Carnegie Mellon releases ROBOTC2.0 programming language for educational robots

Apr 07, 2010

Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Academy announces the release of ROBOTC2.0®, a programming language for robots and an accompanying suite of training tools that are easy enough for elementary students to use, but powerful enough for college-level engineering courses.

Like the original, this latest version of ROBOTC is an implementation of the industry-standard C and has a modern programming environment that can grow as students move from elementary through college-level robot programming. ROBOTC2.0 includes significant improvements, however, including a new (GUI) modeled after Microsoft's popular Visual Studio programming environment. It also boasts a unique, interactive real-time debugger that operates with either a wired or wireless connection to a PC.

"Computer programming is not taught at the middle school level, yet hundreds of thousands of children gain their first programming experience with robots," said Robin Shoop, director of the Robotics Academy. "We introduced ROBOTC four years ago because students working with robots should spend their time learning scientific, mathematical and engineering principles, not learning a different programming language for each robot platform. Also, the programming environment students use should be compatible with a language such as C that they likely will use for years to come and with an interface that will help them transition to those used by professionals."

ROBOTC supports the most popular platforms used in schools and in student competitions such as FIRST. It is the only programming language that works for the LEGO Mindstorms RCX and NXT systems as well as the Innovation First VEX and Cortex systems. ROBOTC also is being developed to support additional platforms. Programs written in ROBOTC for one robotic system can be easily adapted to another supported platform.

ROBOTC2.0 was developed under the leadership of Tim Friez, a Robotics Institute and ROBOTC inventor Dick Swan, a Dallas, Texas, software engineer and a long-time contractor to the Robotics Academy.

ROBOTC2.0 is an integrated development environment (IDE) that consists of a compiler, text and project editor and run-time environment. Its debugger supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi links and gives the user complete access from the PC into the operation and step-by-step execution of the programs. ROBOTC2.0 executes instructions extremely fast; on LEGO NXT, its execution speeds are five to 50 times faster than those of other programming solutions, including LEGO's proprietary environment. It includes support for a wide variety of sensors as well as support for WAV and MIDI sound file playback.

Information about ROBOTC2.0 is available at as well as the Robotics Academy Web site, ROBOTC users can obtain free upgrades to 2.0 at these sites.

The Robotics Academy, which is part of Carnegie Mellon's renowned Robotics Institute, develops techniques and tools that help K-12 teachers use robots to teach science and mathematics and to inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Everything from cell phones to entertainment centers requires programming today and Internet connectivity has become a fixture of American life," Shoop said. "Programming is a skill that is increasingly important and, despite popular misconceptions, is key to some of the fastest growing occupations in the world."

Though enrollment in computer science programs increased last year for the first time in six years, educators have been concerned about lagging interest among U.S. students.

"If we want America to lead the world in innovation, we need more students studying computer science, not fewer," Shoop said.

Explore further: Mandela phone app for tourists in S.Africa

Related Stories

Not exactly your grandfather's Lego

Jul 15, 2008

( -- Some students just can't get enough of a good thing. Willingly spending more than 11 hours a day in a classroom is what happens when you combine Lego robotics with inquisitive minds.

'Last Lecture' prof's program to be updated

Jul 31, 2009

(AP) -- Carnegie Mellon University will release an updated version of the animation-based software developed by late "last lecture" professor Randy Pausch to teach computer programming.

'The robots are coming'

Jan 29, 2009

Alexander Stoytchev and his three graduate students recently presented one of their robot's long and shiny arms to a visitor. Here, they said, swing it around.

Google Go gets going (w/ Video)

Nov 11, 2009

( -- Google has introduced its new experimental programming language Go, which aims to combine speedy application development through simplified coding with high-speed program execution.

Students Hone Engineering Skills in Robotics

Dec 09, 2009

( -- Robots have fascinated future engineers for generations. Recently, a group of young students had an opportunity to design and build their own robots using LEGOs, the popular plastic pieces ...

Recommended for you

Mandela phone app for tourists in S.Africa

14 hours ago

A phone app tracing the footsteps of Nelson Mandela was launched Wednesday in South Africa to encourage tourists to explore his life story, 25 years after his release from prison.

App to test synaesthesia

14 hours ago

Four in hundred people have a special mix up of their senses, called synaesthesia. A new app from Radboud University contains four playful tests for synaesthesia. Should you happen to have synaesthesia, you ...

Windows Insiders can try out Project Spartan browser

Mar 31, 2015

Microsoft has opened up the (literal) windows, called in creatives, and has been engineering a next-generation browser. Project Spartan is to reflect the general mood of fresh air at Redmond. Although "Project ...

New taxi app challenges Uber in S.Korea

Mar 31, 2015

South Korea's top mobile messenger operator launched a new web-based cab-hailing service Tuesday to compete with California-based Uber, whose service has been subjected to crackdowns from state regulators.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.