ChipBots

 
 

It’s not just the programming that makes every ChipBot unique. Bot designers can mix and match parts out of a catalog that includes radars, self-repair mechanisms, shields, treads, and lasers. To complete the challenges in ChipBots, it takes the right combination of programming and design.


For example, a bot with a powerful weapon still needs to make skillful use of its radar to track down opponents. Speedy wheels may cover ground quickly, but not be able to navigate tight mazes as well as slower treads.


Every design choice requires tradeoffs and every design choice will alter the effectiveness of the bot’s programming.


 

Design

ChipBots presents a unique challenge to design and program your own robotic champions. Test your creations to track down moving targets, navigate a complex maze, or duke it out in a robotic melee.


Program your ChipBots without typing a word using a drag and drop environment. Easy to get started. Limitless possibilities. 

Program robots in a unique environment where coding is as simple as dragging and dropping chips onto boards. The coding language is easy to understand, but rich enough to provide  a wide range of robot behavior.


The program on the left instructs the bot to move forward, then test to see if it’s run into anything. When it hits a bump, it takes six steps back, turns left, and starts moving forward again. It may look simple, but it’s not a bad start for a bot that needs to wend its way through a maze or prowl the boundaries of a combat arena.


Multiple trays of chips allow bot designers to deal with movement, sensors, equipment, and program control.

Program

At any time, you can toss your bot into the test arena to see how its shaping up, but once you’ve worked out the kinks in your design, it’s time for some special challenges.


Skeet sends a cloud of fast moving targets spinning around your bot. Can it use radar and weapons to spot and drop the targets before time runs out?


Maze drops your bot into a twisty, tough to navigate labyrinth with only seconds to find its way to the other end.


Chase pits your bot against a squad of marching feet that are immune to laser shots, but not to being run over by bot-treads.


And finally, Melee lets you pick three opponents and drop your bot into a free-for-all combat where only the best combination of design and programming can win out.

Compete

In March of 2012, my wife was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system that requires immediate and tough treatment.  For the next six months, both of us spent a lot of time in waiting rooms, treatment centers and doctor’s offices as she endured lengthy treatments with harsh chemotherapy and two hospitalizations with opportunistic infections.


While sitting through those long days, I began to fiddle with the Codea development tool for the iPad. Codea is a great little programming environment that uses Lua to allow you to code straight on the iPad.


With the encouragement of my wife and considerable help from the Codea community, I used ChipBots both as a way to learn, and a way to think about something other than the eight gallons of chemicals being piped straight into my wife’s chest during each chemo cycle.


By the end of the summer, my wife was in remission and ChipBots was in beta.


This is my first application, and technically it’s a one person effort, but it doesn’t feel that way. Sarah, take a bow.


Mark Sumner

December 2012


Contact Information: devilstower@gmail.com

The Story Behind ChipBots

©Copyright 2012 by Mark Sumner