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The Khepera Robot As A Teaching Tool

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.529.1 - 4.529.6

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Paper Authors

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K. A. Korzeniowski

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J. L. Rice

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

Session 2532

The Khepera Robot as a Teaching Tool

K.A. Korzeniowski and J.L. Rice United States Naval Academy


The Khepera robot is a small, commercially available, microprocessor driven robotic device that has been used at the United States Naval Academy for pre-college recruiting, college level engineering recruiting, course work and research purposes. It is a convenient platform for investigating each element of an autonomous system; namely data acquisition, signal conditioning and microprocessor control. This paper describes demonstrations used for pre-college recruiting and laboratory experiments used in a microprocessor based digital design course.

The Khepera robot is a versatile teaching tool. The robot itself is an excellent object lesson for a microprocessor based device. At the simplest level, students generate on-line commands that pass through a serial computer interface. The robot responds by moving as directed. Students may also investigate the operation of the proximity sensors by queuing the on-board analog to digital converter for the current state of the sensors. By adding the proper signal conditioning circuitry, other sensors may also be added to the robot. At the design project level, students may automate the robot and write code to generate desired behavior such as autonomous maze navigation.

I. Introduction

This paper describes how an automatable platform, the Khepera robot, has been integrated into parts of the curriculum at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). The Khepera robot is a small microprocessor driven device.1 The device is shown in Figure 1. It is a convenient platform for investigating each element of an autonomous system; namely data acquisition, signal conditioning and microprocessor control. This device is flexible enough to be used for a full range of purposes, from pre-college recruiting to laboratory design projects.

This paper discusses how the Khepera robot is used in engineering recruiting and integrated into design projects. Code fragments are offered in this paper. The code is written primarily in Procomm script.2 This enables the device to be controlled instantaneously with on-line commands as well as through short script programs. The choice of this particular programming language enables students with no programming background to participate in the exercises. This is often the case with the students encountered in the recruiting sessions. For the student with a more advanced programming background, the Khepera robot may be controlled with any language that is able to control a serial port.

Korzeniowski, K. A., & Rice, J. L. (1999, June), The Khepera Robot As A Teaching Tool Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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