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Copyright 1996, 2000, Denis Cousineau
PRO-BOT 2000 version 4.2 is here!
PRO-BOT 2000 extends the capabilities of your PC to
automatically control your RCX (or vice-versa) beyond imagination! To be used
with RCX v1.0, v1.5, and now v2.0.
New in January 2003, PRO-BOT 2000 is now compatible with all the versions
of Lego RIS.
What is PRO-BOT?
PRO-BOT is a program editor for the Lego © RCX programmable brick. Using PRO-BOT, you can build programs, and download them to the RCX. You can also
send immediate commands (ex. PlaySystemSound, or PBTurnOff). You can also
retrieve information from the RCX using commands such as Poll, or MemMap. PRO-BOT
is compatible with the Lego firmware firmw0309.lgo and firmw0328.log. Complete
documentation is available on the Lego Mindstorms web site.
Do you need PRO-BOT?
It all depends on what are your objectives: If you want to build autonomous
robots, robots which can run totally independently of the PC computer, robots
whose program is fully located in the RCX brick, then you don't need PRO-BOT.
Any other environment (such as RCXCC, BrickCommand, Gordon's Brick, NQC, etc.)
do have all the same capabilities as PRO-BOT. However, PRO-BOT is directly
aimed at keeping a constant link between the PC and the brick. If you wish to
constantly exchange information or programs between the two computers, then
you absolutely need PRO-BOT.
What’s more in PRO-BOT?
PRO-BOT has unique features: it can interact with programs located on your
computer. Now, with PRO-BOT, your computer can shut down the RCX, or the RCX
can shut down your computer! (even without touching it, of course) PRO-BOT implements instructions that are intended for the computer only. Such commands
include sending information to files (such as PollTo) and taking decisions
based on the content of a file.
Examples of programs using PRO-BOT.
With PRO-BOT, you can control your robot from your computer (see
keyboard.rcp program). The RCX has a complete program to face most of the
situation; on the computer, based on the keyboard, you have a program that
change the variable 1 of the RCX. RCX uses this variable to decide its action.
As another example, suppose your robot is a small vacuum programmed to
wandered by night. Your vacuum must withdraw when light is coming. If it gets
stuck, it request (through your computer) to send a email. Next thing you know
is that you receive a e-mail from your vacuum!
Finally, genetic algorithm is now a reality. Your computer can generate new
programs for your RCX based on cross-over principles between efficient
programs, and send them to the RCX for a test. After a trial period, the
computer evaluates the how good the RCX program is, and breed together the
Philosophy of PRO-BOT.
PRO-BOT is intended to be the simplest possible. There is no test panel,
there is no button to download the firmware. Everything has to be done through
programs, and there is a program for everything. This makes easier to send listings to
other users. Further, you can user other commands to download firmware (such
as firmdl.c and save ½ Kbytes) without problem.
You can download PRO-BOT as a freeware from here. For easier download, I
broke down PRO-BOT v4.0 into three separate files.
|You do not need SPIRIT.ocx anymore on your system. A
replacement, phantom.dll (by Fenestra inc., freeware) is automatically
installed by PRO-BOT.|
|If you don't have the previous version of PRO-BOT, you may need the
Visual Basic Run-Time library: MSVBVM50.exe.
Download it to your desktop, and run it.|
|PRO-BOT2000 v4.2 install
file. Download it to your desktop, unzip and run install.exe.|
|Sample files. Download it to
your desktop and unzip them under the Program Files\PRO-BOT 2000 directory.|
|For the developers. I now
provide the source code of PRO-BOT for Visual Basic 6. |
Follow the link for some of the more elaborate projects I completed with PRO-BOT. All these examples are included with the sample files that you can
Follow the link for an history of the versions of PRO-BOT.
I would like to thanks Brandon Yates for many suggestions, and reporting