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Lego Robotics In Engineering

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.682.1 - 6.682.10



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Paper Authors

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Philip Lau

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Merredith Portsmore

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Scott McNamara

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Chris Rogers

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Students learn the most about robotics when they have hands-on opportunities to build and program. At the college level there are a myriad of options, in terms of materials, that can be used in a robotics course. Two highly successful courses, offered at the freshmen and senior level, have been taught at Tufts University using LEGO elements, the RCX (the programmable LEGO brick), and ROBOLAB, a graphical programming language based on LabVIEW. The limitations of the RCX (3 inputs and 3 outputs) do provide some restrictions in terms of robot capabilities. However, the benefit of rapid prototyping and ease of programming using ROBOLAB permits students to address a wider range of issues and topics. The freshmen robotics course allows students to get excited about engineering and learn about robotics with no previous building or programming experience. Freshmen were able to use the icon based software with little or no instruction and build and program robots in their dorm rooms. Freshmen projects ranged from robotic animals to a search and rescue for the lost “Mars Polar Lander”. At the senior level, students were able to address distributive intelligence issues with multiple robots ranging from determining relative positioning to sharing acquired data. This paper will present theses two courses and the difficulties and successes associated with using the LEGO materials and the ROBOLAB software.

Lau, P., & Portsmore, M., & McNamara, S., & Rogers, C. (2001, June), Lego Robotics In Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9511

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