How to Use VRT as a Simple Calculator

We will walk you through the tips and tricks on how to use VRT as a calculator in a few easy steps.

STEP 1

Make sure you have a project open in the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, as well as a blank EV3 project. Turn on the Virtual Brick by clicking the middle button.

STEP 2

The virtual brick needs to be connected to the Virtual Robotics toolkit. Do this by checking the WIFI box.

STEP 3

When you click the red tab, you will see the math block. Drag and drop it to the start of the program. Set the mode to addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.

STEP 4

Click on the green tab below. Then drag the display block and place it after the math block.

STEP 5

Set it to Text, then choose Pixels. Then click the “Mindstorms” text and select “Wired”.

STEP 6

Click on the results box on the math block and drag it across to connect it to the Text block as shown.

STEP 7

Click on the orange tab. Then drag the wait block and drop it in between the math block and the display block.

STEP 8

Set the time in seconds according to your preferences.

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An Interview with Mylene Abiva (Cogcast #07)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

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BIO

Mylene Abiva is the President & CEO of FELTA Multi-Media Inc., a 56-year-old company that introduces innovative instructional materials and educational devices for school technology. FELTA has been the Education Solution Provider of INTEL Education since 2012.

Mylene has a ton of achievements to her name; she is a former President of the Philippine Marketing Association, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines Women Entrepreneur) 2009, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Awardee 2016, and the list goes on. 

Mylene is proud to be the first and only female ambassador for the World Robot Olympiad, otherwise known as the WRO, has been involved in her fair share of competitive robotics. She and her company have been the organizers of the Philippine Robotics Olympiad since 2001, the WRO International Final WRO in 2010 in Manila, and the World Robot Olympiad Friendship Invitational 2018 in Cebu.

FELTA has also been heavily involved in Robot Virtual Games, an online robotics platform, which allows students of any age to compete against each other globally.

Timestamp

00:46 – Guest Introduction

2:56 – Currently working on

4:39 – How to innovate a company while staying true to its origins

6:47 – Where does ‘Champion of the Geeks’ come from?

10:32 – How parents can support their children

13:25 – How can students take steps to improve their education

15:57 – What will companies need to innovate next?

17:50 – Virtual competitions with Robot Virtual Games

21:10 – Is homeschooling here to stay?

23:27 – Passion versus purpose

25:36 – Traits that allow leaders to succeed in business

28:40 – Thoughts on emerging tech and the future

30:10 – Her message to the world

Follow Mylene via the links Below

Mylene’s LinkedIn

Mylene’s Facebook

Mylene’s email

Mylene’s TEDx Talk

FELTA’s website

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Virtual Robotics: The Essential Addition To School Curricula

Are your students learning the old school way and are they bored while they’re in class? Do you struggle with keeping them engaged and excited about the educational material? It’s time to modify your curriculum.

In today’s fast-paced era, school courses need to evolve along with the job market. Were YouTubers around 20 years ago? Could you make money by streaming on Twitch back when you were a kid? I don’t think so, but now these opportunities are a reality.

When you look back on your school and university days, do you think the subjects you learned have been helpful in your day-to-day life now? Were you taught how to code or even how to use a computer? Were you taught the purpose of algebra and matrices in the real world?

Imagine if you knew all these at school, how meaningful and enjoyable your past learning experiences would have been! That’s why it’s important to ensure your child’s education is relevant to future goals.

Virtual robotics, and more specifically, The Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT) is here to prepare communities for the future of work. This software encourages early STEAM learning by offering students the freedom to discover new knowledge and explore their own artistic visions, free from the restrictions of a syllabus; this freedom enables them to explore different career paths at an early age and unleash their creativity by integrating programming and analytical skills. COVID-19 made it difficult to teach on campus, but what makes a digital solution like VRT great is that it doesn’t require students and teachers to be together physically.

