VEX Rewind: December Recap

VEX Robotics Knowledge Base

What’s new?

V5 Engineering
VEXcode V5 Text — Programming
VEXcode V5 Blocks
VEXcode IQ Blocks

Why you’ll love it:

Looking for some tips for your competition robot? We’ve added a lot of new articles that cover some V5 Sensors, as well as others that cover topics like passive manipulators. If you are looking for help on creating your Double Reverse 4 Bar Arm, we have information for that also. We have also added new articles to help with programming. If you want to create a My Block, there is a great article that illustrates how to make and use a My Block. If you are using VEXcode V5 Text and want to do some more advanced programming, we published a series of articles on using Variables. However, if you are just getting started with VEXcode V5 Text there is a new article on navigating the user interface.

Additional Details:

Look for new articles in the month of January on using Functions with VEXcode V5 Text.

VEXcode

VEXcode IQ Blocks – v1.0.8
VEXcode V5 Blocks – v1.0.8
VEXcode V5 Text – v1.0.3

What’s new?

The VEXcode development team released two updates to VEXcode tools during the month of December.

The first release (v1.0.7), in early December, VEXcode IQ Blocks and VEXcode V5 Blocks added two new features: Disabled Blocks and My Blocks. VEXcode V5 Blocks and VEXcode V5 Text added Expanded Non-Gyro Drivetrain support for setting both the Wheelbase and Track Width values for VEX V5 robots. And lastly, all three tools (IQ Blocks, V5 Blocks, V5 Text) added a highly requested feature – 4-Motor Drivetrains.

The second release in late December featured the addition of 3 new tutorial videos, additional language support for Chinese, and new IQ firmware support.

Why you’ll love it:

Detailed Error Handling – Previously, you may have created compiler errors due to inadvertent issues. For example, using a duplicate name when creating a variable and naming one of your devices would cause this error. Additionally, if a reserved word (e.g. Motor) was used, you would also get a download error. Now, VEXcode IQ and V5 Blocks contain logic that gives warnings about these errors before you download the project to your robot.

Enable/Disable Controller Block – You can now programmatically enable and disable your wireless controllers that have been configured using the Devices / Robot Configuration pane. This functionality allows you to easily toggle between autonomous and driver control programs.

Android Tablet Support – Those of you who use Android devices will be excited to learn that VEX IQ Blocks now supports Android Tablets while using a Smart Radio. This greatly expands the number of devices that can wirelessly download to your VEX IQ Brain.

Improved Wireless Download Reliability – If you were having problems connecting your VEX IQ Robot to an iPad, this latest update should greatly improve your experience. Previously, if you were in a noisy radio frequency environment, you may have experienced download failures due to external interference. VEXcode IQ Blocks can now better handle these situations to improve downloading reliability to a VEX IQ Brain over a Smart Radio (BLE) link.

Disabled Blocks – You can now selectively disable a single block/structure without deleting blocks. This new feature is great for experimenting and troubleshooting your project’s code without destructively editing your code.

My Blocks – A great feature that brings an ability to create a section of code that can be reused multiple times in multiple places throughout your project. For text-based programming users, My Blocks essentially acts the same as functions. If you’re teaching coding in your classroom, My Blocks can be a great way to teach Abstraction. My Blocks are also great for competition teams that are looking to simplify and organize their code.

Expanded Non-Gyro Drivetrain Settings – Adding support for both Wheelbase and Track Width values for V5 Robots that do not have a Gyro configured will allow more of you to leverage the Drivetrain features to make accurate turns with your V5 Robots.

4-Motor Drivetrain Support – One of our most requested features, you can now use the Drivetrain feature with two motors on the left and right sides of your robots. This expands support for more advanced users and competition teams wanting to use the simplified Drivetrain commands with their more advanced robots.

Tutorial Videos – The December release includes three new tutorial videos: Using MyBlocks, Storing Data, and Using Events. We’ve received a lot of great feedback from people saying how much they love the tutorial videos and how helpful they are, so we are excited to add more.
Here is the MyBlocks tutorial video:

VEXcode Blocks – “My Blocks” Tutorial

Additional Details:

Don’t forget that Help is available for each of the new blocks. Also, if you are getting started with Android and VEXcode IQ Blocks, there are a number of articles in the Knowledge Base to help you get up and running. To download VEXcode, visit code.vex.com where you will also find more detailed release notes.

Hardware

V5 Inertial Sensor

What’s new?

The Inertial Sensor is a combination of a 3-axis (X,Y, and Z) accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. The accelerometer will detect a change in motion (acceleration) in any direction and the gyroscope electronically maintains a reference position so it can measure a rotational change of position in any direction against this reference.

The combination of these two devices in one sensor allows for effective and accurate navigation, as well as, controlling any change in the motion of a robot. Detection of a change in motion can help decrease the chance of a robot falling over when it is driving or while it is climbing over an obstacle.

Why you’ll love it:

Simply, this sensor will allow you to program your V5 robot to make consistent and reliable turns. More advanced programmers and competition teams will find many applications for the Inertial sensor. If you want to upgrade your robot’s turning accuracy and see what other possibilities the Inertial Sensor can offer, you can get yours here.

Additional Details:

The latest updates to both VEXcode V5 Blocks and VEXcode V5 Text have support for the Inertial Sensor. Additionally, there is a Knowledge Base article that discusses the Inertial Sensor.