Version 8.6 of the Proteus simulation and PCB design software adds new features such as STM32F103xx microcontroller simulation and serpentine track-length matching, but without doubt the most novel new feature is the ‘Robotic Turtle Simulation’.
Targeted at the education market, simulation for two line-following and obstacle-avoidance robots – the Funduino Turtle and Pololu Zumo – has been added to the latest release of the software. Users are able to draw any maze or obstacle course and then test their programming prowess by developing software to try and navigate the robotic vehicles safely through the course.
The robots feature sensors such as infrared reflectance optics, ultrasonic distance measurement and gyroscopic and compass orientation. The sensors are interfaced to an Arduino Uno, onto which firmware developed in any compiler (for example, the native Arduino IDE) can be loaded for simulation.
Proteus Visual Designer, a drag-and-drop flowchart programming environment alternative which makes firmware development easy, also includes full support for the robots: high-level functions such as ‘turn East’ take all the complexity out of interfacing with the sensors and allow students to quickly start seeing results. As students progress, Visual Designer flowcharts can then be converted into full Arduino C/C++ sketches.
As with all Proteus simulation, the ability to pause time and single-step through code provides powerful debugging insights. Once ready to try the firmware out in the real world, Visual Designer code can be downloaded to the real robots at the click of a button.
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