Using this platform, children can study at their own pace and cultivate teamwork skills without a classroom. In addition, VRT is unique because it helps students gain cross-cultural teamwork experience, which means they can interact with other students from all over the world by taking part in competitions and projects. VRT makes math and programming fun, unlike traditional classrooms, where students yawn at boring Computer Science lectures.  

“If you are raising your children the way you were being raised, then you are preparing them for a world that no longer exists.”

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Which Software Should I Download?

One of the best things about the Virtual Robotics Toolkit is its flexibility – it’s compatible with lots of other software!
But with great flexibility, comes great responsibility, and that’s why it’s our job to help you choose which additional software to download and use with VRT.

We’ve designed a handy little chart below for you, which sums all of this advice up (and which you can take a screenshot of so that you can refer to it later).

Option #1 – Download Only the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

The Virtual Robotics Toolkit is powerful enough on its own, that it can be used without the need for any additional software! This option is the best choice if you are a Mac user, since all of the additional software is compatible only with Windows devices.

You should also choose this option if you are not interested in coding your virtual robot with the EV3 programming language, AND if you’re not interested in importing custom robots into the simulator. Don’t worry, even if you’re a Mac user, you can still use Microsoft MakeCode (already embedded within the Virtual Robotics Toolkit) to code using the Blockly and Javascript languages.

Option #2 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit and the EV3 Software

If you’re interested in programming using the EV3 programming language, but if you’re NOT interested in importing your own custom robots into the simulator, option #2 is the one for you! Once the EV3 software is installed, you’ll have the flexibility to code with the Blockly, Javascript, or EV3 languages.

Option #3 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw

If you’re hoping to import custom robots, but don’t want to code using the EV3 programming language, the only additional software you need to download are LEGO Digital Designer® and LDraw!

With this option, you will have the ability to build and import custom robots into the simulator; you will also be able to program using either the Blockly or Javascript languages using the embedded Microsoft MakeCode window.

Option #4 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, the EV3 Software, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw

This last option offers you the most functionality when using the Virtual Robotics Toolkit. By downloading the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, the EV3 Software, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw, you will be able to code using the EV3 language, as well as import your own custom robots into the simulator.

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An Interview with Murtaza Sinnarwala (The Cogcast #006)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

Bio

Murtaza Sinnarwala is an Apple Education Specialist working in the UAE, though he’s worn many hats in the education space throughout his career. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration in Quality Management, he went on to work as a Quality Engineer at LG Electronics, before later becoming a LEGO Certified Trainer, ATLAB Training Head, and more. In the latter role, he helped the organization deliver STEM, Robotics, and AI Training worldwide. Murtaza has been coaching K – University technology and Educators for over 10 years. He is also a passionate advocate for Project Based Learning PBL and mental health. What’s more, he is a soon-to-be co-author with a book titled ‘Amplify Learning’, set to launch in 2022.

Timestamps

00:00 – Guest Introduction

2:34 – Introduction

3:45 – The role of companies in education

6:39 – Why standardized testing doesn’t work

9:58 – His biggest takeaway from working in education

12:45 – Why losing skills is a good thing

14:48 – Well-being and self-care for educators

18:22 – Empowering students to continue learning

20:43 – What teachers should do differently post-COVID

22:55 – Thoughts on the K-12 education system

25:00 – Emerging technology he’s excited about

Follow Murtaza via the links below ↓

Murtaza’s Twitter

Murtaza’s Instagram

Murtaza’s LinkedIn

Murtaza’s website



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An Interview with Adam El Rafey (The Cogcast #05)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics


Bio

Adam El Rafey is a super social, 11-year-old public speaker, innovator, learning enthusiast, and thought leader. He is passionate about reforming the traditional education system, inspiring others to voice their opinions, helping people make a difference regardless of their age, and strongly believes that decisions should be made based on ability, not age. Adam is one of the youngest TEDx speakers globally and has spoken at over 19 major conferences such as GITEX, GESS, and Dubai Future Week. He is no stranger to media having been featured in numerous newspapers, TV segments, radio shows, and podcasts. He is an Awecademy Alumnus, currently the youngest innovator at The Knowledge Society’s virtual global program, and attends both primary and secondary school. He is a big AR/VR enthusiast and science and tech lover. Adam loves following his intellectual curiosity and always finds himself down one rabbit hole or another and emerging with some fascinating discoveries!


