The test robot was designed out of necessity for high school students participating the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). If you are not familiar with FRC, it is a program for high school students to develop, build, and compete with a 120lb robot that they create in 6 weeks. We noticed that programming students on a local team were having difficulty finding time to test their code. With only 6 weeks to design and build, the students who needed to write and test code were often only allotted the last few days to do so.
This test robot allows the students to test code on a small, low(er) cost platform. The FRC competition restricts the use of computation to the NI roboRIO. Our platform uses the roboRIO, and comes with sensors that are similar to what students might use. (Ultrasonic senors, encoders, etc.) They can learn about feedback loops with these sensors and when they are ready to switch to the fill size robot, they know that their code will work and all they have to do is adjust some PID parameters.
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