My experience in H.S. robotics has shown me that programming can be a major turn off for students. This application programs the robot for beginners in hopes that this will kick start an interest in robotics that will eventually lead to them creating their own software solutions for their robots.

What it does

PawPrint is an all inclusive program that takes advantage of APIs developed by the maker of PawPrint for the PROS IDE. It is fair to say PawPrint is meant to be a companion for PROS. The best way to describe PawPrint is as a graphical matrix interface that allows students participating in the VEX Robotics Competition to program their robots with out actually having to physically produce code themselves. With a few clicks PawPrint generates its own entire source code for a VEX Robotics Competition robot. The PawPrint APIs for PROS also include a special feature that allows students to drive the robot while saving its actions and then play it back for the autonomous section of the competition. This allows students to focus more on the mechanical aspect of their robot, but still have the competitive edge of a strong autonomous. I believe it is of the most importance to note that although this could be used as a permanent solution, that is not its intention. The intention is to inspire students to get into the field of robotics to gain the confidence they need to start manning the keyboard themselves and make a difference.

Challenges I ran into

The main challenge I ran into was copy directories and all of its sub directories to a new directory. I spent over 5 hours until I came to a solution at 3 am. My perseverance gave me the confidence I needed to push on through and finish this monstrous project. Other issues did arise, but were too minimal to have a drastic affect. I must admit this hackathon has provided me with an experience of a lifetime and weeks of knowledge in only a few days.

What I learned

Coming into this I had minimal experience with C#. I learned how to traverse and copy full directories with their sub directories to make PawPrint a more practical solution. Stream writing/reading as well as the file traversals were really part of the whole heart of this project. The later end of the project provided for plenty of bug fixing opportunities, as well as a few build breaks. Although they are a nuisance, they do indeed teach you not to make the same mistakes again fairly quickly.

What's next for PawPrint

PawPrint will continue to expand and grow as the APIs that it was built with will continues to expand and grow. A cleaner version will hopefully be available in the future with better features, such as mapping a route for a robot on a map and having the robot copy that route. This will hopefully be done in Java, allowing it to run on more machines than just Windows. PawPrint is the gateway to competitive robotics. I can only hope that people will enjoy my passion for robotics as much as I do.

Built With

  • c
  • pros
  • visual-studio-c#
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