Timestamps

1:00 – Introduction

2:05 – Finding your voice

3:17 – Where he gets his confidence?

5:00 – The best mentors he had

9:14 – Reforming education system

12:49 – What is Kinesthetic Learning?

14:29 – How parents can foster success for their children?

15:59 – Parents’ encouragement

17:24 – What “The Knowledge Society” gave him?

19:32 – The next 10 years in STEM!!

22:52 – The role of companies in education

25:48 – Message to the World


Follow Adam El Rafey via the links below ↓

Adam’s Instagram

Adam’s LinkedIn


Click On Other Useful Links

The Knowledge Society

Adam Podcast Info

Awecademy

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How to Customize Floors in the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

robot in sandbox with earth picture; how to customize floors in the virtual robotics toolkit
  1. Enter Advanced Mode by pressing F12 (or Fn + F12) on your keyboard
  2. Click the Objects Library button in the top toolbar.
3D shapes grouped together

3. Find the object titled, “Floor”. This may be located in a different part of the objects library, depending on which project mat you have open. For example, in Sandbox Challenge, “Floor” can be found by expanding “Sandbox” in the objects library. Object lists can be expanded by clicking on the plus sign (+) on the left hand side of the object.

4. Click on “Floor”.

5. Click the Object Properties button, which is also located in the top toolbar.

6. Scroll down and click “Material / Texture” in the Object Properties window.

7. Click the pencil icon in the lower left hand corner.

8. Click on the picture of the mat, which can be seen on the right hand side of the window that pops up. In the Sandbox Challenge, this picture is a white square with smaller blue, green, red, and black squares on it.

9. Once the Texture Selection window shows up, you may either select a new mat picture from one of the options listed, or click “Browse” in the lower left hand corner to select a file from your own computer.

10. Select your picture file (which must either be in JPEG or PNG format) and then click “Apply”. Click “Apply” once more, then click “OK”.

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An Interview with Stephanie Carrasco (The Cogcast #004)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

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Bio

Stephanie Carrasco is a Coordinator of Advanced Academics for the Socorro Independent School District, also known as SISD. Located in El Paso, Texas, this district is home to nearly 50,000 students. For four years she has handled academic events for the district, including a decathalon and a huge robotics competition, which we’ll hear more about soon.

Stephanie has a wide-ranging skillset, having a background in the sciences before earning her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and Leadership from Lamar University. She is a passionate educator who strives to ensure that her students graduate as career-ready professionals who continue to be learners long after they’ve left the district.


Timestamps

2:12 – Introduction

3:06 – ROBOCOM 7.0

7:15 – What surprised her about the shift to virtual competition

9:35 – Making students career ready and pride in district

14:33 – What she learns from her students

20:02 – Assessing programs and knowing which technology is good for students

24:51 – The next 10 years

29:59 – Message to the world

31:41 – Closing Remarks


Follow Stephanie via the links below ↓

Stephanie’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/YCarrasco_AA

Article: ROBOCOM 7.0 goes virtual – https://bit.ly/3sDO6xP 

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An Interview with Marvin Castillo (The Cogcast #002)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

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Bio

Marvin Castillo is the Executive Director and President of FUNDESTEAM, a Non-Profit Organization specialized in the development and implementation of STEAM education in public and private schools. This organization has already reached 20,000 children from socially vulnerable areas, and on a weekly basis they have the opportunity to participate in robotics competitions and science projects. While having an engineering background, Marvin is well-versed in the business world. He’s sold houses, diving services, ship repairs, and built a multi-million dollar company from a laptop in his bedroom. Today, he is a National Organizer for the World Robot Olympiad and is heading the expansion of Robot Virtual Games, a entirely digital platform that provides students around the world with affordable and powerful opportunities to learn coding through robotics.


