Vex Projects that I am working on......

Just though I would drop all of you a note, since I have been on a Mental Vacation for over 6 months and I am just getting back to being focused on Vex Things…

Vex On-Line Code v2.x
The improvements to the Vex On-Line Code v2.x has been “stuck” at v 0.81(B). I am still working on expanding the Protocol to handle Timing Critical Sensors like the Ultrasonic Sensors, the Optical Encoders, and I would assume the Analog Accelerometer. Even the Line Follower and Light Sensor might benefit from the Vex Controller processing the information Locally, verses just reporting the Analog Values.

Along the way, I intend to add support for the DEMOQE TOOLKIT, since this would be a great assistance for Graphing the Data from some of the Vex Sensors, like the Analog Accelerometer, and hopefully the Analog Yaw Rate Gyroscope.

“Robotic Open-Communication Interconnection Protocol”

A Big Work in Progress, but I am “formulating a plan”. I have gotten “redirected” onto other projects that immediately help others… :wink: But, I am thinking Big Picture, Long Term, Foundation Making stuff for RO-CIP…

I setup a temporary web site on my Comcast Account in SEP-2008, but now I have a permanent Home for it, RO-CIP. I will make it Interactive and User Driven, sooner or later…
On 28-MAY-2009, Steve Elmer, the owner and founder of the web site contacted me about “taking it over”, since he was spending more time on other projects and did not have time to keep it maintained.

So on 08-JUN-2009, I assumed control of the HobbyVex Domain, and will be adding some New Projects, as well as maintaining the Old Projects.

The Old Projects are currently PDA for VEX Robotics Kits, Not-So-Easy-C, and PDA for VEX Robotics Kits.

Win32 PC Program for the Vex On-Line Code v2.x
I have been waiting for someone to make an “Available Source” version of the Vex Controller On-Line Window found in the intelitek Loader Program.

GGCO, posted on 23-JUN-2009 some Micro-Soft, Visual Studio C# Code for Reading the Com Port, VEX Serial Port Reader (PROGRAM & SOURCE CODE).

I have used that Source Code, to create a Basic Functionality version of the Vex Controller On-Line Window.

I don’t really use Visual Studio, and I never tried Coding any C#, until 23-JUN-2009, so my C# Code is “real bad”, like REAL BAD!!!, so I don’t want to release the Source Code, yet! But I will Release the Executable, Serial Port Reader 0.80ß (VEX On-Line Code Version). This is a Visual Studio, C# 2008 application and requires .NET Runtime Version 3.5 to run. I am going to expand the Protocol of the “Vex On-Line Code”, for the Vex Controller to support reporting Version Number, and report How Many Analog Inputs and Digital Inputs, so that the future versions of Vex Controller On-Line Window, “Available Source” Version, can automatically enable the correct display options.

Vex On-Line Code v3.x
In looking at the Data Stream from the “Vex On-Line Code v3.x” for the Vex, and not seeing any Updates on the “intelitek Loader v3.1”, On-Line Windows, it occurred to me that maybe the Vex Controller Code is “broken”, so I loaded the FRC 18F8520 Code into the Vex Controller, and Discovered an entirely different Data Format…

Vex On-line Program Output

IO 993 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 

FRC (for 18F8520) On-line Program Output

DIO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
AI 1006 1022 1022 1022 1022 1022 1022 1021 1022 1022 298 334 1003 1022 1022 1022

Note that the FRC Code has Two Different Data Records, and Testing showed I could get the Reported Data to change by Using Switches and the a Line Follower Sensor.

These are my Testing Notes from 10-JUL-2009

Cricket LOGO Interpreter
I was thinking something like Re: Vex On-Line Controller Code v2.x, ROAD MAP (Post #3), and then found that the MIT Media Lab has some small Robots, with a LOGO Interpreter “on-board”. Better Yet, they (MIT) have a Language Specification for the “Cricket LOGO”.

