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ExploroBot Program It
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our ExploroBot looks nice, but it really doesn t do much yet, does it That s about to change. In this chapter you re going to create the program that sends the bot down the tunnel (and back) to trigger the locked tomb door. So, let s get started.
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This chapter isn t about teaching you the basics of the software. Included with the Lego Mindstorms NXT software is a collection of software tutorials. At this point, I m making the assumption that you ve built the bots included with the Mindstorms NXT kit and you ve gone through the tutorials for programming the bots. During these tutorials, you received some basic skills in selecting programming blocks, dropping them into the workspace, and configuring the blocks. In this chapter, I m going to show you how to use your completed Design Journal sheet for the ExploroBot to help you construct the program, block by block. So go ahead and open up the Lego Mindstorms NXT software (see Figure 4-1).
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Figure 4-1. The Lego Mindstorms NXT software
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CHAPTER 4 EXPLOROBOT PROGRAM IT
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You re going to create a new program, so type ExploroBot into the blank text field labeled Start New Program, then click the Go button (see Figure 4-2).
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Figure 4-2. Enter a name for the new program and click Go.
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Note To have more workspace visible on your screen, close down the RoboCenter area on the far right by
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clicking the small red X in the upper-right corner of the software.
Now, before we start dropping blocks all over the place, we need to think about what this program is supposed to do. Remember the Task List from the Design Journal This is where that Task List is going to come in handy (see Figure 4-3). We re going to use each of the numbered items from the Task List to determine what types of programming blocks will be placed on the workspace. Like the construction of the actual ExploroBot, there are also numerous ways to program the bot. As you experiment with the Lego Mindstorms NXT software, you ll probably discover new (and better) methods for programming. You might find a way to shorten the program so it takes less memory space in the Intelligent Brick. Or you might choose to switch out the Ultrasonic Sensor with the Touch Sensor, which requires slightly different programming blocks. My point is this: there s no perfect method for programming the ExploroBot. With that in mind, let s do a little planning before dropping some blocks.
CHAPTER 4 EXPLOROBOT PROGRAM IT
Figure 4-3. The Task List will help us to program the ExploroBot. Take a look at the Task List s first item: Move forward 10 feet. What do you think maybe throw in a Light Sensor block Just kidding. The bot first has to move forward down the tunnel, so that means a MOVE block (see Figure 4-4).
Figure 4-4. The basic MOVE block
Note You can drag and drop a MOVE block from many different locations. One is located on the COMMON
palette, and the other MOVE block can be found on the COMPLETE palette. In this chapter, I m not going to point out every place for you to grab a block. In most instances, just look around on the COMMON and COMPLETE palettes and you ll find the necessary blocks. This will help to familiarize you with all the other programming blocks available. If you find one you re not familiar with, drop it on the workspace and play around with it for a few minutes . . . there s no rush.
We ll configure the MOVE block a little later. For now, let s move to the next Task List item: Stop before hitting wall. Obviously, this would use a Touch Sensor or Ultrasonic Sensor. The ExploroBot in 3 uses the Ultrasonic Sensor, so we know we ll be configuring it later. One interesting thing to note is that the bot will make four left turns during its travel down the tunnel. How did I come up with this number Take a look at Figure 4-5 and you ll see all four turns.
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