Machine Control

From iPods to automobiles, we use computers every day. Computers are sometimes so small and hidden that we don’t even realize we’re using a computer. Many of us never think about automobiles containing computers; however, today’s vehicles are packed with tiny computers that regulate and monitor systems such as air bags and cruise control. How much more control will computers take from drivers in the future? What will drivers be willing to let their cars do for them? With GPS systems that provide routes and track speed, what are the barriers for autonomous cars?


In this lesson students will learn how to control mechanical processes using computer software and hardware. The software communicates through a hardware interface with different inputs and outputs.

K1 – Distinguish between digital and analog data, and between the inputs and outputs of a computational system. 
K2 – Distinguish open and closed loop systems based on whether decisions are made using time delays or sensor feedback. 
K3 – Identify the relative advantage of an open-loop or closed-loop control system for a given technological problem. 

S1 – Choose appropriate input and output devices based on the need of a technological system. 

S2 – Create a flow chart to describe an algorithm. 
S3 – Create pseudocode to describe an algorithm. 
S4 – Analyze and describe an algorithm represented as a flowchart or as programming code. 
S5 – Create a computer program to implement an algorithm, including conditional statements and iterations. 
S6 – Predict the behavior of a control system by examining the program it is going to execute. 
S7 – Evaluate algebraic and logical expressions involving programming variables. 
S8 – Use a variety of methods for finding, identifying, and correcting bugs in a program. 
S9 – Design and create a control system, including the inputs, computer program, and outputs, based on given needs and constraints.



Intro to VEX and ROBOTC - PowerPoint (on Google Drive)

Programming Design and Pseudocode - PowerPoint (on Google Drive)


ROBOTC Reference: Program Design - pdf (on Google Drive)

ROBOTC Reference: Fundamentals of Programming - pdf (on Google Drive)

ROBOTC Reference: Reserved Words - pdf (on Google Drive)

ROBOTC Reference: Variables - pdf (on Google Drive)

ROBOTC Reference: Syntax Overview - pdf (on Google Drive)

ROBOTC Reference: Error Messages - pdf (on Google Drive)


VEX Testbed Build Instructions - pdf (on Google Drive)

Click here to go to a tutorial website for the vex cortex.


You should begin by watching the videos under Fundamentals.

Vandegrift High School | 9500 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX | T: 512 570 2300 |

Activity 3.1 Packet - pdf (on Google Drive)