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A Portable Mobile Robot Simulator For A World Wide Web Robotics Practicum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Web Systems and Web Services

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.96.1 - 8.96.16



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Paper Authors

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John Gallagher

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

Session 2258

A Portable Mobile Robot Simulator for a World Wide Web Robotics Practicum

Steven J. Perretta, John C. Gallagher

Department of Computer Science and Engineering Wright State University {sperrett, jgallagh}


In recent years, courses in the design and programming of mobile autonomous robotics have been introduced at a number of institutions. These activities provide experience in a number of practical areas, including computer programming, project management, and technical writing. Further, they provide those experiences in an entertaining manner that may motivate students to pursue additional education in computer science and engineering. By their nature, however, these classes are resource intensive, often limited access to a few, fortunate students. In an experimen- tal attempt to increase access to these opportunities, we have offered an introductory level course in autonomous robotics over the World Wide Web. In our class, students developed robot control- lers to solve a series of increasingly difficult problems on a mobile robot simulator that we designed and implemented using Java. When finished, they upload their controllers to a real robot in our lab and observe the results via a WWW web cam. In this document, we will focus on our class’ infrastructure with particular emphasis on the design and operation of a platform independent graphical simulation of the Khepera mobile robot. We will discuss how this freely available software provides accurate simulation, ease of use, and compatibility with the real robot in our lab. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the future plans and a set of open questions we intend to address in future offerings of the course.

1. Why WWW Autonomous Robotics?

Although formal classroom instruction is necessary to the education of engineers, it is not alone sufficient. Engineering is about solving problems of practical import. In reality, such problems are rarely as well defined as the average classroom exercise — which is usually designed to approximate problems one will really face. Real problems often lack a clear statement of what is needed. It can be as hard to figure out what to do as it can be to figure out how to do it. Real problems rarely possess any one “correct solution”. Real problems, in short, defy domestication. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Gallagher, J. (2003, June), A Portable Mobile Robot Simulator For A World Wide Web Robotics Practicum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12119

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