Extra: What is Fusion? FPTe1

Fusion is a Robot kit produced by Modern Robotics Inc.. It is controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 mini-computer, combined with a Modern Robotics circuit board that allows the Raspberry Pi to control all of Modern Robotics’ Fusion motors and sensors. These are protected by a transparent enclosure, with slots on the top for connections to sensors and motors.

You can tell your Fusion robot what to do by using either of the computer languages Blockly or Python. Google’s Blockly computer language is is an excellent language for absolute beginners who have no computing background, especially young students.  Blockly helps  beginning students get results quickly, without those students having to remember a lot of commands. For more advanced users, the computer language Python (which is currently very popular in industry) can be used to control your Fusion Robot.  The way Fusion is designed makes conversion from Blockly to Python a relatively straight-forward process, so in these tutorials we initially introduce Python by converting tiny Blockly programs. If you have had previous Blockly experience, that might give you a slight advantage. If you have had no previous Blockly experience, don’t worry, you will have only a tiny amount more to learn than those who have had previous Blockly or other computer language experience.

Fusion is unusual in that the documentation and compilers are all mounted within the Fusion Robot itself. Because Fusion can act as a local Wi-Fi source, all that is needed for you to control your Fusion Robot, is a Wi-Fi link from your laptop to your Fusion Robot. Once you have connected the two, you do not need a connection to the Internet. Not needing the Internet can be a blessing if your Internet connection is as slow as a tortoise with a sore leg, or if your school has forbidden student laptops to be connected to the internet. In both cases your local Wi-Fi link between your laptop and your Fusion robot is all that is needed to get started.

All of this software is designed to work within a browser. Modern Robotics recommends using Google’s Chrome browser, versions of which are available on most recent computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, recent Macintosh computers, and computers running many Linux distributions. If your computing device is using an older or different operating system, check Google’s advice here.

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