10/10/09 Cleveland-area NXT-G Programming Workshop - RSVP 9/30!

posted Sep 17, 2009, 2:32 PM by Travis Hoffman

WHAT: FIRST LEGO League Advanced NXT-G Programming Workshop

WHEN: 10 October 2009, 9:00 - 4:00

WHO: Presented by FLL team 127, the Cougars, of Columbus OH (who have a history of AWESOME LEGO robots)

WHO ELSE: All FLL teams welcome, space limited

WHERE: Rockwell Automation

                1 Allen-Bradley Drive

                Mayfield Heights, OH 44124


WHY: To have fun and learn together!


COST: FREE! - but PLEASE RSVP by Sep 30.


RSVP: fll.cleveland.workshop@cougarrobot.com


Greetings FLL Teams!

We hope you have a good start on your FLL creations and are now ready to Take It Up a Notch with an Advanced Programming Workshop!

The Cougars of Columbus, http://www.cougarrobot.com, have graciously offered to help FLL teams in our area learn to write better NXT-G programs.

The Cougars are among the very best FLL teams in Ohio and have extensive experience making NXT-G do what kids want.  They will help the rest of us learn some of the great techniques they used to build their robot last year.

The objective of this workshop is to gain awareness and comfort with a few advanced programming techniques and their practical application to a First Lego League competition robot.

It is an interactive workshop. We will spend a short amount of time explaining a topic, and then quickly move to discussion, application, and practice.  And then on to the next topic.  Our target is 25% instruction and 75% application & practice.

Participant expectations:

·                     Bring your own laptop, preferably bluetooth capable, loaded with Mindstorms NXT-G

·                     Bring your own robot, 2 touch sensors, 2 light sensors, 3 motors, some wheels. It doesn't have to be working.

·                     Bring a USB cable to transfer programs to your robot (in case Bluetooth isn't working in big crowd).

·                     USB thumb drive to share data

·                     (optional) Bring your own competition mat and models.  It can be last year's.  Mat is more important than models.

·                     Kids will do most of the teaching and learning, but coaches and parents are welcome too.

9:00 - Meet & Greet, introductions & expectations

9:30 - Icebreaker activity

9:45 - Basic NXT-G programming - a review

10:15 - Design Principles & Strategies.

10:30 Basic Techniques MiniSessions

·                     Incremental Development using Bluetooth - Where to go from here?

·                     Precise Turns - Left Face!

·                     Debugging Tips - What in the world is it thinking?

·                     Video - What's really going on here?

·                     Sensors - When should I stop?

11:15 Medium Techniques MiniSessions

·                     MyBlocks - good things come in small packages

·                     Multi-threaded programming - walking and chewing gum at the same time

·                     Dependent threads and synchronization - throwing the newspaper while riding your bike

12:00 Pizza Lunch

1:00 Advanced Techniques

·                     Position Registration, our favorite subroutines - X marks the spot.

·                     Sensor Calibration - is it night or just cloudy?

·                     Timers - when will this match be over?

·                     Variables - how many times are we going to do this?

·                     Master programs/menus/scripting - your wish is my command

·                     Mini-blocks - how can we squeeze all this stuff into my tiny brain?


2:30 Development and Practice time

3:30 Clean up

4:00 Adjourn

Programming Techniques and Design Principles go hand in hand so, we will also talk about

·                     KISS

·                     Mechanical Design Choices

·                      Navigation

·                     Strength and Power considerations

·                     Tool Design First

·                     Quick attachment switching (magnets or pins)

·                     Leapfrog Development

·                     Competitive Development

·                     Change only 1 thing at a time

·                     Repetitive Testing

·                     Slow Motion Video (show the robot, then show the video)


Additional Sessions (in parallel with the above):

·                     Collecting your thoughts:  Writing programs in English and flow charting

·                     Engineering Lab tour

·                     Demo room tour

Contact Info:

David Fort


Software Engineer

Rockwell Automation


Mentor, FRC team 1001

Brush High School


w) 440-646-3885

h) 216-691-0406


Jamie Diamond

Technical Coach, Cougar Lego Robotics Team

614-596-0213 (cell/work)




Sheila King

Software Engineer

Rockwell Automation

Mentor, Brick Kids FLL team


Email: sheilaking2@gmail.com



Rockwell Automation

1 Allen-Bradley Drive

Mayfield Heights, OH 44124


Rockwell Automation is a short distance from I-271 and Cedar road.

From the South on I-271:

1.            I-271 North -- don't take the Express Lanes

2.            Exit at Cedar Road/Brainard Road (Exit #32)

3.            Take left fork of exit ramp, but stay in right lane of left fork.

4.            Turn right at light at top of ramp, going South on Brainard

5.            Immediately get in left lane on Brainard.

6.            Immediate left on Cedar.

7.            Take Cedar Road East

8.            Turn left onto Lander Road (approx: 2nd light)

9.            Take Lander north to Parkland (1st light) and turn right

10.          Bear to right onto Allen-Bradley Drive (just a bend in the road, no intersection)

11.          At the stop sign, Rockwell Automation main entrance is straight ahead

12.          Follow driveway around the building to the right (counter clockwise) to the back of the building

13.          Park near the glassy atrium

14.          Go in door near the patio, with the triangular shaped overhang.


From the North on I-271:

Exit at Cedar/Brainard.

Left on Brainard

continue with step 6, above

Google map of the building:


The entrance we will use is directly opposite the "main door" marked by the pushpin.

Please help us plan by letting us know if you are coming or not, and how many people you expect to bring.  If you aren't sure, let us know that too.  Space is limited and may fill prior to the RSVP deadline of September 30, so please at least let us know if you are thinking about it ASAP.

Registration and Questions to: fll.cleveland.workshop@cougarrobot.com

Hope to see you there!


Thanks much,

David Fort



Kathy Levine

Ohio FLL Director

Universal Technology Corporation Contractor

WPAFB Educational Outreach


2130 Eighth Street, Bldg. 45, Rm. 45

WPAFB, OH 45433-7542


Fax:  937.904.8033