SOLDERING UP THE GRAVITY SWITCH.
which serves as a way to keep track of your
Roboni-i’s stats, a way to program your own
games and behavior, and as a gateway into the
online world. All of the different functions of the
Command Center are easily navigated using a
tabbed navbar. Last but certainly not least, the
Roboni-i connects to the computer using a USB
cable. A USB cable! We simply cannot express in
words how thrilled we are that a company was
courageous and forward-thinking enough to use a
USB connection instead of an RS-232 serial
connection (particularly because to the target
laptop-toting video gamer demographic a serial
port is a relic of the past ... something on the
order of floppy disks and vacuum tubes). The
Roboni-i kit even comes with the requisite Type B
USB cable needed for downloading programs.
Now that’s classy!
The Roboni-i Command Center features a
graphical programming interface that essentially
involves placing blocks onto a timeline. Contrary to
what John Watson might say, the Roboni-i is not a
tabula rasa. It comes with preprogrammed
reactions to all of its sensor inputs. The user has
the option of creating their own routines or simply
modifying the bot’s ingrained reactions. One
screen of the Command Center shows a picture of
the Roboni-i with arrows pointing to all of the
sensors. The user only needs to click on the sensor
they want to reprogram and they will be brought
to the timeline editor.
The programming interface also includes
numerous preprogrammed actions that help even
complete programming neophytes to construct
complex reactions to sensor inputs. There are
premade blocks that make the robot shiver, recoil,
and crab walk. The user can easily manipulate the
duration of each action, and each block allows the
user to complement the action with LEDs turning
on or flashing. There is also a host of sounds.
When we first fired up the Command Center,
THE COMPLETED GRAVITY SWITCH.
however, we found that some of these amusing
actions were unavailable to us because our Robot
TX level was too low. Users can raise their Robot
TX (robot trust) level by logging more hours
playing with their Roboni-i. The Command Center
tracks your time with the Roboni-i, and it
documents autonomous time and driver controlled
time in amusing pie charts. Line graphs track
hours logged over time, and the whole setup
looks very sophisticated.
Unlockable blocks aside, we unfortunately
could see no clear way to include input from the
free solder pad clusters. Perhaps we weren’t
looking deep enough, but the graphical interface
seemed chiefly concerned with programming the
Roboni-i’s responses to its existing sensors. There
were no free arrows on the starting screen and
though we weren’t expecting something as
obvious as free arrows pointing to the “hacker
ports,” we were a bit stymied as to how to
implement our newly made sensor.
FREEING UP A SOCKET.
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