The Vexmen of Brandywine Robotics

Blog Post

Take Your Robot To The Next Level

Advanced Opportunities For Vexmen This Season

As you plan your upcoming Vex season, we have additional learning opportunities to take your engineering design process to the next level.  Vex makes some tools freely available to students that expands your skills and deepens your understanding of Engineering and Physics.  This is a sampling of topics and tools the mentors can help you with this season.

Come see Glenn and Chris as you find the need to learn these new techniques. This is not a comprehensive list and are happy to help you investigate new topics long the way.


  • Robot C – this is how you program your robot.  It is now free!  Create a logon at to get started.  PC only, not mac
  • Joystick controls – buttons to trigger events and settings, basic drive code
  • Autonomous routine coding – program your robot


  • Functions – don’t write the same code over and over again, use a function.
  • Sensors – we expect all robots to use sensors for determining their robot’s position versus using timers
  • Forces – learn how to represent what is happening to your robot and how it moves
  • Vectors – learn how to diagram those forces!
  • Trigonometry – along with the vectors comes Trig.  Represent the two dimensions of your force and map them to X and Y dimensions.

Intermediate Level

  • Robot C tasks – control things in the background when you push a button
  • Slew Rate Control – have your robot motors start and stop gradually to smooth out the motion and not trip PTC circuits
  • Graphing and Visualization – logging data and visualizing via graphs to see what is going on
  • Proportional Control – better control of stopping where your sensor says you are. helps with autonomous programming and push button lift controls
  • Projectile Motion – learn how things fly and land and how high they reach
  • Basic Kinematics – knowing the use and relationships of position, velocity, acceleration, jerk, momentum
  • Holonomic bases – drive in X and Y dimensions at the same time
  • Autonomous selectors – choose from different autonomous routines. Code tips to keeping them all organized
  • Stress and strain – learn why that part bent or that shaft twisted
  • Logarithmic drive – tighter control on your low end of the joystick for precise movement
  • Take Back Half speed control – velocity controls for flywheels

Advanced Topics

  • Autodesk Inventor – CAD drawing freely available for Vex.  Design before you build.
  • PID Control & Tuning – stop on a dime, hold your arm exactly at a specific position, stick the landing.
  • Matlab – simulation tools available for modeling, data manipulation, and simulation
  • Material properties testing – learn the limits of the steel and aluminum parts, and get to break them
  • Field centric holonomic – drive your robot as it is in relation to the field – much easier to control a holonomic driven robot
  • Data structures and advanced programming techniques using pointers
  • Kalman filters – more advanced filtering tehcniques for using noisy sensors
  • Field position mapping – map exactly where you are on the field
  • Path mapping – control the path of motion for your robot
  • Feed forward control loops – more advanced speed controls
  • Auto leveling – using multiple sensors to keep your scoop or robot full of elements as the arm moves