The Flexx AIR-Finally a good idea!

I have made my “Flexx AIR” robot and waited for a new microcontroller. The time has finally come. I’m hoping for another starter kit for christmas (I can’t sit still in school anymore! Just Kidding). So now, it will be able to multitask. Not just that, but I’m DRAMATICALY changing the robot. It will be smaller, better, more manuverable, and more intelligent. Well, much more intelligent, since I barely progammed the last one due to “technical difficulties”. The base will be a big, stable holonomic drive system. On the back will be that old robotic arm from Owi I used before. The front will have all of the nessesary components, batteries and sensors. In the middle will be a rotating base that holds my laptop, a few cameras, some other stuff like a radio or voice recorder. Here is how the electronics work:
Both microcontrollers are connected to eachother with some method to communicate. Any ideas are welcome. And how do you program the TX and RX ports? Anyway, The “master” controller tells the “slave” what to do and when to show sensor readings for what. The “master” sends print to screen commands to my laptop, which displays them on the terminal window. If a certain part of a program comes in play, the robot will be able to press shortcut keys on my laptop to open and download different programs. I’ll even be able to watch my robot’s actions using skype! I’ll have shortcuts for a lot of things, so basicaly, the robot will be a mobile “media center”. It’s going to be AWRESOME!!!
Any help will be appreciated!!



that sounds really cool! but instead of the “slave” and the “master” idea, i think they should be both automonous, and sending info to each other, determining their next move. i like your idea of it creating it’s own programs as it runs yours, so you will have a never ending stream of new code. don’t be too complex in your drive trains, like combining treads and wheels, just keep it simple (like the squarebot or a swerve drive). and when you say that your robot will press shortcut keys on your laptops, do you mean wirelessly or physically? wirelessly is much more efficient and faster. i have been sitting in school just zoning out and thinking about vex. i’ll keep thinking abut that code.

                                                ~octane (the dax is tripled)

The reason why I will have “slave” and “master” controllers is because I only have one progamming cable. The “master” gets the program updates, while the “slave” has a universal system of working that allows it to follow the “master”'s commands without a program update. And how do you make wireless shortkeys? This will be very useful because I have a limited amount of motor ports. That is basically why I need two controllers.

Anyway, another idea I had was (sorry!) an adveanced drive train. Sort of. I’ll have attachable tank treads for off-road.

Another thing I wanted to mention (sorry for the long posts, I’m just so excited I have to get this out!) was that this robot will be intended for a few uses:
*]Disabled people
*]Possibly security
*]Practicality & every day use
*]Carrying items
*]Retrieving your baseball from a grumpy old nieghbor’s lawn
*]Telepresence if you are immobile (sick, in bed, or busy)
*]Virtual chrismas caroling
*]Fun and games
*]For doing boring stuff such as sorting cards or cleaning
*]TONS of other stuff

I also wish to patent the name. I’ll give CAD instructions out, too!
I’ll give updates after christmas!


for the wireless shortcut, i think whenever a sensor is activated (i.e. a bumper sensor) it adds to or subtracts from a variable. then, using an If block, if the variable reaches or goes below a certain point it runs a different part of the program. you could possibly use this to add new blocks to the program and make it create it’s own, so you’ll never know what’ll happen next. your intended uses seem pretty broad and difficult. i would narrow it down, i think my favorite is the Telepresence or the games. good luck!

Thanks! But is there a way to sort of “intrude” into my laptop to make it do what my robot wants it to do without literally pressing buttons? And by “intrude”, I mean like controlling my laptop, like windows vista’s speech recognition (yeah, I like vista). I can’t make my own software, yet, so I can’t really connect my computer to my robot, yet. That’s the next step on my list. So literally typing is my only option so far.

Happy holidays!!!

maybe you shouldn’t have a connection with the laptop at all. the program should be in the microcontroller, almost like a brain. it will compute everything it needs to do/know.

I’m going to use a huge library of programs, so I want to use my laptop to store all the data. Plus, my robot will be able to play videos,play music, print to screen, and allow me to talk to anyone at the other end. My laptop is a BIG factor of this robot. The laptop is why I decided build this robot.

(Believe in the laptop! Just kidding.)

is the laptop going to be mounted on your robot, or is it a wireless connection between your laptop and your robot?

The laptop’s going to be on the robot (hopefully) in a plexiglass box.

I could’ve used this thing during our robotics competition. I literally had to be in four places at once that day, and one of them was in Michigan! Your new base sounds much better than the old one. No offense to you or the robot, but it was kind of klunky. You need a big, one-piece base for the new one without a doubt. The old one was a good idea, this one is a good invention. Merry Christmas!

Thanks! I agree, the old one was really rickety. Right now I’m organizing the parts from my new starter kit (yay!) so I can build my robot.
Merry christmas!!!

yes! my tri pack bundle arrived just in time for christmas. but has anybody noticed, the metal in the advanced metal kit is really dirty. i mean like, somebody dipped it in dirt and let it sit. and the sensors had this weird smell. who cares though, they work!

OK. Does anyone know how to connect both controllers efficiently? I mean like a way that will save ports and motors and that is easy to program. I’m in 6th grade, so I don’t know much. I’m teaching myself. I’m also wondering if there’s a non-mechanical way for my microcontroller to control my laptop.


and how do i program the tx and rx ports? Do I need easyc pro?


Quazar said that the TX and RX can be programmed with MPLAB, RobotC, and maybe EasyC Pro. Ask him, i’m not sure.

OK, well, I’m still designing the new Flexx in my head, and I have a BUSTED microcontroller. It’s really BUSTED. The other day, I programed a simple test robot to move forward forever and it just sat there. I moved the joystick and it started randomly moving. That’s the result of my shorted component. (I can’t figure out which one it is!:eek:) So I’m visualizing the robot. Anyone know where to buy a vex microcontroller cheap???



c’mon, open up the MC already. it’s broken anyways. Can you post a picture of the circuit boards, too, so i can compare it to mine? Did you even smell something weird when the MC went bad?

Yep. I’ve programmed the TX/RX ports under MPLAB and EasyC Pro - it only takes about a dozen lines of code for basic send-a-byte type of operations. I’m working on a sample ECPro project that I’ll post in the next few days that shows the minimum code to get serial working.

I tried to get serial working in EasyC v2, but was unable to define the uart registers necessary to control the port. Somebody that knows more about ECv2 may be able to make it work.

I don’t see any reason serial wouldn’t work under RobotC, but I haven’t personally tried it.


  • Dean

Smells like burnt electronics. I’ve never smelt burnt electronics before, but I just assumed that my overheating, reeking controller smelled like it. I popped it open a few days ago to check out the electronics (and thats how I saw the extra ports) and everything looked absolutely fine. I re-downloaded the master code several times with no good results. It’s positively defective, although there’s nothing positive about a defective microcontroller. It’s busted for sure.


hmm…sounds like it did short. hopefully not the processor. If the processor is damaged, you could consider the entire thing toast. If not, there might be a part (transistor, diode, etc.) that might be burnt. if you have a fine soldering iron, some skill with soldering, and the right electronics, you might be able to get it to work. and don’t think you won’t be able to do that because you are only in 6th grade; i am too, and soldering is unbelievibly easy and fun (well, i think it is). good luck!