Timestamps

0:00​ – Intro

2:20​ – What he’s currently working on

3:32​ – Early beginnings

6:42​ – Starting a multi-million dollar company, advice to young entrepreneurs

14:40​ – Solving problems with an engineering mindset

17:30​ – The importance of arts in STEAM

20:25​ – What he’s learned from getting involved in the robotics community

26:35​ – First impressions of the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

33:10​ – Transforming Panama’s educational system during a pandemic

36:51​ – The future of education

40:05​ – Message to students, teachers, and the robotics community


Follow Marvin and Robot Virtual Games via the links below ↓

Marvin’s Twitter

Marvin’s Facebook

Marvin’s Instagram

Marvin’s LinkedIn

Robot Virtual Games website

Robot Virtual Games Twitter

Robot Virtual Games Facebook

Robot Virtual Games Instagram

Robot Virtual Games TikTok

Sound effects from https://www.zapsplat.com​​.

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3 Remote Learning Tips

It goes without saying that many of us are spending a LOT more time indoors and on screens nowadays.

Thankfully, technology has made the switch to remote learning and remote work much smoother!

But, it’s also brought new challenges.

How can I remain productive in a world where so much is digital? What are some strategies I can apply to build a healthier relationship with technology? What’s the best way to work and learn remotely? These are just a few of the questions we hope to answer in this post.


1. Get comfortable

For starters, a comfortable seating position is essential! When sitting for long periods of time, our bodies become strained from the lack of physical activity.

And no, you don’t need to break the bank on a fancy new chair! While some high-priced ergonomic solutions might be handy, they’re certainly not a necessity when trying to find physical comfort at your workspace. Here are a few quick pointers for when you’re sitting at your workspace:

  • Keep your arms resting level with your desk, with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • Keep your thighs relaxed and shoulders back
  • Maintain an upright posture throughout the workday
  • If you’re using a monitor, it should be about an arm’s length away from your sitting position.

On a similar note, laptops and other mobile devices have been notorious for causing neck strain. One way to solve this issue is to raise it to your eye level so that you can comfortably sit upright while using your computer. Some people do this with a stack of books, others might buy an adjustable stand, like these ones.

2. Take care of your eyes

Using screens for long periods of time has some downsides! One negative is the fact that blue light emitted from devices has the potential to disrupt our sleep patterns.

One way to combat this is to set up our devices so that our screen colours are warmer (less blue). The feature that helps do this is named something different for each type of device, but generally you should look for something called “Night mode”, “Night shift”, “Night light”, or something similar. Some monitors even have this built-in. Samsung, for example, [calls it “Eye saver mode](https://www.samsung.com/africa_en/monitors/flat/led-monitor-27-inch-ls27e390hs-xa/#:~:text=Eye Saver Mode%3A Unlike other,the touch of a button.)“.

Click [here](https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-stop-blue-light-from-disturbing-your-sleep#:~:text=Click the Start button and,enable Night light mode immediately.) to read a great article that covers how to set up this feature on your device. A bonus is that this setting is incredibly easy to set up, it’ll only take 60 seconds to potentially save you hours of sleep each night!

3. Treat yourself

Taking breaks is perhaps the most important tip on this list. Physical and mental breaks.

