tcepsa: (Cake)
[personal profile] tcepsa
My class this semester is Real Time System Development. Our first project is to install a real-time OS on a Lego Mindstorms brick (one of the new ones, the NXT) and then build a robot* and write a program to make the robot follow a line.

The operating system is nxtOSEK, which is apparently an operating system often used on the computers in peoples' cars and has been ported to run on the NXT. There were a few minutes of serious anxiety as I realized that I had no idea how the operating system actually worked and that it was apparently much more complicated than I expected it to be**. So I downloaded the specification and started going through it. Then, in a fit of boredom and desperation I start looking at the example code that came with the Lego version; rather than forcing myself to read through the entire specification and fully grasp how the OS works, I figured maybe I could scrape out enough information from the examples to cobble together something Good Enough. I started looking through the C code first and kind of sort of got an idea of how it works and it wasn't terribly scary except there are some weird things that don't work the way I expected when I started tweaking at the source code.

Now normally I am more comfortable with C than with C++, but I figured I'd have a look at the C++ examples as well just in case... and found something that Made Sense. At this point, I am far enough along in the assignment that I am reasonably confident that I can figure out the additional daunting stuff over the course of tomorrow. It'll be a little tricky to get all of the sensors to play nicely with the main goal of following the line, but I'm not nearly as freaked out about it as I was 5 hours ago!

*Surprisingly, this may be the first actual robot that I have ever built!

**Project is due Monday. Seems a bit tight to be trying to learn the nuances of a whole new operating system by then...
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