- 1 Activities that Do Not Require Accessories or ScratchX Programming
- 2 Activities That Require ScratchX Programming
- 3 Activities that Require Accessories
Activities that Do Not Require Accessories or ScratchX Programming
The activities in this section only require the Vorpal Combat Hexapod and Gamepad, and sometimes common household items. After building the robot and gamepad and doing some tests, you should first become familiar with the gamepad functions. There are actually over 40 different motions built in to the gamepad, but they are organized in a way that makes it fairly easy to learn. Once you have the basics, these simple activities will help you learn how to rapidly switch between different leg motions to solve problems!
- Floor space about ten feet (3 meters) by six to eight feet (about 1.8 to 2.4 meters). The floor should not be carpeted, but any smooth floor such as tile, wood, or linoleum will work.
- Two items to race around. These can be any items that will lay flat on the floor and would be stable. Books are perfect. In this description we will use books, but any similar item could be used.
- A small piece of any kind of tape to mark a starting line.
- If you only have one robot, a timer of some kind. Most smart phones and tablets have timer clock apps built in.
- Something to record scores on such as a white board, paper and pencil, laptop with a text editor app, etc.
- It is good to have a few battery packs so each contestant can have reasonably fresh batteries.
- Place the books (or whatever you are using) on the floor about ten feet (3 meters) apart.
- Designate some place on the floor as a starting line, mark it with a piece of tape.
- If you only have one robot, each contestant takes turns racing against the clock, record times. If you have multiple robots, they may race all at once. Flip a coin to determine which racer gets the "inside track".
- Decide on a number of laps. Two or three laps is enough. If you have very few battery packs, you can do a single lap.
- The Hexapods will run in a "figure 8" pattern around the two stacks of books. Be sure each contestant knows what this means!
- Best time wins!
- NOTE: A battery pack using 6xAAA batteries will be fair for about 3 races consisting of 2 laps each race, after which the pack should be changed so things remain fair.
Try using "Scamper Mode" when you're not turning to maximize your speed. Although you don't have as much control it's much faster for short bursts.
- STRAIGHT TRACK: This variation uses a straight race (like a sprint) with both a start and finish line where no turning is needed. Although it will not teach the contestants as much about controlling the robot, for younger children a straight race is easier and can give them an initial success to boost confidence.
- RELAY RACE: If you have at least two robots, a relay race can be run. The first robot runs the first "leg" of the relay, when it touches the second robot (sitting in wait at the starting line) then the second robot goes, total time for the team of two players is recorded.
This is similar to the basic straight race, but some extra challenges are presented to contestants in the form of obstacles.
- A straight piece of floor about 10 feet (3 meters) long and 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) wide.
- Tape to mark start and finish lines
- Some way of marking out of bounds lines. This could be tape on the floor, a bunch of yardsticks (metersticks), a wall on one side if possible, or some other means. If there is no actual barrier but just tape on the floor, contestants who step out of bounds should incur a time penalty of 10 seconds per violation.
- A bunch of obstacles. Objects that are 1 to 2 inches tall work well. Examples: erasers, books, blocks of wood, rulers or yardsticks (metersticks). Objects should not be too tall. You may want to place a time limit on each race. For a ten foot race with moderately difficult obstacles, 2 minutes would be a reasonable time limit.
- A timer of some kind, such as a stopwatch or a timer app on a smartphone or tablet computer.
- Some way of keeping track of team times, such as pencil and paper, whiteboard, etc.
- Set up the race area, marking start and end lines, barriers or marks for out of bounds on either side. The area should be about 10 feet (3 meters) from start to finish and fairly narrow (2 to 3 feet maximum) so contestants are forced to deal with obstacles.
- For fairness, the initial location of all obstacles should be noted and the field reset to that configuration before each contest (since obstacles may get moved around if they are not fixed to the floor).
- If out of bounds areas are not physically blocked by a wall but rather just marked by tape or something low like yardsticks (metersticks), contestants who step out of bounds will incur a 10 second penalty for each second they are out of bounds.
- Make sure contestants do not stall servo motors for long periods of time. If a hexapod gets hopelessly stuck, end that race rather than risk damaging the robot. A fair way to handle this is for the referee to warn the contestant not to stall the motors, and if the contestant is unable to extract themselves, the clock is stopped, the robot is untangled from the obstacle, then the race continues.
- High step walking mode may help you get over obstacles.
- You could use duct tape to fix each obstacle to the floor, this will cause additional challenges since objects cannot be pushed out of the way.