This year, FIRST Team 2168 was selected to beta test the new control system. The first phase of the testing involved making sure the new version of the LabVIEW development system would work on our team's computers. After that, we ported last year's robot code to the new version of the software, ensuring that it all worked. Any hiccups or problems were reported to the development team at FIRST.


For the Kinect, the first phase of testing again involved installing new software. Here, the software would enable communication to the Kinect sensor. Once we had set up the software and the sensor itself, we created a program to integrate the Kinect into the new version of the LabVIEW software, so we would be able to control the robot with it. It was less difficult than we expected- the software that FIRST provided for the Kinect did most of the work for us. The output of the FIRST software was a pair of virtual joysticks- one for each arm- that we could then bring into the program we were creating in LabVIEW. The end result allows you to operate the robot with your left arm controlling the left set of wheels and your right arm controlling the right set of wheels. We determined that it was fun, but it would not be a valid way to control the robot for an entire match.

At the end of the beta test program, we held an open house for area teams to see what we had done. We held the open house in the school cafeteria- a nice open area. We had the robot running from the Kinect, and everybody really enjoyed it. We also had our practice robot running to demonstrate a new communications protocol that debuted last year, and we had a couple of powerpoints running with the new beta test hardware and software features. The open house was a great success, with many local teams attending.




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