Micro-Soft Robotics Development Studio 2000 R2
Micro-Soft has had a Couple Updates since “Micro-Soft Robotics Development Studio 1.5”. Unfortunately, the “latest” R2 release still does not support the Vex… I am looking into how that “Support” is done, to see if I can “make it happen”, baring that, maybe someone at Micro-Soft can add that for us Vex(ers). On an very interesting side note, Micro-Soft Robotics Development Studio 2000 R2 does support through a RS-232 Serial Interface, the Kondo KHR-1 Humanoid Robot

Kondo KHR-1 Humanoid Robot.
Was about $1500.00 (USD), now down to about $1000.00 (USD), and has 17 Servos, two Control Boards, controlling up to 12 Servo Each, but the RS-232 Communication Protocol is Documented, and there is Win32 Software (including Micro-Soft RDS 2000-R2) to communicate with it. I think it will be possible to make a Kondo KHR-1 “emulator” for the Vex Controller, that will let the Vex work with “Micro-Soft RDS 2000-R2”. There could be a Real Big Use for Quazar’s How to drive more motors from a Vex!.

The JVex Project
I still need to thoroughly Check Out all that they have done with the JVEX Protocol Definitions. The Return Values from the Vex Controller are a Hybrid between Full ASCII and Binary, described as “ASCII Encoded Hex”. I want to move toward a Total Binary Protocol. There would be some value in seeing how the Various Sensors were implemented, but there is satisfaction in doing all the work myself, plus I can give the results away, with no fear of violating anyone’s Licensing Agreement.

Other Thoughts (in the back of my brain)
Autonomous Telepresence Robot
dylanjkj19 started this thread, Autonomous Telepresence Robot Help, on 25-JUL-2008.

I started to “sketch out” some ways of Mapping an “Unknown Amount of Space” in the most efficient way into a “Finite Amount of Memory”. That Statement sounds weird, but memory is at a Premium and unless a Bi-Direction Link is required, the Vex will need to Store Data…

I am thinking at the Very Least, an Ultrasonic Sensor and Two Optical Encoders will be needed to Map a Room. Better yet will be Two Ultrasonic Sensors on Movable Servos, or Four Ultrasonic Sensor, and/or an Accelerometer and/or a Compass. As of 17-JUL-2009, I have One Vex Accelerometer and Two Parallax PING))) Ultrasonic Sensors. New Projects

The New Projects for I am thinking of are, Cricket LOGO Interpreter, Vex emulation of Kondo KHR-1, and Autonomous Telepresence Robot.

Some “Food for Thought” on and my other Web sites.

I have felt that the “Vex Robotics Focus” should be and, to keep everything in One or Two places.

I originally setup, because you only have a 24 Hour windows to Edit your Posts at, and I want to be able to Re-Structure my Vex Information over a period of time. The Vex Wiki helps to alleviate that issue now, BUT I am beginning to think that too much of this Hobbyist Usage of Vex posted at the Vexforum will be distracting from the Primary Purpose of Vex, which is Jr/Middle School and High School (and College) competitions.

Maybe I am wrong, but I am still Contributing to and, Working on adding to the Vex Wiki, while adding Projects to and

Hey MarkQ,

Would you like some help with I’m a certified graphic designer and web developer. I also have administered several different forums for years at a time. I would honestly like to grow that site.

If your interested just email me or PM me.

I am thinking on this…

Do you have some ideas for the Site Look and Feel?? Links to some site for an idea???

Tell ya what, I’ll throw something together in Photoshop…

(In the voice of Mr. Burns, from the Simpson’s)

Hehe, found this for ya…


One hour later… BING!

For a quick concept, I like it. We could take it in any direction if you’d like.

Just so you know I used this site as inspiration.

Tell me whatcha think.


I like the look… The Red is great… Vex Colors, but no Vex Specifics… That is OK…

Are you thinking of staying with Static Pages, or some kind of Content Management System.

