Robotics I - Introduction to Robotics and Programming
A course designed for students who have little or no experience with building robots. Beginning with the fundamental principles of construction and programming, we'll branch into the use of sensors, debugging techniques, and gears. Students use the Tetrix Robotics kit and ROBOTC programming environment from Carnegie Mellon to do hands-on exploration of all of these topics. Engineering notebooks are a central part of the course, and they are required to document their design and development process for review by the teacher. This is a project-based class that places emphasis on teamwork, risk-free experimentation, and student-led topics. Students who take Robotics I are well-prepared for Robotics II and more advanced robotics engineering.
On the pure programming side, students will work with the Processing programming environment to learn how programs are constructed and the building blocks that are used. The learning is also project-based but is more independent, and is accompanied by written work to teach and reinforce the basic principles of engineering. Programming principles taught include variables, functions, loops, if/then/else conditional statements, object-oriented programming (OOP), and much more. Processing is a language primarily for visual artists, but is also a great way for a beginner to learn programming with visual feedback.
Students who take Robotics I are well-prepared for Robotics II and more advanced robotics engineering.
Our textbook is "Learning Processing" by Daniel Shiffman. It contains tons of exercises, lessons, step-by-step instructions, and lots of supporting code and examples online to help you learn to program.
We also use Khan Academy's Computer Programming curriculum for some of our lessons.
See our Lincoln Robotics YouTube channel for movies of our creations.
Also check out our Lincoln Robotics Wiki for info about our projects and part descriptions for the LEGO Mindstorms Education NXT kit we use to built our bots.
Posted Monday 09/19/11 11:46 AM
This week's NY Times Sunday Magazine has a cover that contains some familiar items, even to beginning programmers. Take a look and tell me what elements you recognize (in the white text!):
Posted Thursday 11/18/10 10:33 AM
Somehow we've ended up with two projects brewing at once in Robotics I. The first one is to improve upon the bumper bot so that the back bumper (and perhaps the front one as well?) is more compact and curves around the sides of the bot, to improve behavior when the bot is cornered and minimize the back-and-forthing that happens in that condition.
The other project is to build a bot that successfully navigates across the arena, gets a wooden block approximately 3.5"H x 3.5"W x 2"D, and bring it back to the starting zone. This will be accomplished using motor encoders to move and a touch sensor to detect the block. Movies to follow shortly...
Posted Monday 10/25/10 11:29 AM
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