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About Skookumjim

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    Robot inventor

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  1. I have read all sorts of complaints about Robot Inventor and by inference Spike Prime. Some are valid (eg poor documentation)... some are less so (eg colour scheme). One thing seems clear is that the hardware is well thought out (yes there are issues with cables). Now in robotics three elements stand out as being super important: being able to use multiple motors (motors are basic building blocks), multiple sensors plus having the computational brain (and software) to hold it all together. Unfortunately Lego only provide 6 ports on each hub and have 2 versions of software both of which initially appear limiting. Whereas wireless Inter-hub communication could be very helpful enabling models to use multiple hubs and access both software platforms this is not something that Lego have explicitly provided at the moment. There is however a very simple and seemingly reliable work around available immediately that could help in cases where high speed comms and high data volumes are less important. This is to use optical communication. The idea which I have tested is to use the distance sensor to signal light flashes to the colour sensor. The number of flashes in a fixed time frame thus delivers information from Transmitter to Receiver. As expected using downloaded compiled code speeds the process up though not massively. This process could be 2 way, could enable daisy chaining of hubs and could be expanded to longer instructions (again high speed not being a limitation). On the downside the process sacrifices at least one port on each of a pair of hubs (if the requirement is for one way communication between the pair). The sensors need to be carefully and firmly positioned for reliability although there is no other requirement for any connection between them. In this context a model containing the one hub could “launch” the second. As SP and RI software can be easily swapped on any hub the user has the choice of using SP/SP or SP/RI or RI/RI platforms. Unfortunately size limitations prevent me from uploading images of the set up and demo code at the moment.
  2. Skookumjim

    Robot Inventor vs Spike Prime

    I am slowly learning more about the two apps. The documenttion is dreadful. It beggars belief that they dont both have the same underlying functionality (or if they do it is hidden!). It is indeed very frustrating that one has functions that the other doesnt. As of yet I havent tried to switch to Spike Prime as the remote control available in Robot Inventor has more play potential. (I found a non interactive line drawing robot and similarly a robot arm didnt keep my interest once they were working. Sadly Robot Inventor lacks several of the features of Spike Prime such as graphs and "more sensors". What I did discover is that a bit of Spike Prime Scratch code (not python) can be exported to Robot Inventor successfully simply by changing the file name from .llsp to .lms Whether this trick will unlock a bit of hidden code on the Inventor remains to be seen ..if it does you can run the force sensor. I have also exported balancing robot python code from Spike Prime having to make a very small number of changes to make it run on Inventor.... this approach may also help you. It is also possible that the Scratch code might magically appear if a force sensor is attached to the Inventor brick? As of yet I have not tried to switch firmware.
  3. Skookumjim

    Robot Inventor vs Spike Prime

    ... also the RI project page puts user projects at the bottom of the page below all the built in code listings...having to scroll down every time is very annoying.
  4. Skookumjim

    Robot Inventor vs Spike Prime

    Thanks from memory.... I found the printed manual next to useless... the modes of operation of the microprocessor were totally opaque .. and there is at least one that I cant fathom. There were omissions in the python write up (such as conversions from Scratch). There is no way to save code as there is in Spike Prime. It is not possible to print out word block descriptions or python help pages. I still cant figure out exactly how to create and use bespoke Scratch blocks. I had my ipad freeze up a few times using Scratch. Moving some code from my desktop to the ipad caused the loss of all previous models that I had written. i have had some weird coding issues with Scratch... a perfectly good change to a lengthy bit of code can cause the physical model to behave strangely.. dismantle bits of code and reassemble as was and suddenly it works (that probably is also true of Spike Prime). In contrast I am impressed by the geometry/connectivity of the hardware although I have found the medium motors underpowered for a simple robot arm.. they seem to be built for speed not torque and have been difficult to position slowly and accurately under load. The third comment relates to people who have built interesting models and published the code such as a balancing robot or the Swirlbot.
  5. Having passed over EV3 as being long in the tooth I was eager to buy Robot Inventor oblivious of the existence of Spike Prime. As of now I am really regretting not knowing about Spike Prime which appears to more of a toolkit that a toybox and by now has some useful 3rd party contributions. Having reported various frustrating manual and software issues to Lego I now find that the word block descriptions appear to have been taken down (they are still there on Spike Prime). I am minded to load the Spike Prime Firmware onto my RI microprocessor and forget Robot Inventor altogether. Does anyone know whether this is feasible? I guess that it will be as I cant imagine Lego having different chipsets in these boxes.