June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Computers in Education
14.808.1 - 14.808.19
This paper presents the Missouri S&T Introduction to Robotics course which exposes undergraduate and graduate students to technologies behind robotics projects ranging from the historical to the state of the art, as well as fundamentals on robotics architectures, sensing, navigation, and control. Topics covered included basic sensor and image processing, sensor fusion, world modeling, planning, kinematics, control, software agents, machine learning and simulation. Instruction utilized example problems presented by real-world competitions such as the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), AHS First Responder, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) competitions.
Robotics is an inherently interdisciplinary engineering field, encompassing electrical, computer and mechanical engineering, as well as computer science, mathematics, physics, systems engineering, and, in some instances, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and even philosophy. The breadth of the problems presented by robotics development encourages the integration of knowledge and problem-solving methods from a wide range of fields. With the advent of autonomous vehicles in the military and consumer robotics products, such as the iRobot Roomba, the robotics industry is growing rapidly and is expected to continue to do so as consumer spending on robotics increases. Study of the discipline of robotics can give engineers a valuable perspective on systems integration, as well as experience in a wide range of fields and real-world problem solving, increasing the flexibility of the engineer in a rapidly changing world.
The course was designed around a philosophy of openness; lectures utilized freely available, non-copyrighted material from the WikiMedia project, as well as public and freely available online videos, exercises, programming environments and code examples. The course itself was designed using free, collaborative tools, primarily Google services. The course website was maintained using Google Pages, lectures were presented using Google Presentations, assignments and class notes were created using Google Documents, and grades and feedback were maintained using Google Spreadsheets and Forms.
Also of great importance is hands-on learning. Assignments were project-based, requiring students to rapidly learn programming interfaces and the semantics and capabilities of several languages, including LOGO, the open-source Player-Stage Framework, MatLab and embedded C programming. In lieu of a textbook, students constructed and programmed a small mobile robot from a kit designed by the instructors. This robot gave the students real-world programming experience with motion control, sensor acquisition, path planning algorithms and multi-vehicle interaction capabilities.
Semester research projects culminated in updating WikiBooks pages to share the students' new-
Meuth, R., & Robinette, P., & Wunsch, D. (2009, June), Introducing Robots Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4581
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