Enhanced I/O in 2015?

Hi beta testers!

Do you know if there will be an EnhancedIO in the 2015 control system? We’ve typically been using the Cypress board for digital outs, i.e., status LEDs on our IO controls box. Unfortunately the Cypress board has been discontinued, so I know that that solution isn’t viable moving forward.

Yes, I know that there is the smartdashboard (when you can get it to work), but that appears on the driver’s console screen and is difficult for the co-driver to see. Additionally, the driver is typically so focused on the 'bot that they don’t look down at the screen at all. So, a nice, big, bright LED that turns on then the 'bot is ready to shoot is a real attention getter.

I suppose that it would be ideal if National extended the LabView Arduino interface so we could access all of the I/O pins on an Arduino mega. But, I’m just checking to see if anyone knows the answer.



Why not put that nice bright LED on the robot, there are plenty of IOs on the controller for that, and driver never has to take his eye off the bot.

If it were just one LED, we could certainly do that. But, there are a number of such LEDs for different subsystems (e.g., ball ready to shoot, within range for a shot, ball jammed, etc.). Not specifically things the driver (i.e., mobility jockey) is concerned about. The Co-Driver (i.e., Button-B*tch) is working to take the situational-awareness load off of the driver along the lines of the F-15E /A-6 pilot vs. weapons officer. I’m just checking on the Enhanced I/O because of the digital outs. Joysticks/game controllers just don’t have the feedbacck that makes interaction on the field as easy to work with.

Here’s an example from last-year’s 'bot.



Why do you call it the “driver’s console screen”? Nothing requires it to be placed in front of the person you call the driver. If the co-driver has more reason to see it, you can certainly arrange things appropriately.

During the alpha test, there hasn’t been anything said about discontinuing the cypress I/O support. The driver station still has all of the appropriate tabs and indicators, although I’m not sure that anyone has actually tested it.

To this point, the DS, protocol, and many other elements work identically --otherwise we couldn’t have a working system for alpha.

The ability for teams to make custom HW to control the robot is not something that will intentionally be left out. But the topology and components may change.

Greg McKaskle

Well, we already have rearranged things. But, that stil doesn’t address the issue of being able to create a dedicated IO controls box to make the game more playable. We’re just looking to see if in the 2015 system “they” have made allowances for digital outputs at the OI. Since the Cypress board has been discontinued, that doesn’t look like a viable option moving forward. We currently use the CCI boards for digital and analog inputs and those work great. But, those boards don’t support digital outputs.

I know on our team we generally don’t like looking down at the dashboard during a match. Since when you look down you can lose track of where the bot is on the field and such.

So this year we implemented some onboard 12v LED’s that are then controlled with a spike. Then in the program we have the LED’s correlated with a sensor on our robot telling if we have full grasp of the ball. So when we have the ball our LED’s turn on. This has shown to really help our drivers efficiency on the field.

Your experience may vary though depending on drivers and such of course.

If you need more info on how we did this and what we used dont hesitate to ask!

Yeah, we’ve done this in the past on our bots as a “skunk works” kind of project. Our mechanicals group never seems to leave any space on the bot for mounting any indicators let alone providing a means to easily wire anything from the sidecar up to a place that such an indicator would live. And, this year’s bot is no exception. Only 1" aluminum square channel in the upper structure and the ball comes in on one side and fires out the other. So, very little space to do much of anything. Oh well, there’s always next year. Hopefully, the new roboRio will reduce the footprint of the controls hardware enough to allow for more options.