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recent changes to Tekkotsu

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  • Dave Touretzky
    Dear Tekkotsu User Community: I m writing to let you know about some important changes to Tekkotsu and the Tekkotsu robotics curriculum for 2012. 1. No more
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2012
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      Dear Tekkotsu User Community:

      I'm writing to let you know about some important changes to Tekkotsu
      and the Tekkotsu robotics curriculum for 2012.

      1. No more dollar signs ($) in state machines.

      We've simplified the state machine syntax so that the $ symbol is no
      longer required as a first argument to node constructors. Where you
      once wrote SpeechNode($,"Hello") you can now just write
      SpeechNode("Hello"). This change is backward-compatible, so you don't
      need to alter your existing code. But the labs and tutorials on the
      Tekkotsu wiki have been updated to reflect the change. [Technical note:
      we do give up some flexibility by eliminating the $, but it was
      determined that the benefits from this simplification outweighed the
      inconvenience of altering some obscure special cases where the $
      requirement made a difference.]

      2. Full resolution camera images.

      Tekkotsu previously used half-resolution (320x240) camera images to
      speed up vision processing, but as netbooks are now faster, we have
      switched to full resolution images in order to improve the robot's
      visual acuity. This means you'll be able to read AprilTags at greater
      distances, and you'll be able to recognize lines and ellipses more
      reliably. We are working on some speedups to partially counter the
      increased processing cost. If you want to stick with half-resolution
      images, you can modify the CameraResolutionX and CameraResolutionY
      values in Shared/CommonInfo.h and, and the Resolution parameter in
      project/defaults/hal-Create.plist.

      3. New, more robust color threshold file.

      We've developed a new color threshold file that supports fewer colors
      (just red, blue, green, and black) but is much more robust to varying
      lighting conditions. The new file in the project/ms/config directory
      is called rgbk.tm, accompanied by rgbk.col. It is now the default
      choice. The old threshold file is still available as
      7general.tm/7general.col. To switch to a different threshold file,
      edit both the .tm and .col file names in
      project/ms/configt/tekkotsu.xml. You must restart the ControllerGUI
      if you switch threshold files.

      4. New labs on debugging with gdb, and on dual-coding vision.

      I've created a new lab to teach students how to use the gdb debugger:
      http://wiki.tekkotsu.org/index.php/Lab:_Debugging_with_gdb

      I'm also working on a series of new labs that cover dual-coding
      vision. The first lab is nearly complete; you can see it here:
      http://wiki.tekkotsu.org/index.php/Lab:_Vision_in_Camera_Space
      Two more are planned.

      5. I've created a pair of aluminum paddles that a Create robot can use
      to trap objects against its front bumper and push them around. Dave
      Barnett has been developing code to allow the Create robot to push
      objects using the Pilot and these paddles. A first version of this
      code will be released soon.

      To pick up these software changes, do a cvs update on your robots and
      recompile Tekkotsu. I'll send out another announcement when the new
      Pilot object pushing code is ready.

      -- Dave
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