Robotics Unit 4: November 15 Reflection

Today we got time to work on a simple program to remote control our Vex Squarebot. I learned how to remote control it through the example programs in the Vex programmer. We also had to create a special function to activate when I press a button, which I set the robot to turn in circles for 4 seconds in each direction. Then I got some time to work on our final project, which was the robot dance.

Robotics Unit 4: Remote Control Questions

1. What is a remote control? A remote control is a device used to tell another device what to do through live communication. As opposed to having the robot work autonomously, we give it directions of what to do as it is performing a task.

2. Why use remote controls? We use remote controls to control robots and other devices. This has some advantages over autonomous actions because if some mistakes happen, as we work in a physical work, we can quickly account for it. If a robot is working autonomously, it may encounter some problems, such as bumping into walls. A human can account for this with a remote control by controlling the robot, telling it when to move forward and when to turn. A remote control has many advantages over autonomous control, but there are also some disadvantages. For example, if a human makes a mistake, the robot could possibly have a worse outcome than if it performed the mistake itself.

3. Different types of Remote Controls Remote controls are used to control devices, but different types of controls are made to control specific devices. A computer mouse is optimized to move the cursor and interact with the computer, a TV remote has many buttons so you can choose channels to watch. A video game controller is made for the best video game experience, and a keyboard is made to input letters and language onto a device.

4. Spaceship remote control challenge Wireless remote controls use waves to communicate, and these waves can travel as fast as the speed of light. On Earth, there are no issues with this speed as the communication is almost instantaneous. However, in space, distance is drastically increased. Since the waves can at most move at the speed of light a spaceship that is at the edge of the solar system would take a longer amount of time to send and receive from. An example of a spaceship like this is Voyager 1, launched by NASA, who now takes at least 3 days to communicate with because it is so far away from us, even leaving the solar system. This large span of time for communication means that real-time control is no longer an advantage and it is more difficult to know what action the robot should do next.

5. Improving a remote control Many remotes are already pretty well made, but, if I had the option to improve a remote, I would improve the basic Television Remote. A TV remote has many buttons and is pretty complicated if you have never used it before. You should be given the option to simplify or complicate it as much as you want, and what system to use. Some remotes have buttons assigned to certain channels, and others have a channel selection control, so you can scroll through them. Something such as a touchscreen has the easy ability to be customized, and thus this concept you could use to create an easy customizable TV remote.