Physically, we harm our bodies when we sit for too long. [Sitting has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, muscle and joint stiffness, anxiety, depression, and a slew of other bad stuff](https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/the-dangers-of-sitting#:~:text=Sitting or lying down for,physical activity in your day.)! While it’s certainly tougher to be physically active nowadays with so many teachers, students, and other workers cooped up at home, there are still things we can do to stay mobile. Here’s a few quick tips:

  • Spend a portion of your lunch hour outside on a walk
  • Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch, do some yoga, or a mini-workout. There’s plenty of apps today that offer short activities that can be done at home, like the Nike Training Club App
  • Set reminders for yourself to stand at least once every hour from your desk

We also need breaks for mental and emotional reasons. Stepping away from the computer screen allows us to recharge for the next class, meeting, or study session, all the while lessening our risk of burnout. According to this article, “[A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new](https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/looking-after-your-mental-health/take-break#:~:text=A change of scene or,enough to de-stress you.)

What’s your #1 tip for remote learning and remote work? Tell us by emailing support@cogmation.com!

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How to Set Up and Use the Virtual Robotics Toolkit in a Hosted Environment

The following content is credited to Ariel Hershler of Learning Works. His personal and professional links can be found below:


Background

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many teams around the world are unable to meet up physically to work on designing and programming their robot. Some teams are able to meet physically only outdoors, which is not an appropriate environment for working on the robot. Many teams are unable to meet at all, holding all of their team meetings using collaboration tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These tools work reasonably well for general team discussions, breakout sessions, working on the research project, etc.; however, teams would like to start working on designing, building and programming their robots. This blog shows a way to do this.

Cogmation Robotics Inc.’s Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT)

The VRT is an advanced robot simulator. A team can import a robot design made using Lego CAD tools such as Lego Digital Designer (LDD), BrickLink Studio 2.0, and others. The VRT converts this imported robot design into a very precise, working simulation of a robot, which can be programmed using either the legacy Lego EV3 Programming environment (based on LabView), or using the new Lego Classroom Programming environment (based on Scratch). The VRT can execute the programming with great accuracy, showing the simulated robot performing the programming in a 3D simulation which can be viewed from all angles.

Because it is so advanced, for optimal results the VRT requires a fairly high end computer with a graphics processor (GPU). For a detailed list of system requirements, see Cogmation’s FAQ page.

These computers can be fairly expensive. To lower the cost for teams to use the VRT, this blog shows a way to set up and use the VRT in a hosted environment. This blog shows how to do this using Amazon Web Services (AWS), although the techniques shown here will work for many other hosted environments, as long as they offer the option to include a dedicated graphics processor (GPU).

Please note that since we need to use a high-end computer with a dedicated graphics processor, we cannot take advantage of the AWS Free Tier. To set this up, one will, at a minimum, need to pay a monthly fee and a per-hour fee, in addition to any software licensing charges. Depending on your usage pattern, it may be cheaper to pay a higher monthly fee with no hourly charges.

Setting up an AWS WorkSpaces Account and Logging in to the AWS Console

a) Click this link: https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/

b) Click on this button:

c) You will be asked to either sign in, or create a new AWS account. To set up a new account, click on

d) You will get a screen like this:

We recommend using a dedicated email address for this account, as it will have a lot of permissions, including the ability to set up and configure new services, thereby incurring financial charges. You should check that you have access to emails received by this email address.

We recommend using a strong password for this account, such as a password consisting of 25 random upper-case and lower-case characters as well as digits and symbols.

After entering this basic information, you will be taken to a few more screens, asking for your contact information and credit card details. Your credit card will be verified with a temporary charge, and your phone number will be verified with a text message (SMS) or a voice call.

When you have successfully entered all of this information, you will be asked to select a Support Plan. We are using the free Basic Plan. You can always change this later from the AWS Console.

When you are done, AWS will create your account and send you an email when your account is ready.

When your account is ready, you will be able to log in to the AWS Console.

Setting up the WorkSpaces Virtual Computer with Graphics Processor (GPU)

Once you have logged in to the AWS Console, either type in “WorkSpaces” in the search bar on top, or find “WorkSpaces” by expanding “All Services” and looking under “End User Computing”:

Next, you’ll need to select the region where your virtual computer will be hosted. In general, you should pick a region that is geographically closest to you. However, please note that not all regions support the Graphics bundle we want to use. Therefore, if you select a region and then are unable to continue according to this write-up, you’ll need to select a different region.

