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SURE Robotics Research blog 4

SURE Robotics Research blog 4

As the school semester comes to an end I am reminded of my summer research experience at Georgia Institute of Technology. Not only was I able to complete research that merged my love with robotics and digital media. I was able to spend 10 weeks in a lab full of robotics used by graduate students and my research mentor Dr. Ayanna Howard who is a Motorola Foundation Professor. Dr. Howard is known for her work on robotics dealing with the mars terrain. My summer research has helped prepare me for graduate school and allowed me to network with many individuals within the field of technology.  

My last two blogs have focused on the design and storytelling process for my environmental math game for children in kindergarten through 1st grade. That will enable them to socially interact with the Avatar Robot. The game will allow children to drag shapes and numbers to the corresponding bin. The game mimics the recycling process allowing children to early exposure of environment procedures and math concepts. In this blog I will discuss the programming process itself. Also, I will focus on the software used and the overall challenges I experienced with writing code.

The software used was Unity. Unity is a company that is used by developers for creating virtual games. These games are multiplatform, meaning the developer can create games for Apple tablets, Windows devices, online games, and other electronic devices. I used a newer software version of Unity that allows individuals to create 2d games. Due to the recent development of the Unity software I experienced several glitches. 

In order to explain these glitches, it’s important to understand the coding languages I used. Two major codes were designed using C#, a computer programming language. The first was a drag and drop code that allows individuals to touch the ball and drag the object to the bin. The game causes the tablet to detect the touch of a person’s finger triggering the object to follow the finger motion. The second code created was an on collision code. On collision is a common phrase used in programming to describe the interaction of two objects. This code enables the child to drag the component to the correct bin which causes both objects to disappear when collided. I experienced much difficulty with the collision code because the device was unable to detect the ball touching the bin. This caused major difficulty with the response of the program.

I was able to resolve the problems I experienced with my code through three solutions.   The first solution was using online blogs for coding. I discovered that many individuals had expressed similar problems with Unity 2d and the on collision code. Second I met with my graduate student mentor Brittney English who offered valuable tips on debugging code. The last solution was implementing the suggested solutions and constantly testing the game. I was able to have my code respond to the touch of a person’s finger and disappear once the shape touched the bin.

In conclusion, this was a very rewarding experience. The challenges I faced allowed me to enhance my problem solving skills through assistance from others and researching similar situations. It also offered me with the valuable experience I needed to increase my programming skills. 

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