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Introducing Advanced Engineering Topics to Freshmen Students Using Roomba Platform

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Great Ideas for Projects that Teach Instrumentation

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.955.1 - 22.955.10



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Paper Authors


Farid Farahmand Sonoma State Univeristy

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Farid Farahmand is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Science at
Sonoma State University, CA, where he teaches Advanced Networking and Digital Systems. He
is also the director of Advanced Internet Technology in the Interests of Society Laboratory.
Farid's research interests are optical networks, applications of wireless sensor network technology
to medical fields, delay tolerant networks. He is also interested in educational technologies and
authored many papers focusing on eLearning and Active Learning models.

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Saeid Moslehpour University of Hartford

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Saeid Moslehpour is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford. He holds Ph.D. (1993) from Iowa State University and Bachelor of Science, Master of Science (1990), and Education Specialist (1992) degrees from University of Central Missouri. His research interests include logic design, CPLDs, FPGAs, electronic system testing and distance learning. Email:

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Introducing Advanced Engineering Topics to Freshmen Students Using Roomba PlatformThis paper describes integration of Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaner robot into Introductionto Engineering course offered by the Department of Engineering Science at Sonoma StateUniversity. The main purpose of introducing low-cost Roomba platform is to teach introductoryengineering concepts, such as number systems, microcontrollers, serial and parallel interfaces,sensor technologies, wireless technology, high-level programming language such as LabVIEW.Furthermore, as a final course design project, using the Roomba platform, teams of freshmenstudents will be able to design their own creative projects involving camera, sound, light,sensors, and even LEGO for creating arms and other moving parts.The key purpose of this course and introducing Roomba platform was to provide an overview oftopics which Engineering and Computer Science students will learn in details in the upcomingseveral semesters. Consequently, the lectures and laboratory assignments in the new Introductionto Engineering course were designed to satisfy the following learning objectives for students intheir freshman year: (1) gaining basic knowledge about digital/analog circuitries; (2) receivinghands-on experience with microprocessors and interfacing; (3) being able to develop simpleembedded code to control electromechanical systems; (4) Obtaining working knowledge aboutadvanced topics so they can build more advanced projects in their future classes; (5) learningabout team work and collaborative projects. As we will describe in this paper, our findingdemonstrates that early rigorous introduction of these concepts to Engineering and ComputerScience students can excel student performance in more advanced engineering courses,transforming them to more knowledgeable and experienced professionals.In this paper we also show how interested and more advanced student teams can develop moreinvolved projects. We conclude the paper by showing student responses to the quantitative andfree-form questions concerning the integration of Roomba.

Farahmand, F., & Moslehpour, S. (2011, June), Introducing Advanced Engineering Topics to Freshmen Students Using Roomba Platform Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18161

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