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Microprocessor Based Quasi Autonomous Robotic Projects

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.929.1 - 11.929.11



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Paper Authors


Michael Parten Texas Tech University

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Micheal E. Parten is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas Tech University. Dr. Parten has conducted research and published in the areas of instrumentation, control, modeling and simulation of a variety of systems, including hybrid electric vehicles. Dr. Parten has served for over twenty years as the Director of the Undergraduate Laboratories in Electrical Engineering.

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

Microprocessor Based Quasi-Autonomous Robotic Projects

I Introduction

For a number of years the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Texas Tech University (TTU) has supported the BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) robotics program in area secondary schools. The BEST program is different than many robotics type programs in that the cost to the schools is minimized. The local BEST Hub provides their schools with returnable kits and non-returnable kits to be used to construct the robot for that year’s competition. The non-returnable kits, in this case, consist of a relatively large box of materials to be used in construction. These are not robot kits that are assembled. The robots must be built from scratch with the raw materials provided. The game is different every year so the robots also change.

BEST is a volunteer, non-profit organization that must raise the money to support the game and pay for the kits. The robots in the BEST competitions have been remote controlled type robots. The returnable kits are used each year and consist of the remote control system with motors and servos. For some time, the BEST organization has considered moving to a quasi-autonomous robot with microprocessor control. However, no systems have been found to meet the BEST requirements specifically in regard to cost, ease of use, ruggedness and reliability. The ECE Department at TTU has, for a number of years, used robotics projects with embedded microprocessors as an integral part of the project laboratory program. The development of a new system to meet this need for BEST has become a project for the TTU ECE second project Laboratory.

II Project Laboratories The laboratory structure in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Texas Tech University is somewhat different than most university laboratories [1-10]. There are five, 3-hour credit required laboratory classes. Although all of the laboratories have pre- requisites, they are not associated with any one class. All of the laboratories require students to work in teams on long term projects. The student teams each have a project advisor, separate from the lab instructor and teaching assistant associated with each lab class and section. All of the teams report on their progress and answer questions on their projects in a weekly three hour lab meeting with all of the groups. Each group makes a more detailed intermediate and final presentation on the project. In addition, each student writes an individual intermediate and final report covering the whole project. Although each team member is assigned specific actions by the team with specific deliverables, all team members are considered to be equally responsible for successful completion of the project. During their presentations each team member is expected to be able to answer questions on the whole project. Team members are measured for their contribution to the team by their advisor, lab instructor, lab director's staff and the team itself.

Parten, M. (2006, June), Microprocessor Based Quasi Autonomous Robotic Projects Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1207

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