For the purposes of this blog, I selected US-West (Oregon).

Once you select the region, you will see a screen like this:

a) Click the button.

b) On the next screen, you can click the first button if you’re just setting up one virtual environment. Skip to step f) if you want more control over the process, or if you tried this and didn’t have success.

c) On the next screen, select “Graphics” from the second dropdown (do not select “Graphics Pro” as that is a more expensive bundle not needed for our purposes), and then select “Graphics with Windows 10” in the list:

Please note that if these choices are not available, you will need to select a different region by changing the selected region in the top right hand corner of the AWS Console.

d) Below the list in which you just selected “Graphics with Windows 10”, you will see the following:

We strongly recommend entering a different user account and not the AWS Console user you created earlier. 

The user account entered here is comparable to the local administrative account on a regular Windows computer: it will be used to log into the virtual environment and can modify that environment by installing or removing applications and make other changes.  

Consider that this account will usually be used by the team mentor(s).

The email address you fill out here will receive an email with details on how to set a password, download the AWS WorkSpaces client software, and access the virtual environment. Please note that all of this will be used only by the team mentor(s).

e) After filling in these details, click on .

It may take a considerable time (up to 20 minutes) until the user account entered in step d) receives  an email with the aforementioned details. You must wait until the virtual computer has been provisioned by AWS WorkSpaces. If you get an error message, you may want to continue with the next step.

f) Under some circumstances, the above process may not succeed in provisioning an AWS WorkSpace. Here we are documenting the steps taken to do the process manually, step by step. This is also useful in case you want more control over the process, or if you already had one or more virtual computers and need to add more.

g) The first thing you need to set up is an AWS directory. This is like a phonebook of all your users. If you are coming from the AWS Console, click WorkSpaces. Then, click Directories in the menu on the left. If there already is a directory in the list, you can skip the next step, which explains a bit about setting up a directory.

h) To set up a directory, click on .

You will be asked to select which type of directory you want to set up. In most cases, we recommend using “Simple AD”, which is included in the cost of WorkSpaces. If you use other Microsoft services, you may want to create a “Managed Microsoft AD”, at additional cost. If you are part of an organization that uses Microsoft Active Directory to manage its users, you may want to create an AD Connector so that the AWS services can access the existing Active Directory of your organization.

i) Assuming you have a directory, click on WorkSpaces in the menu on the left, and then click  .

j) The first step is to select the directory that will include the new virtual computer and its user account(s). If you already have a directory, it should already be selected in the drop-down list. If you have more than one directory, select the one appropriate for this computer. If you do not have any directories yet, go back to step h).

Click on .

k) In this step we either create or select the user for whom we are creating this WorkSpace. If you have a Simple AD, we recommend clicking on to see a list of all users included in the directory. The resulting list may include the username for whom we are creating this WorkSpace. If so, select that user, then click .

If the list of users does not include an appropriate username, fill out the fields in the top part of the screen and click  .

At the bottom of the screen, there should now be a list with the username for whom we are creating this WorkSpace. 

Click .

l) In this step, select “Graphics” from the second dropdown (do not select “Graphics Pro” as that is a more expensive bundle not needed for our purposes), and then select “Graphics with Windows 10” in the list:

Please note that if these choices are not available, you will need to select a different region by changing the selected region in the top right hand corner of the AWS Console.

In the bottom part of the screen, the selected bundle should be assigned to the username you selected in the previous step. 

Click .

m) In this step, we select the Running Mode. We recommend “AutoStop”, but if you are going to use this WorkSpace for an extensive number of hours each month, the “AlwaysOn” option may work out cheaper.

We are not using encryption, so keep the two checkboxes in the middle of the screen clear.

