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A Robot Based Computer Engineering Module For Introduction To Engineering

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.96.1 - 9.96.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Mauro

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

Session - 1420

A Robot-Based Computer Engineering Module for Manhattan College’s Intro to Engineering Course

Robert Mauro Electrical and Computer Engineering Manhattan College Riverdale, New York 10471

Introduction During the past two years the School of Engineering at Manhattan College introduced a new format for its Freshman Introduction to Engineering course. Instead of centering around a single semester-long engineering design project, the course was modified to include a series of eight Engineering Modules of approximately 5 hours each. The modules introduce the student to each of the College’s 6 engineering disciplines along with the specialized topics of Engineering History, and Engineering Ethics.

In an effort to help the Freshman Engineering students better understand the field of Computer Engineering, this year the Computer Engineering Department developed a new module for its portion of this Freshman course which involves student programming of small robots that were designed and built at the College. In 5 hours the students are taught a reduced portion of the BS2 Basic Stamp instruction set1 and learn how to use the Stamp to create a series of computer programs that range from simply blinking an LED to getting their robot to navigate through a series of mazes. Because the sections of the course are grouped according to the students selected engineering major, each section also gets to spend an additional 10 hours working on a project in their selected field. The Computer Engineering section project consisted of a Robot Sumo Wrestling competition.

The Design of the Robot Before getting into the details of the student’s programming experience, it might first be a good idea to take a look at some of the robot’s features. The base of the robot is made from a 4.5" x 6.5" piece of epoxy-glass perforated prototyping board, and the Basic Stamp Board of Education computer2 is mounted onto this base using four 3/4" nylon standoffs (Figure 1a). The wiring of the Stamp printed circuit board was reworked so that the robot could be powered either from a wall wart, or from batteries mounted on the robot. In particular, a 9V battery is used to power the computer and four AA batteries for the robot drive motors. Although inexpensive carbon-zinc batteries were used, they still lasted for nearly the entire semester in spite of extensive student use.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Mauro, R. (2004, June), A Robot Based Computer Engineering Module For Introduction To Engineering Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14001

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