I am still determining what all will be needed for the Site… You Thoughts???

I would use phpBB for the forum. I know the inner and outer workings of it and I have seamlessly integrated it with many websites before. Plus it’s free and awesome.

We could throw in a Wiki but since Vex already has on I think it would me redundant.

As far as regular CMS’s, I try to stay away from them. Scripts can be found or made to make phpBB into certain things (IE a gallery, portal, etc.).

On the template side, here are my thoughts. I’m known as a professionalist. If that makes any since. People usually like my websites because they are “clean.” I couldn’t think of a great way to integrate the Vex metal pattern into that, but if I do - I will.

(In the voice of Mr. Burns, from the Simpson’s)

I was think of phpbb too. I am paying for this out of my own pocket, and vBulletin, which I like very much, is some Money upfront…

I am sure there are many configuration options for phpbb, but I don’t like the way VexFan is configured, in that you see the New Messages “flagged”, only the Next Time you visit… It is too easy to loose track of New Messages. The way the RobotC Forum is setup appeals to me much better. The New Messages stay “flagged” until read…

For Basic, IFI developed Hardware, Teams, People and such yes… For 3rd Party Hardware and “other stuff”, a Separate Wiki might be appropriate. That would be “down the road”… So don’t plan “to implement that” for now, but leave a plan in place for it. You could always have a Wiki Link to the Vex Wiki.

Good to know… I mean " Excellent!!!"

I like “clean” as well… The KISS principal…

I personally, work for a small Electronics Company, and know about developing a Product, bringing it to market, Polishing your Public Image, Protecting your Name, Trademarks, and your “Look and Feel”.

I am comfortable with having Similar Colors on the Web Site as the Vex Web Site, but keeping away from the Specifics, like the Vex Metal Pattern. I think the Color Scheme will be enough for people to recognize that is Vex Related… is, and will always be as far as I am concerned, a Non-Profit entity for Exploring and Extending Vex beyond the Middle-School, High-School, College level Education. No advertising, or profit making. No competition with IFI, just support of their Product, in the areas that they are not pursuing.

All interesting. Quick question… My backgrounds include: graphics design, web development, 3D animation and IT. However I have no legal skills. I need a patent for one of my projects and an LLC for Polynomic 3D. If you could help me in that regard it would make me happy. If not then maybe you can point me in the right direction.

On the money side, for Polynomic 3D I have web hosting. I put most of my clients on that package and charge a bit (about $5/mo) for hosting and management. If you want we could migrate the site there just to make the hosting cost (I’m paying for the hosting anyway, regardless). Just a thought.

On the Wiki, the only good / free / reliable Wiki script is MediaWiki. I’ve used it but it can be a pain to “skin” to a site theme. Most sites (including Vex) don’t bother but I have done it before.

Tell ya what, why don’t we move this. I’ll PM you some contact info and we can have a phone conversation if you’d like.

Does the code that receives the vex data allow you to transmit data to the vex as well?

I really want to build a completely decked out receiving program. What I envision is a program that allows you to (for starters) record and export data from all the sensors to text files seamlessly in the background. It would then have separate tools in it that can be run to graph and analyze data (flag high/low values, averages, notice rapid/gradual changes ect…) it could then print graphs as well as reports of what it found in the data. Real time data graphing/visualization is another thing that I think would be awesome.

The print line function in easy c sends serial data so sending variables to the my program would be as simple as printing the variable to the serial port!

Your autonomous telepresence robot is a sweet idea, kinda gave me another idea to! I have actually toyed around with this idea but I thought about having a program graph ultrasonic sensor values as radar blips on a computer screen and then connect the dots to form a “picture” of what its surroundings are like. Then you could print the picture and show it off to people.

I am going on vacation tomorrow so what better will there be to do than program on a nice sunny beach…need i say more???

Anyway your projects are really cool!!!

