Programming languages
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Programming languages you should learn for robotics in 2022

As most things become increasingly reliant on technology, it is safe to say the digital age is the future. It is especially true, seeing as even non-technical fields use technology. Robotics is part of that technology. This article explains why it is important to learn programming languages for robotics.

Most people think of robots in science fiction movies whenever robotics is mentioned. But, contrary to popular belief, robotics pertains to machines operated by computer programmes to perform mundane or complex tasks. It is why you could see robotics in manufacturing, production, and construction. Automation is also part of robotics. Ultimately, robotics makes people’s lives easier and safer.

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Why children should learn robotics

If adults could learn a lot from robotics, so would children. However, more complicated programming languages could discourage kids from learning them. Robotics is a great way to encourage kids to learn to code. Think of it as a gateway for them to get into coding.

Lots of online courses offer robotics for kids. It will teach them to build their robot and watch them come to life using code. Here, they’ll learn they could programme their robot to do what they want. Learning robotics also instills the fundamentals of programming and coding in a fun way. Because they get to build their robot, they won’t even notice they’re coding. Plus, you could do it at home; search for the best robot kits for kids to help them bring their vision to life.

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It also enhances their problem-solving and critical thinking skills because, in coding and programming, things rarely work out perfectly the first time. It will teach children to work through a problem and approach it from different angles. And when they do overcome a tricky part of their project, kids will feel a sense of achievement, which boosts their confidence.

Block-based and text-based programming in robotics

There are two ways you could approach robotics – using block-based and text-based programming. Here are how they differ, so you can see which one is better suited for you.

Block-based programming uses draggable “blocks” in various colours and shapes instead of just plain text. Block-based programming is straightforward and intuitive because you don’t need to memorise anything.

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Instead, you put together blocks to form a command. For this reason, it is perfect if you have no prior knowledge of coding or robotics. It is as simple as putting together Lego blocks.

On the other hand, text-based programming requires the user to be more comfortable using the keyboard. It uses plain text, making it easier to make errors. They also need to understand logic and arithmetic to create the commands and make sense seeing as text-based programming uses predefined syntax. But you can do a lot more with text-based programming because you can quickly enter a slew of commands just by typing on your keyboard.

Programming languages you should learn for robotics

Now that you’ve understood the difference between block-based and text-based programming, here are the programming languages you should learn for robotics this 2022.

Scratch

If you have zero knowledge of robotics or coding, Scratch can help. Scratch is a relatively new programming language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It uses block-based programming with lines of code embedded in each block, and all you have to do is drag and drop them to create a programme. It makes it ideal for introducing beginners to robotics and coding. For this reason, Scratch is also taught in robotics classes at school.  

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Blockly

Another block-based programming language, Blockly, uses interlocking blocks, which symbolise the concepts in coding. The great thing about using Blockly is that it allows you to create custom blocks instead of relying on pre-existing ones. As a result, it gives you more freedom to execute programs. And unlike Scratch, Blockly can be translated into other programming languages like Python and JavaScript. 

Python

Known for developing websites and applications such as Google and Spotify, Python is one of the easiest programming languages to learn. In addition, it is straightforward compared to other programming languages, ideal for those who’d want to take their robotics programming up a notch without it getting too complicated. With Python, you could get the robot to perform simple tasks that do not require much computing.

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C/C++

C and its more mature version, C++, is perhaps the most commonly used programming language for robotics. Using this design allows you to obtain the optimum performance from your robot. Think advanced computing and maximum productivity, not at all for low-level machines. Therefore, it is also considered the programming language to use if you want to build a career in robotics. 

Java

If you want your robot to be capable of high performance, similar to humans, then Java is the way to go. Java is capable of high-level features, particularly artificial intelligence, making it the ideal programming language to programme your robots. It includes machine learning, speech recognition, and even speech synthesis. Plus, you can use the same program on other devices with Java.

Conclusion

Given how technology is nearly in every aspect of people’s lives, it is necessary to learn about programming languages. In addition, it helps to understand robotics better, seeing as robotics is also part of everyone’s daily lives. From helping out in mundane tasks to more dangerous ones, robotics makes people’s lives easier, which makes knowing how to programme them all the more vital.

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