Swerve Tools

At Swerve Robotics, we have written a tool to streamline wireless debugging. We are sharing the tool with the rest of the FIRST community.

The following is our Readme.md from our tools repository available on GitHub at https://github.com/SwerveRobotics/tools.

Swerve Robotics Tools Suite

Welcome to the Swerve Robotics Tools Suite. Here you will find tools that we hope will make your FTC programming more productive and enjoyable. You might also enjoy our related project, the Swerve Robotics FTC Library, also here on GitHub.

At the moment, the suite contains just one tool:

  • BotBug: BotBug helps you debug your robot over Wifi by automatically configuring robot controller phones for Wifi debugging whenever they connect to your PC using USB.

    Wifi debugging is especially useful for FTC robots, as it supports live Android Studio debugging and downloading of updates of a team's software even while the robot is in its game configuration, connected to its sensors and motor and servo controllers. Configuring Wifi debugging by hand can be straightforward but tedious, and its several command-line steps must be done (at least) each time a phone boots or Android Studio restarts.

    The first thing to do is to connect your PC and your robot controller over a common wireless network, which is described below. Once your PC and your robot controller are connected on a wireless network, just plug your phone into your PC using USB, acknowledge the one-time "allow USB debugging" prompt if needed, and BotBug will take care of the rest. Once BotBug has done its job, you can detach the phone from USB.

    There are two approaches to connecting to your robot controller over Wifi. The preferred approach is to use the same Wifi Direct network that the driver station uses to talk to the controller. The second approach is to connect to the robot controller over an administered Wifi network (one with a regular access point) which is also visible to your PC.

    The private Wifi Direct network hosted by your robot controller will appear to your PC as a wireless network whose name/SSID is of the form 'DIRECT-TwoRandomCharacters-YourRobotName', for example: 'DIRECT-S6-1234-RC'. (this network might not be visible when the FTC Robot Controller application is not running on the phone). You can connect to it from your PC like you can connect to any other wireless network so long as you know the password. The password to the wireless network can be found in the 'About' dialog of the robot controller app.

    You can of course connect over Wifi Direct to your robot controller using your usual wireless network adapter in your laptop or desktop. However, it's often useful to have your PC connect both to your robot controller and also to the Internet, and that will require a second network adapter. If your PC doesn't already have a second adapter, USB wireless network adapters are readily and inexpensively available from sources such as Amazon.

    If you're not going to connect over the Wifi Direct network, configure your robot controller phone normally, just as instructed in the FTC Guide, then just take the one additional step of also connecting the phone to a regular Wifi network, one which is visible to your PC (so, in this second case, the robot controller is both on Wifi Direct and this other network).

    BotBug automatically starts after install and restarts when your computer boots. It is always running in the background, but can be temporarily disarmed by using the menu on the Swerve icon in the notification area.

    Sorry, BotBug only runs on Windows (v7 or greater), and we don't have the knowledge or resources ourselves to port it to other platforms, though we would support anyone who might choose to undertake such a port.

To install the Swerve Robotics Tools Suite, download a release from here on GitHub (look at the top of this page just above the thick green line), then run the downloaded file. We hope you find these tools to be useful. We'd love to hear what you think, and we will respond to questions or issues you have as promptly as we are able.

Robert Atkinson,
bob@theatkinsons.org,
Mentor, Swerve Robotics,
Woodinville, Washington