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UTD Clinics – FLL Programming

2016-10-15 @ 9:00am - 4:00pm

Presentation slides:
Beginning Programming (coming soon)
Intermediate Programming (PDF)
Master Sequencers (PDF)


UT-Dallas will again be holding clinics on programming Mindstorms for FIRST LEGO League.   The clinics are offered all day, with a beginning programming clinic from 9a-12p and intermediate programming clinic from 1p-4p.  This year we are also offering a “master sequencer programming clinic” for advanced teams.

UTD’s Coaches Clinics are free of charge, but we ask that you pre-register for the event so that we can communicate event details directly to you and have an estimate of attendance size.

The clinic will be held in the Founders North (FN) building on the UTD campus — see this map for location.  With a parking permit attendees may park in any GOLD (yellow) or GREEN spaces in Parking Structure 3 (PS3) or Lot H.  To get to PS3, take Synergy Park Blvd on the north side of campus and turn south onto Rutford Ave and then left (east) onto Loop Road NW.  To get to Lot H, enter via Waterview Parkway on the west side of campus.

In each clinic session we will provide opportunities for attendees to try some (not all) exercises using their own robots and laptops.  We won’t be providing any robots or laptops at the clinics, so you need to bring your own if you want to do that.  Be sure your laptops and robots are fully charged, as there may not be power outlets available.  Also make sure your laptop has the EV3 Mindstorms software already installed on it, and that you’ve been able to get it to communicate with your robot (e.g., with a USB cable).  Even if you’re using an NXT robot, we recommend using the EV3 software to program it.

If you don’t have a robot already, we recommend building the “Educator Vehicle (with attachments)” for the clinics.  This is the robot typically used for demonstrations.  The instructions for this build are included in the EV3 Education Kit, and you can also find a PDF download at the top of http://robotsquare.com/2013/10/01/education-ev3-45544-instruction/ .

Of course, don’t feel as though you need to bring a laptop and robot to the clinics.  Many coaches and members have found that it’s much easier to just watch, listen, take notes, and ask questions.  And it’s always helpful to have people around who can help troubleshoot others’ programs and robots.

In each clinic there is a lot of material to cover in a short period of time, so please arrive on-time and be prepared that we’ll be proceeding at a fairly good pace.

Beginning Programming topics (9a-12p, Kusch Auditorium FN 2.102)

  • Overview of EV3 Programming environment and programming basics
  • Motor block basics — moving forward and backward
  • Turning using a gyro sensor (EV3 robots only)
  • Using “port view” and “view mode” to see sensor values
  • Detecting lines, borders, and colors
  • Simple My Blocks (creating blocks for turning and missions)

Intermediate Programming topics (1p-4p, Kusch Auditorium FN 2.102)

(PDF slides)

  • Programming and robot game strategy
  • Loops and sensor blocks
  • Moving along a heading with gyros
  • Line following / edge following
  • Specifying distances in centimeters
  • Understanding navigation error

Also, Builderdude35 created a YouTube video about using the gyro for driving the robot.

Master Sequencer Program clinic (10:00a-12:00p, SEEC FN 2.302)

(PDF slides)

This clinic is for advanced programmers that are interested in developing a “master sequencer” program for quickly selecting mission runs while in Base.  A master sequencer organizes the programming so that the Robot automatically advances from one mission program to the next without having to look them up in the EV3’s Program Menu.  FLL #27 “Republic of Pi” has successfully used master sequencers in each of its competition seasons to greatly improve Robot Game performance.

This is an advanced programming clinic; attendees are expected to already be familiar with the basics of Mindstorms programming.  In this clinic we will introduce and be using loops, switch blocks, variables, display blocks, character strings, and more.


For more information about these clinics, please contact Patrick Michaud at pmichaud@pobox.com .


9:00am - 4:00pm
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University of Texas at Dallas / SEEC
17217 Waterview Parkway
Richardson, TX 75080 United States
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