Tags are useful if you have multiple WorkSpaces and wish to tag them individually so you can identify the cost of each WorkSpace in the reports. 

Click .

n) In this step you can review the WorkSpace that is about to be launched (i.e. created). Note that the WorkSpace you are about to create is not free; you will be billed for the cost of creating this WorkSpace and for running it. 

After reviewing the details, click on to create the WorkSpace.

o) You may receive a warning in the top of the screen:

In this case, you will need to open a service request to increase the limit. Click on this link to open the appropriate service request: https://console.aws.amazon.com/support/home#/case/create?issueType=service-limit-increase&limitType=service-code-workspaces

In the service request you will need to request an increase specifically for the “Graphics” WorkSpace. You will receive an email when the service request has been processed, whereupon you will need to go back to step f).

p) As noted earlier, it may take up to 20 minutes until the user selected in step k) receives an email with the instructions on how to continue.

Logging in to the New WorkSpace for the First Time

The user selected during the WorkSpace launching process described in the previous paragraph, will receive an email with further instructions. This paragraph describes these instructions.

a) The email includes a link. Either click on the link in the email, or copy and paste the entire link, taking care not to copy any preceding or following spaces. 

When this link opens, you will see the below window asking for a new password for the user account. Most of the other fields will have already been filled out. 

We recommend using a strong password for this account, such as a password consisting of 25 random upper-case and lower-case characters as well as digits and symbols.

After filling in the “New Password” and the “Confirm new password” fields, click on the button.

b) You will be automatically logged in. At the bottom of the screen you will find icons for the various client downloads for different operating systems: 

Download, install, and run the client for the operating system of the device on which you will be accessing the WorkSpace.

c) When you run the client, you will see this screen:

d) Enter the registration code from the email you received earlier, and click the “Register” button.

e) You will then see the following screen, asking for your credentials to the WorkSpace:

f) Enter the username (as stated in the email) and the password (as set in step a) for the user account assigned to this WorkSpace, and click “Sign In”.

g) You should now have access to the remote WorkSpace. We strongly recommend searching for and applying all security updates before continuing with the next steps. Note that applying security updates may require one or more restarts of the WorkSpace, during which you will be disconnected and will need to log in again.

Completing the Setup of the WorkSpace

After logging into the WorkSpace for the first time, and applying all security updates, download and install the following software, in the listed order, onto the WorkSpace:

After installing all of the above software, launch VRT, enter Advanced Mode by pressing F12 on your keyboard (or Fn+F12 on Mac), and select “Patch Lego Digital Designer” from the Help menu.

To allow the EV3 programming environment to open without issues, open Internet Options from the Control Panel, select the Security tab, click “Custom”, and set all options to “Enable”, even though some of these are insecure. As long as you do not use Internet Explorer to browse the Internet (use Firefox or Chrome instead), this should not actually cause any issue. 

7. How to use the WorkSpace

Whenever a team wishes to use the WorkSpace collaboratively, follow these steps:

a) The mentor runs the WorkSpaces client and logs in to the WorkSpace as described earlier.

b) The mentor also schedules a Zoom session and starts this Zoom session from their own device (we recommend not to start the Zoom session on the WorkSpace so that the WorkSpace will not be the host of the Zoom session).

c) If so desired, the mentor prepares the WorkSpace for the work the team is to work on (i.e. opens a VRT session, imports a robot, opens the programming, etc.)

d) The mentor runs Zoom on the WorkSpace and joins the Zoom session.

e) The mentor invites the team members to the Zoom, and the team discusses the work to be done.

f) When ready to work on the WorkSpace, the mentor allows the Zoom session on the WorkSpace to share its screen (through the WorkSpaces client), and approves requests to control the screen by team members.

g) Files can be shared with the WorkSpace through the “Files” feature of the Zoom Chat. Of course, the mentor may also install the Amazon WorkDocs client, allowing automatic synchronizing of selected files between the mentor’s local device and the WorkSpace. A detailed description of this feature is beyond the scope of this document.

h) When the session is finished, close all programs including Zoom on the WorkSpace, and then log out of the WorkSpace session using the WorkSpace client. If the WorkSpace is set up for “AutoStop” as recommended in this document, you will be billed only for the time the WorkSpace client is connected to the WorkSpace.

