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Damien works with students and teacher from around the world, bringing the effective use of technology to the classroom.  

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Thursday
Jun202013

First Look at the new EV3 software

After being able to see the EV3 hardware for the last few months, it's really exciting to be able to now show off the new software.

This is just a taster, and I'll get into more detail in future posts.

 

EV3 software:

The new software follows on from the NXT-G software, in that it remains graphically based.  This is fantastic for first time users as well as the younger students.  For those looking for more powerful languages, there is LabView and RobotC to keep you satisfied.

The Palette of Blocks has now been moved to the bottom and the "Common' Palette has been removed.  All the Blocks are available all the time.

For those of you familiar with the WeDo software, it has a lot of familiarity. This will be very beneficial for those students transitioning.

One of the big changes is how the blocks display their parameter information.  In NXT-G, you had the Configuration Panel.  That was great, it had a lot of information there, but once you clicked to another block you couldn't see the info any longer.  With the EV3 software however you can see all the info on the block itself.  No more clicking through every block to understand a program.  This will be a huge help to teachers, as often we are just glancing over students shoulders to see their work, and this will allow us to understand the whole program without taking control of the mouse.

 

Simple Example

This block I have set up to drive straight ahead, 67% power, for 5 rotations and the Brake at the end.  The motors are connected to Ports B and C.

This one is setup to drive gently to the left, -35% power (backwards), for 3.7 seconds.

Setting the Parameters

Setting the Parameters is really nicely handled as well.  Every Block has a Mode Selector which governs the main function of the Block.  In the above example that means determining if you are working in Seconds, Degrees, Rotations etc.  

If there is a number required, on nearly all the blocks you are given the option of typing in a number or moving a slider bar, very handy indeed.  

 

Data Wires

Data wires in NXT-G were messy, and while it would be impossible to simplify them entirely, the EV3 software does a much better job in managing them and figuring out where they go.

This example will take a reading from the Ultrasonic sensor connected to Port 1, combine it with some text, display on the screen and then continually update the screen with new readings.

click for larger version

Conclusion

There are tool-tip everywhere, so if you're ever not sure what an icon does, just hover your mouse over it, and it'll give you a couple of words outlining its properties.  

This is just a very brief teaser and I'll go into far more detail in upcoming posts.  If you have any questions or thoughts, please don't hesitate to ask!

 

 

Reader Comments (21)

Nice work, a good summary of the new EV3 software.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Heffernan

Well done Damien. So far this jives with what I've noticed about the new software. I can't wait to see what you do with the Content Editor.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan Chow-Miller

Thanks for the peek! May I post a link to this post on my Mindstorms blog?

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTristan Vukosich

Please be my guest Tristan!

June 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Will you be able to create myblocks in the new EV3 software?

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hi Anonymous! Yes you will be able to create MyBlocks. I'll be doing a video of that shortly :)

June 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Thanks Damien, it makes me want to play with the software all the more.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWayne Burnett

Thanks for this... but one question... How hard will this be to learn as someone with a lot of NXT-G experience???
Thanks in advance, Webmaster4o

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLuke Taylor

If you've got a lot of NXT-G experience, then you should pick this up very quickly. The concepts are all the same, just the layout has changed slightly.

June 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Could you write about:
numeric arrays
what I am calling the stop looping block
The various math functions under the advanced option of the math block

June 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How is the Bluetooth communication? has it improved?

July 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How has the stability of the software been so far? I had an FLL partner tell me "there is some question as to whether the software will be stable for competition." Thanks

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBSV

Are there any book coming out to help with learning the programming of the EV3? Do you know of a good blog site that discuss the programming of the EV3?

July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCPJ

Quick post to address the last few comments

- Yes I will be writing about numerical arrays, the stop looping block and the math functions
- Bluetooth is significantly improved. I believe you can now connect to up to 7 slaves and dynamically create and break BT connections as part of your program
- The stability has been great for me so far. I haven't seen any issues yet.
- I'll have a teacher resource book out for EV3 very shortly. I have heard that all the major publishers of NXT books will also be having EV3 offerings as well :)

July 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Documenting / printing the programs for contests has always been an issue with NXT-G; is there any provisions for printing in this version?

July 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRandall Greene

Hi Randall,

Printing is a little better on EV3. You can zoom out to see the whole program on one screen, or zoom in to highlight different parts. Unfortunately you can't print anything you create with the Content Editor.

July 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Hi, thanks for sharing, very exciting stuff; this looks similar to the labview programming I learned back in school. Wonder if I can use native Labview. Otherwise looking forward to introducing my daughter to the
new EV3 software...!

August 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCloudbase73

Hi DAMIEN,

This is Elizabeth Mabrey from US. I am sure you have used Robolab. I have been using Robolab for NXT for our G3-6 for many years. I prefer it over NXT-G for may reasons, but the most important one is the ability of translating from flowchart to Robolab. I wonder if Ev3 is much better in this area over NXT-G.

--Elizabeth Mabrey

August 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizbeth Mabrey

Hi Damien,
Nice to see that you are still at it. We met a few years ago at a RoboCupJunior competition (Singapore?). I am enjoying the many improvements to the EV3 system:
1. Zoom In / Zoom Out feature allows us to see larger programs as a whole without having to scroll and hide part of the code.
2. The more descriptive blocks are welcome. Although it would be nice to be able to toggle between minimal and full description with a mouse click.

A few disappointments:
1. They put nice, bright LEDs to light up the buttons on the EV3 brick, but could not spare a bit of that energy to backlight the screen - very inconvenient!
2. Graphical programming is great, however, it would be nice and pedagogically sound to include a function that would translate and display a text version of the code. Is such tool possible for EV3-G? If not, it could be a great project for third party developers.

Cheers,
Gio
Canadian Regional RoboCupJunior Representative

October 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGio Spina

Hi Elizabeth, yes you'll find that the new EV3-G software is a *little* more like the older RoboLab. Still not quite the same, but the ability to move from flowcharting to graphical programming is a little easier.

October 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

Hi Gio, of course I remember you! :)

I've heard that they tried to backlight the screen, but it didn't make much difference at all. I'm betting a lot of the older teachers will have a little trouble squinting at the tiny words and images on the screen :)

There is no tool that I know of that will do the translation between graphical and text based. EV3-G is based on LabView which is graphical, and is a different mindset to traditional text based programming, so I can see that it would be tough to create such a tool. Luckily the creators of NXC have updated BricxCC to allow text based programming of the EV3 device.

October 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterDamien Kee

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