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The Unm Mechanical Engineering Lego Robot Competition

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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

4.543.1 - 4.543.8

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Paper Authors

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Gregory P. Starr

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

Session 3532

The UNM Mechanical Engineering Lego Robot Competition Gregory P. Starr University of New Mexico

Abstract Modern mechanical systems are increasingly being controlled by digital electronics, yet many mechanical engineering programs have not incorporated this topic into the curriculum. Also, ABET has recently emphasized the importance of design in engineering education. The LEGO Robot Competition is a course o ered by the Mechanical Engineering Department which addresses the integration of digital electronics and mechanical design, along with the areas of software development, real-time control, testing and evaluation, and working as part of a team. Teams of students are required to design and construct a fully autonomous computer-controlled mobile robot using LEGO pieces, and compete against other robots at the end of the semester. I. Introduction Modern mechanical systems are increasingly being controlled by microprocessors and digital electronics. Common digital control applications include electronic engine management fuel and electrical systems in automotive engines, antilock braking systems, numerically-controlled automation, and even digital appliances. This proliferation of digital controllers in traditional mechanical domains requires educating mechanical engineers about the integration of microprocessors and mechanical devices. This combination of electronics, sensors, and mechanisms has been termed mechatronics 1 ." Background To integrate microprocessors, software, sensors, and actuators in mechanims I developed a senior-graduate level course o ering in 1980. This course, entitled Microprocessors in Mechanical Systems." The catalog description is ME 470. Microprocessors in Mechanical Systems. Introduction to micro- processor organization, interfacing, machine and assembler-language programming. Several projects involving the use of a microcontroller in various mechanical sys- tems. Prerequisite: senior standing or permission of instructor. The objective of this course, which is open to all engineering students, was to familiarize students with microprocessors and their use in mechanical systems. The Motorola 68HC11 EVBU microcontroller evaluation board was used, with all programming in assembler language. