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A Lego Soccer Playing Robot Competition For Teaching Design

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.56.1 - 7.56.8



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Lessard

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 2620

A Lego-Based Soccer-Playing Robot Competition For Teaching Design

Ronald A. Lessard Norwich University


Course Objectives in the ME382 Instrumentation Laboratory at Norwich University include 1.Design of systems involving both computer hardware and software. 2.Use of modern computer tools for data acquisition and control. By having the students use a Lego Mindstorms robot kit and Robolab graphical programming software as a rapid prototyping tool combination a beginning at achieving both outcomes can be efficiently accomplished. The problem to be solved during the first six laboratory sessions is to design, build, test and compete with a robot that plays soccer. This competition is patterned after the International RoboCup Junior competition. The kit has the necessary components to allow the students to be creative in their mechanical designs. Since the RoboLab software is realized as a National Instruments LabView Virtual Instrument, this experience naturally gives students the background to design their own custom data acquisition virtual instruments later in the semester using the National Instruments computer-based data acquisition equipment. The spirit of competition heightens the motivation for the engineering lessons. The Australian competition winner (2000) was used as a case study. Mechatronics is stressed from the beginning. The students model their robot dynamics and use a digital video camera to measure critical performance criteria. They redesign the suggested software to achieve a superior ball handling performance. Thrashing behavior detection is discussed and designed into the software to help the autonomous robots recover when they get stuck or grapple with another robot. Players used the touch sensor to communicate pre-kickoff information such as which goal to shoot toward. The software design needed to allow for timely attention to the sensors as well as resolve conflicts when two or more sensors were demanding a response at the same time. The most successful designs used a subsumption software architecture. The students genuinely enjoyed the competition while learning integrated hardware and software design strategies. Their later experience with LabView writing their own stripchart Virtual Instrument proceeded naturally from their RoboLab experience and they have the confidence to be able to realize custom industrial automation solutions in the future.

I. Introduction

The Norwich University ME382 is a one credit third year “Instrumentation Laboratory” course that meets for 3 hours per week. Educational goals for the course include students being

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyrig ht © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Lessard, R. (2002, June), A Lego Soccer Playing Robot Competition For Teaching Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10594

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