Mine does, the Vex Serial Port Reader 0.80ß (VEX On-Line Code Version) Program, mimics the On-Line Window in the intelitek Downloader Program.

I left a Data Entry textbox place in my application (not active, but could be made so) to send Data directly to the Robot… The “Batch Mode” would use the “Write Button”, where as the “Interactive Mode” would send the Values as you type them.

That is what I am working on… Some sensors are straight Digital or Analog values, if you need a list just ask… Others like the Ultrasonic Sensors will need some “local processing”, before being sent to the PC.

Check out the Links I put in my post… Because I am working on the Accelerometer right now, for someone’s project, I think that I am going to add DEMOQE TOOLKIT support immediately.

You are correct, see the Vex On-Line Controller Code v2.x (Available Source Version 0.81 Beta) Code for how I did that…

I give dylanjkj19 the credit, I am just figuring out the pieces… :wink: A Picture could be generated like you said, or a Map of the Room could be made… See the Post Re: Autonomous Telepresence Robot Help (Post 10), from Buddy_Jr, about a Program called “Strabo”. Strabo is a real rough program to use, and requires a HTTP and TCP/IP connection… But I have some Ideas that can be implemented in Visual Studio, with a TableLayoutPanel.

I hope you have Internet Access… :wink:

Thank!! I really hope so… Not all the Projects were my ideas, but I am always happy to help with “Problem Solving” things for people…

Yep I’ve got wifi everywhere, at the airport (where I am right now), the resort, and the beach. The only place I don’t have wifi is the airplane which sucks. But I put a few movies on my hard drive (saves the battery as you don’t have to run the dvd drive!) so that should take the place of wifi for now.

Can’t wait to get coding…only 12 more hours in the air lol.

What are you going to start Coding on?? Do you have a plan, or are you just “hacking around”??

Where are you headed that is 12 Hours away by plane.

I’m going to code a program to analyze sensor data, not necessarily a program aimed at vex but it could easily be implemented. Since I don’t have any hardware except my laptop I will just generate text files and get it to work with that first. When I get back I can get it to work with serial but for now text files will have to suffice.

I’m in Hawaii, came from the east coast so its 12 hours.

A real good idea… That will be helpful, even beyond the Vex itself… Like working with the RO-CIP Protocol.

I should have though of that… :wink: From the West Coast, 12-13 hours of Flight Time will get you to Thailand or Malaysia.

I’m trying to do some research now about detecting patterns in data, it seems like this will be an interesting project!

I have no Legal Skills either. If you need a simple LLC, there are Web Sites that can walk you through the Process, Patents are “a whole nother mater”…

Patent Lawyers are just about the Highest Paid Lawyers, Because they go to College, for something Like Electrical Engineering, then to Law School.

Does anyone else have anything to add on this matter???

The patent is for a somewhat revolutionary idea of mine but for obvious reasons I can’t share it. That’s fine, I’m just poking around to see what I can use.


Just be careful when you consider taking out a patent. Sure they are fun to have, I have 5, but one needs to seriously consider if they are worth the paper they are printed on.

Consider these points:-
1/ You have to patent your idea in prety much every country in the world otherwise someone can just copy your product in a country where you do not have a patent.
2/ You have to have the money to defend your patent as no-one else will. This can cost 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars.
3/ Patents can be skirted around if not written very carefully
4/ The fees to file a patent are fairly large and you pay for every country/region
5/ Once your patent is published everyone can easily find out what the core of your good idea is. And in some cases the people who like to copy stuff have electronic watches on patent registries so they can always find out ‘whats new’ as soon as the patent is filed
6/ You cannot even patent some things

You may now be asking ‘so why have a patent’ well…
1/ Cool feeling
2/ You can sell patents to companies that can afford to defend them
3/ It helps you find out if your idea infringes on someone elses patent

Have fun and good luck just remember it may be better to spend your money on developing your product rather than patent lawyers.