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The Hall Walker Robot: An Interdisciplinary Design Project

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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

6.1010.1 - 6.1010.9

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Paper Authors

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William Lovegrove

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Timothy Owens

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Matthew Bronkema

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

Session 2793

The HallWalker Robot: An Interdisciplinary Design Project

William P. Lovegrove, Timothy S. Owens, Matthew S. Bronkema Bob Jones University


The fall 2000 Bob Jones University capstone design project is presented as a model of a successful interdisciplinary design project. It directly addresses the hardware/software co-design that is an integral part of many modern electronic devices by employing a software team of Computer Science majors and a hardware team of Electrical Engineering majors. In order to facilitate hardware/software co-design, the software team implemented a full simulation of the robot and the target environment. This forced the development of complete and detailed specifications early in the project, and made the standard design process an integral part of the project rather than a mere academic exercise.


The goal of this capstone design project was to have the students experience an interdisciplinary hardware/software co-design. The two design teams consisted of three students enrolled in Cps 420 Software Development and four students enrolled in Ele 406 Advanced Microprocessors. To enable the students to focus on microprocessor and software issues, we gave them a mechanically sound robot to begin with, with fully functioning drive and sensor systems. The robot was a 1980’s vintage Heathkit Model ET-18, a limited-capability robot intended for the home hobby market (Figure 1).

In keeping with the Ele 406 emphasis on embedded systems, we required the students to replace the outdated and under-powered Motorola 6800 microprocessor with a Motorola MC68HC11 microcontroller (Figure 2). The hex keypad and 6-digit display were replaced with a serial port for communication with a personal computer for software development. The Engineering team was assigned the task of installing and interfacing the 68HC11 board, and then of writing all of the device drivers from scratch. To do that, they had to learn the workings of the not-too-well documented drive and sensor systems. The students were given none of the original Heathkit- written code - they had to develop their own drivers from scratch.

The Computer Science team was assigned the task of writing the main control and navigation algorithm. Since the real hardware and drivers were not expected to be working until late in the project, this team was also assigned the task of writing a software simulation of the robot and its environment in order to develop and test navigation algorithms.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Lovegrove, W., & Owens, T., & Bronkema, M. (2001, June), The Hall Walker Robot: An Interdisciplinary Design Project Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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