July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Computers in Education
This research to practice full paper presents an innovative practice of ‘Engineering Education’ in respect of Robotics in Mechanical Engineering Technology. The remote robotics classes are currently implemented wildly all over the world due to the pandemic. Robotics classes are the ones that require intensive hands-on practices, especially at the colleges which provide mechanical engineering technology (MET) degrees. MET programs mainly focus on hands-on skills instead of theoretical analysis. One of the educational goals in MET is to cultivate future technologists rather than researchers. Unfortunately, the remote classes prevent the students from implementing various experiments, and they also impair the students’ deeper understanding of the advanced concepts and theories required by robotics. Therefore, in order to provide the students' chances to collaborate on the hands-on projects in the remote robotics classes of the MET program, finding an efficient method is desirable. To realize the objective mentioned above, the internet of things (IoT) based projects are devised and implemented in the Department of MET. These projects are characterized by the usage of the internet, wireless sensors networks, remote control systems, remote collaboration among group members, modular design (modularity), and remote data exchanging protocols. The structures of the robots are designed by computer-aided design software based on the modularity, and the designed modules are shared in class among different groups. The remote communication software and apps are provided to the students to facilitate their collaborations. The robots are equipped with sensors that are integrated into the wireless network to enable remote data exchanging. Then, the members of a group can work on the control theories and algorithms remotely. In order to introduce the proposed practice in detail, a project of a smart robot car is taken as an instance. In this project, data processing, noisy control, and robust optimization are practiced remotely. During the implementation of this project, and IoT-ready wireless sensor and actuator framework which integrates the smart controller is developed and given to the students. Then, by the employment of this framework, the students can collaborate remotely, familiarize themselves with the principal concepts of robotics, practice the application of hardware and software, create their own innovative project, and prepare themselves for their entry into the job market, thus supporting the central educational goal of cultivating technologists in MET. After the implementation of the projects, the students can increase the immersive feeling in the remote classes, and then, help them to master the theories, know the usage of the hardware and software, and gain rich experience in robotics.
Zhang, Z., & Chang, Y., & Esche, S. K., & Zhang, A. S. (2021, July), IoT to Enable Remote Collaboration in Robotics Class of Mechanical Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37408
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