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VRT for Mac Made Easy

Did you know that Mac users can use the Virtual Robotics Toolkit?

We did! And now you do too!

In this post, we’ll be covering a few of the questions most frequently asked about the Mac version of the Virtual Robotics Toolkit. Keep reading to learn more about it!

Is my Version of macOS Compatible?

If you’re using any of the following macOS, the Virtual Robotics Toolkit will work for you! This includes…

  • High Sierra
  • Mojave
  • Catalina

Can I use the EV3 Programming Environment with Mac?

Yes you can! Users operating VRT with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) will be able to use both the Virtual Robotics Toolkit and the EV3 Programming Environment (which supports Blockly and Javascript) without any limitations.

Learn more about programming using the EV3 Programming Environment by visiting our documentation page!

For others who use Mojave or Catalina, you’re not out of luck! While the software can’t be used with the EV3 Mindstorms programming environment, Virtual Robotics Toolkit for Mac is compatible with Microsoft MakeCode for EV3, which is now built into the software! Read more about how to use MakeCode for EV3 to program your robots by checking out our free MakeCode learning guide.

More Resources

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The Latest Update: VRT 2.8.15719.0

Note: Version number is actually 2.8.15719.0

We made some updates to the software recently. Here’s the highlights!

  • Environments can now be exported as a competition
  • New help menu for a more intuitive experience (click the question mark icon on the top right of the Simple toolbar for tips!)
  • Improved the Measurement Utility user interface
  • Adjusted sizing
  • Updated angle calculations
  • Corrected distance tracking
  • New tips and tricks in the main toolbar
  • Improved the MakeCode window’s performance

Note: Did you know that the Virtual Robotics Toolkit supports MakeCode? Download our free learning guide today and find out more!

  • Tuned up the motors and polished the sensors
  • Made the UltraSonic sensor more realistic
  • Greased the gears
  • Gears are now able to spin at lower speeds
  • Improved the gear import process
  • Fixed an issue with importing RSIM files
  • Various bug fixes

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An Interview with Yücel Tekin (The Cogcast #003)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

Spotify

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher


Bio

Yücel Tekin is the founder and CEO of Robotum, an organization which facilitates robotics workshops for children and teens between the ages of 6 and 19. Before working on his company full-time, Yücel had experience as the Director of Distance Learning at Atilim University, as a Chief Information Officer in the military, as an ICT Instructor, and more. Robotum acts as a consultant to schools and institutions interested in technology education and competitive robotics. Their talented team of youth builders and programmers routinely attends national and international competitions such as FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, and World Robot Olympiad. Having four degrees, Yücel is a well-educated and experienced individual. After completing two undergraduate degrees in Management and Computer Science, he earned his Master’s in Education Technology, before finally achieving his Ph.D. based on his research into the effects of robotics on mathematics.


Timestamps

2:00 – Introduction

4:10 – The most rewarding part of his job & working with Baskinet University

5:35 – How he discovered the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

7:40 – What he learns from his students

9:23 – Teaching his son and his role as a parent

12:58 – The advantages of virtual robotics

15:25 – His view on the next 10 years in STE(A)M

17:33 – Changing career paths & his educational background

21:18 – What the future classroom will look like and why education should be personalized

24:06 – His message to the world


Follow Yücel and Robotum via the links below ↓

Yücel’s website

Yücel’s LinkedIn

Yücel’s YouTube

Robotum’s Facebook

Robotum’s Instagram

Read our 2019 interview with Yücel

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