficulties in providing all the features existing high-level languages and development environments offered, such as looping, conditional branching, subroutines, typed variables and integrated debugging.
Rhino invested in RoboTalk, while Competition Software diverged, continuing with the development of custom robot move commands integrated natively into Applesoft Basic/DOS 3.0 and MS-DOS Basic 86.
Applesoft integration was achieved in 1984 - 1985 by relocating the Apple’s ROM Basic into RAM and providing a jump table overlay remapping of Applesoft graphic commands into robot commands. A similar strategy for modifying the IBM PC’s Basic-86 soon followed. These implementations were collectively referred to as ‘Polar’.
Polar, Competition Software’s extensions of DOS Basic-86 and Applesoft Basic, provided custom robot command languages for the Rhino XR-I and II, as well as Feedback Inc.’s IVAX and SIR-1 robots in the years 1986 - 1990.
Basic-86 Polar was further modified to provide a programming platform for Galil motion control and servo cards in 1992, coinciding with the end of useful life for DOS implementations.
RoboCom and the MVRobot IDE continue in integrating educational robot control natively into Windows, maintaining the extensive programming functionality provided by Visual Basic while seamlessly integrating robot move commands.
Competition Software’s RoboCom Windows Object provides language and compiler independent access to robot control via standardized Windows interfaces.
Competition Software’s MVRobot IDE provides the ideal real-world program development environment for education, where lessons learned can be immediately and directly applied to understanding computer programming, manufacturing technology, the Visual Studio Suite, VBA and Windows.
"Designing a Reliable Voice-Input Robot Control Language," Robotics Age, 5 (March 1984).View Article
"Teaching the Rhino XR-II to Write," Robotics Age, 4 (Spring 1983).View Article
"Some Notes on the Minimover-5 and Rhino XR-I," Robotics Age, 3 (Fall 1982).View Article
Last revised: 3/27/2011