Enhancing Two-way Communication Between a 3-D Programming Interface and Fluke Robots using Dorothy
Dorothy is an integrated 3-D/robotics programming environment for teaching computational thinking skills. The advantage of Dorothy is that it that it uses the Alice 3-D programming environment with a drag and drop interface for programming robots without having to learn complex syntax. Users can program robots in a virtual world and see the results of the code enacted on robots in the real world synchronously with robots in the virtual world. This research has focused on improving the bidirectional communication between Alice and Fluke robots, as well as enhancing robot-to-robot communication. In particular, this research has enhanced the ability to combine objects from the virtual and real worlds. When an obstacle in the real world is detected by the robot, Alice will produce an obstacle in the virtual world for the virtual robot, thus creating a more realistic virtual world based on what the robot is sensing in the real world. In addition, the Fluke robots also provide sensory input to Alice in the form of color detected from its digital camera. The use of color has been explored as a means of robot-to-robot communication, for example, by having one robot follow another red robot. Alice has also been explored as a medium for communication between multiple robots. These enhancements to Dorothy create the ability to teach more advanced computational thinking skills to beginning programmers. The addition of the features can also be used to illustrate to beginning programmers the importance of computing in real world applications, such as using a group of robots to communicate in the process of building a 3-D map of an unknown space.