Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners

  1. Course Materials Access
    You will need to set up your account to access course materials – slideshows and other assignments - through CS2N, the Computer Science STEM Network.
    1. Go here and create a username and password:
      2. CHECK YOUR EMAIL for the activation link!
    2. Join the CS2N group for the Class:
      1. Click here to join your class’s Group: [link changes with each training cohort]
      2. You are now added to the Group.
    3. To view the Course Materials:
      1. Go to the CS2N Groups tab
      2. Select [name changes with each training cohort]

  2. Course Equipment
    There are some other things recommended for you to participate in the class.
    1. Download and install the VEXcode programming software.
      1. If you are using the VEX V5 system, download and install VEXcode Pro V5 or VEXcode V5 from the VEX website: 
      2. If you are using the VEX EXP system, download and install VEXcode EXP from the VEX website: 
    2. If you plan to use the VEX V5 system, we recommend the Classroom Starter Kit which contains most of the hardware necessary for the class:
      1. The VEX V5 Classroom Super Kit is also an excellent choice, which contains additional helpful components:
      2. VEX V5 Competition Kits may also be used, but will likely require that a different robot design than the V5 Clawbot be built. All programming concepts covered as part of the course can still be learned, with some minor adaptations based on the differences:
    3. If you plan to use the VEX EXP system, we recommend the Education Kit: 
    4. As part of the training, we will introduce additional sensors compatible with the V5 and EXP system. Please note that these sensors are optional for class completion. 
      1. VEX Vision Sensor (Sold Separately)
      2. VEX Line Tracking Kit  (Sold Separately)
      3. VEX Ultrasonic Rangefinder (Sold Separately) or the VEX Distance Sensor (Included with EXP, Sold Separately with V5)
      4. VEX Inertial Sensor (Optional for EXP, Sold Separately with V5)
      5. VEX Optical Sensor (Included with EXP, Sold Separately with V5)
      6. VEX Smart Cable Starter Pack (276-6364) - Sold Separately 
      7. 3-Wire Extension Cables Cable 12" (4-pack) (276-1426) – Sold Separately
    5. PC or Mac computer, fully up-to-date
    6. At least one free USB ports on your computer for the VEX
    7. Broadband Internet connection
    8. A clear workspace of approximately 8'x4' (2.4m x 1.2m) with a uniformly-colored surface (e.g. white table or floor)
    9. 1-2 rolls of black electrical tape
    10. A ruler or meter stick
    11. 10-12 plastic balls or cubes
    12. A few hardcover books or other free-standing vertical obstacles

  3. Assignment Zero
    The first assignment in this course is simple, just install the various pieces of hardware and software you need for the course.
    1. Things to do:
      1. Give yourself 4-5 hours to complete the following tasks.
      2. Download and Install VEXcode 
        1. Note that administrative privileges may be required to complete the installation
      3. Build your Clawbot!
        1. VEX V5 Clawbot: 
        2. VEX EXP Clawbot: 
      4. Use VEXcode to update the Robot Brain:
        1. VEX V5:
  4. (Optional but recommended) Test Zoom Meeting
    The online training utilizes the Zoom Web Conferencing software. If you’d like to test out if your computer is compatible with the Zoom Web Conferencing software, please use this link to join a Test Meeting:

  5. First class meeting
    The first meeting will be primarily concerned with installation and orientation questions, but we will also begin the course material, so don't miss it!
    1. To connect to class:
      1. Go to: [link changes with each training cohort]
      2. To use your computer audio, select “Join using Computer Audio”.
      3. To call in, click on “Phone Call” and dial the given numbers.