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Heads up - FTC "beta" MIT App Inventor software is now available

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  • Heads up - FTC "beta" MIT App Inventor software is now available

    Hi Folks,

    There is a new beta version of the FTC MIT App Inventor on the Beta Download web page:

    This beta release has some significant improvements. Most importantly, the new software is more robust and resilient with regards to USB connections. This means that if a robot controller does a start or restart and it cannot communicate with one or more of the configured USB modules, it will raise a warning about the missing modules, but it will also be able to start up in spite of the missing hardware. Similarly, if a robot is running an op mode and it loses communication with one or more of the USB modules, the user will receive a warning message (visible on the driver station UI, the robot controller UI, and in the log files) but the robot controller will NOT e-stop. Instead, the robot controller will keep on operating, in spite of the missing modules. If a module gets physically reconnected to the USB bus, the robot controller will auto detect the module and make it available for use almost immediately. The warning for that specific recently detected module will disappear from the driver station.

    There are other significant improvements to help with diagnosing potential issues with your robot. In this new beta release, for robots that are using a Modern Robotics DC motor controller, the 12V battery voltage information from the motor controller now gets updated regularly, approximately every 250 msec. With previous versions of the software, this voltage information was stale and not refreshed if a user was running an op mode. With this new change, the user has the ability to see the voltage fluctuations as they run their op modes. This can be very useful in diagnosing potential issues with a robot. It is also very useful in power management and determining if a robot battery needs to be recharged (or even replaced).

    Another important and useful feature is that on the driver station app, if a gamepad that was designated as one of the two drivers gets disconnected, or if that gamepad gets re-designated as the other driver, the gamepad icon on the upper righthand corner for that driver will disappear. This is useful feedback so a driver can recognize that they do not have connectivity to their gamepad.

    Also, the null gamepad reference issue that was introduced with the last release is corrected in this beta branch.

    This release is still a beta version. It has been tested, but it has not yet been officially released. Teams should use this at their own risk. They should also remember that if they want to use this new version of the SDK, they should also use the new version of the FTC Driver Station app. The binary .apk file for this FTC Driver Station app can be downloaded from the Beta Download webpage (

    I've placed a copy of a list of changes for this release at the end of my post.



    Release v16.02.09.001
    • Improved battery checker feature so that voltage values get refreshed regularly (every 250 msec) on Driver Station (DS) user interface.
    • Improved software so that Robot Controller (RC) is much more resilient and “self-healing” to USB disconnects:
      • [-]If user attempts to start/restart RC with one or more module missing, it will display a warning but still start up.
        [-]When running an op mode, if one or more modules gets disconnected, the RC & DS will display warnings,and robot will keep on working in spite of the [-]missing module(s).
        [-]If a disconnected module gets physically reconnected the RC will auto detect the module and the user will regain control of the recently connected module.
        [-]Warning messages are more helpful (identifies the type of module that’s missing plus its USB serial number).
    • Code changes to fix the null gamepad reference when users try to reference the gamepads in the init() portion of their op mode.
    • NXT light sensor output is now properly scaled. Note that teams might have to readjust their light threshold values in their op modes.
    • On DS user interface, gamepad icon for a driver will disappear if the matching gamepad is disconnected or if that gamepad gets designated as a different driver.
    • Robot Protocol (ROBOCOL) version number info is displayed in About screen on RC and DS apps.
    • Incorporated a display filter on pairing screen to filter out devices that don’t use the “-“ format. This filter can be turned off to show all WiFi Direct devices.
    • Updated text in License file.
    • Fixed formatting error in OpticalDistanceSensor.toString().
    • Fixed issue on with a blank (“”) device name that would disrupt WiFi Direct Pairing.
    • Made a change so that the WiFi info and battery info can be displayed more quickly on the DS upon connecting to RC.
    • Improved javadoc generation.
    • Modified code to make it easier to support language localization in the future.

  • #2
    Hi Folks,

    Here's an important update, there is a new beta version of the FTC MIT App Inventor appliance files. This new version (with an appliance version number of "v16.02.09.002" fixes a bug that would cause the Robot Controller to crash when a user tried to modify or create a configuration file. The new appliance file is available on the beta download page: