Module 0: Getting Started

Join the Piazza Community!

The instructors will use Piazza to communicate with students in this course. This will include updates about content being added or edited as well as answers to questions posted in the discussion board.

To get connected go to:

https://piazza.com/mit/spring2020/bwrmsstudents

And use the access code:

egwpa

to self-enroll in the piazza section for this course.

How to Use Piazza

Piazza is a public discussion forum to ask questions about the RMS course. This forum is for you to ask questions and get advice on how to solve common debugging problems. No question is too simple. Many other students have probably encountered similar struggles at one point. Posting on Piazza is helpful because it enables not only instructors, but also students to help each other out!

Here are some general guidelines on using Piazza:

  1. Please first visit the website’s FAQ and look through past piazza posts before posting. If you don’t find your questions there, feel free to ask on piazza.

  2. Be specific. Describe your problem. What did you try doing? What didn’t work? Include screenshots of what you tried, and the results. What do you think went wrong? Do not be vague. We can’t answer your questions if we don’t know what the problem is!

  3. Do not share lab solutions. Piazza is a forum for collaboration, not for solution-sharing.

Be aware that because this is a public forum, please do not post any sensitive personal information. As with any online activity, exercise caution and be careful about what information you share online. Also, please check with your parents before creating an account.

Setting Up

The setup process can be divided into 2 parts:

  1. Setting up for Python and OpenCV Labs

  2. Setting up for RACECAR Labs

The hardware/software used for the Python and OpenCV labs is different from the hardware/software used for the RACECAR labs:

  • The Python and OpenCV labs can be done on your own computer/laptop.

  • The RACECAR labs must be run on the racecars themselves.

Python and OpenCV Labs

The Python and OpenCV labs can be run directly on your own computer/laptop (with the necessary software installations). The installation instructions and lab tutorials are below. It is recommended that you follow these tutorials in order:

  1. Software Setup for Python and OpenCV

  2. How to Use Jupyter Notebook

  3. Getting Started with the Python Labs (TBD)

  4. Practicing with Python Game Labs (TBD)

  5. Getting Started with the OpenCV Labs (TBD)

RACECAR Labs

The RACECAR labs will require the RACECAR hardware platform. All the software will run on the RACECAR itself. You will need to build the RACECAR and set up the software accordingly. It is recommended that you follow these tutorials in order:

  1. Acquire all the necessary RACECAR components.

    1. Look over the Bill of Materials

    2. Decide whether you will be using the Router or Mini-Monitor.

      • Visit the FAQ to help you decide. Relevant questions include:

        • “Why do I need to use a router and/or mini-monitor?”

        • “Should I use routers or mini-monitors?”

      • If you decide to use a router, be sure to include the “Router” in your Bill of Materials

      • If you decide to use the mini-monitor, be sure to include the “Mini-Monitor Periferals” components in your Bill of Materials

    3. Purchase the RACECAR components you need. All the parts are required except the components labelled “optional”.

  2. Cut the RACECAR Mounting Plate out of the Delrin. You will need a laser cutter on hand.

    • If you do not have a laser cutter, use a hard cardboard piece instead, as a temporary mounting plate. Cut out the necessary holes by hand.

    • RACECAR Mounting Plate CAD Files

  3. Assemble the RACECAR Hardware.

  4. Setup the RACECAR Software.

  5. Test drive your RACECAR with the Startup Instructions.

  6. Getting Started with the RACECAR Labs (TBD)

  7. Getting Started with the Final Challenge (TBD)

Debugging

If you run into any problems or questions with the labs and/or setup process, check out the Frequently Asked Questions or post on Piazza!