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Thread: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

  1. #1
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    Default Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    Our team is considering purchasing a bluetooth dongle to help speed up transfer of programs to the bot. Does anyone know of other handy uses for the bluetooth capability? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    I built a R/C program with LabVIEW (not for competition, of course). I have seen some teams with FTC BT controller experience use bluetooth to R/C their robot around to prototype different ideas.

    I would recommend purchasing the bluetooth dongle. The time saved just in downloading programs far outweighs the money spent.
    RoboDesigners

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    Another HUGE Benefit is to be able to download pieces of code or read sensors without touching the robot.

    By downloading pieces of code you can program "from here forward".
    Jamie Diamond
    Cougar Lego Robotics Team (Get Over It! #4251)
    (Smart Moves #127, Climate Connections #437, Power Puzzle #1470)
    coach@cougarrobot.com
    http://www.cougarrobot.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    I found the (fully compatible) Belkin units on Amazon for about $13 each.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    Remember at tournaments you can not use bluetooth. So don't loose that USB cable.

    Laura
    --Laura

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    Another great thing with having the ability to download programs to the robot wherever it is sitting in the room, is the fun of rebuilding it after somebody accidentally hits "Download and Run" when the robot is sitting on a table with nobody close enough to catch it. After the second time this happened to us, it started to lose its fun side though...

    But in all, so long as you protect against the robot accidentally activating when it would be a danger to it (such as when a robot starts to drive and lift an arm, in a kid's hands, which results in the kid being startled and letting go of it as a reflex) then the bluetooth does offer a great time saver, and effort too, for not having to walk the robot over and hook the cable up, then walk it back to the table, during program tweaking.

    Also, remember that when it is now connected to the computer with bluetooth all the time, it makes it easy to keep an eye on the voltage level of the batteries.
    This requires discipline. Yes, sir! True satisfaction! That's what discipline brings! Even the five court ladies dancing to frog flutes and drums had it, and so did the whirlwind of recycled paper! Computer graphics playing in my head and I like it! Anyone who is concerned about expiration dates, step aside now! No one gets in the way of my glory train! This whole festival was put together by twenty third-graders with lots of hutspa and one panda!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bluetooth, Is It worth it?

    There are a few risks of wireless but I think they're about the same as wired. Ever pick up the robot, not paying attention to the fact that the cable is still connected, and have it either jerk the robot out of your hands or pull the laptop off the table?

    We do a bit of our early programming with what we call "Incremental Development with Bluetooth". It might go like this...

    Measure the length you want the robot to move, say 70 inches. Give the robot a move block for a length of 70 inches (and I assume the kids know how many degrees or rotations to give the robot to go 70 inches). You look at the robot and it's where you want it to be. So now the kids have it turn left (right motor forward XX degrees), download and run selected. Ok that looks good, so let's back up and square up against the wall. (we still haven't picked up the robot). So they insert a "Back to Wall" MyBlock and download and run selected. They programmed each step, sort of one at a time, using a tape measure and maybe a protractor, building their program. Now after a few steps are programmed, they pick up the robot, reset it to the launch location, and try running the whole thing all strung together. It will run a little bit different than each block by itself but it's still a nice and effective way for the kids to break things down and build it one block at a time, seeing the effect of each individual piece of code.
    Jamie Diamond
    Cougar Lego Robotics Team (Get Over It! #4251)
    (Smart Moves #127, Climate Connections #437, Power Puzzle #1470)
    coach@cougarrobot.com
    http://www.cougarrobot.com

  8. #8
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    Default Worth it, but some Bluetooth operations require patience

    We've found that it can sometimes take 3-4 minutes to establish the initial Bluetooth connection between the computer and the robot, once NXT-G program is opened and the robot is turned on; however, if a team member is going to program for an extended period of time, the initial synchronization time is more than made up for by the time saved in plugging in the robot to the cable for each program update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schlauncha View Post
    Also, remember that when it is now connected to the computer with bluetooth all the time, it makes it easy to keep an eye on the voltage level of the batteries.
    It is convenient to be able to see this information. However, it can sometimes take another 30-40 seconds to open up the memory/battery information within the NXT-G program (I assume this is because the robot doing a complete uploading of its memory contents to the computer).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Worth it, but some Bluetooth operations require patience

    Quote Originally Posted by Silent_Lion View Post
    We've found that it can sometimes take 3-4 minutes to establish the initial Bluetooth connection between the computer and the robot, once NXT-G program is opened and the robot is turned on; however, if a team member is going to program for an extended period of time, the initial synchronization time is more than made up for by the time saved in plugging in the robot to the cable for each program update.



    It is convenient to be able to see this information. However, it can sometimes take another 30-40 seconds to open up the memory/battery information within the NXT-G program (I assume this is because the robot doing a complete uploading of its memory contents to the computer).
    Yikes! You must be using a Mac. I've heard BT was sometimes slow with those, but that is horrible. On my Windows 7 laptop the wait time is a few seconds.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Worth it, but some Bluetooth operations require patience

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Hystad View Post
    Yikes! You must be using a Mac. I've heard BT was sometimes slow with those, but that is horrible. On my Windows 7 laptop the wait time is a few seconds.
    That's useful to know that this synchronization delay is unreasonably long. We use some fairly old PC's running XP, which may account for some of the delay, but I'm guessing we have a lot of wireless interference in the 2.4 GHz band in our house, between wireless phones and WIFI devices.

    We've never tried the Bluetooth except at home (we take cables to mentoring sessions and tournaments), I had just assumed that there was a long synch time with the robots.

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