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Teaching Robotics by Building Autonomous Mobile Robots Using the Arduino

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Computer Hardware

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1170.1 - 24.1170.16



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Paper Authors


Wayne W. Walter Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Dr. Wayne Walter is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He received his BS in Marine Engineering from SUNY Maritime College, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, and his Ph.D. in Mechanics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Walter has worked for the U.S. Army, Rochester Products and Delco Products Divisions of General Motors, and Xerox, and is a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in New York State. He has forty years experience teaching design related and solid mechanics courses, and has developed expertise in the areas of robotics systems, and micro-robotics. He is an ASEE and ASME member.

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Timothy G. Southerton RIT Mechanical Engineering

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Tim Southerton is currently a fifth year mechanical engineering student at RIT in the BS/MEng Dual Degree program. As a student who enjoyed the Stamp-based Robotics class as an undergraduate, he was very interested in an opportunity to restructure the curriculum for Arduino compatibility. Once involved in the project, he decided to see it through as the teaching assistant for the lab portion of the revamped course, which proved to be an enriching experience. After graduating in the spring of 2014 he plans on pursuing a career in mechanical engineering with a strong focus on consumer electronics and new product design to help make the world that much more entertaining.

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Teaching Robotics by Building Autonomous Mobile Robots Using the ArduinoIn recent years I have been teaching a project-based Robotics course within our quarter-based mechanical engineering program using the Stamp microcontroller. Students workin teams to complete a number of weekly lab exercises designed to sufficiently build theirrobotics expertise to the level that they can complete a project to design, build, and test anautonomous moblile robot to successfully complete an assigned task of their choosing.The course was structured in such a way that course materials laid out everythingexplicitly for the students since time was short on a ten-week quarter schedule. Theysimply followed the directions given. This fall, we changed to a semester schedule,changed our microcontroller from the Stamp to the popular Arduino, and restructured theentire course. Since extensive information is available on-line and in the literature for theArduino., the course philosophy and structure has changed. Instead of providing studentswith all the information they need, students are now presented with a task, and they aretold to go discover how to do it. As a result, the course is more challenging andinteresting for them. This is aided by the additional time available in the semesterschedule and by the wealth of information available for the Arduino. The paper discussesthe current structure of the course, how independent team effort is evaluated, and theproblems encountered in switching from a Stamp-based ten week quarter course to anArduino-based “self-discovery” semester course.  

Walter, W. W., & Southerton, T. G. (2014, June), Teaching Robotics by Building Autonomous Mobile Robots Using the Arduino Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23103

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