Microsoft's VPL is a valuable tool for education. It is a drag and drop language (Visual Programming Language) with support for many different robots, including Lego NXT. However, Microsoft recently dropped support for their VPL. In an effort to create a substitute, we at ASU have developed ASU-VPL which has support for the new Lego EV3 and any open platform robot, including the Intel Edison.
In this tutorial, we will build an Intel Edison robot and show you how to program it using ASU-VPL.
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Step 1: Basic Frame
First, you want to build a frame (body) for the robot.
You need to make sure that the frame is compatible with your chosen motors (shown above0).
Also pick out appropriate wheels and attach them to the frame.
Step 2: Electronics, Part One
Next, Connect your motors and motor controllers to the underside of your robot. Make sure the cables are tied down and the connections are secure.
Add your Intel Edison board to the top of the robot, and connect it to an appropriate power source.
Step 3: (Optional!) Add Sensors!
Add your chosen sensors to the robot. Make sure your cables are long enough to reach the Edison.
Step 4: Wire It Up!
Connect all of the motor controllers and sensors to the Edison.
Make sure the connections are secure and the wiring is safe.
Step 5: Programming in ASU-VPL
In order to allow interaction with ASU-VPL, the program on your Intel Edison must be able to send sensor data in the Robot Output JSON format shown in the image and receive/act on servo/motor data received in the Robot Input JSON format.
The ASU-VPL diagram shown is a simple drive-by-wire for holonomic drive. Other drive/sensor activities may be added depending on your robot's configuration.
Each Robot service (including motors + sensors) must be configured. The Robot requires an IP Address (of the robot) and the TCP Port (specified in the code you wrote for your Edison - the port on which you opened a TCP Server Socket). Sensors and motors require port numbers and a partner choice (i.e. which robot is that motor/sensor attached to).
ASU-VPL Downloads: http://venus.eas.asu.edu/WSRepository/ASU-VPL/
Step 6: Drive It
Go play with your new Intel Edison-based robot!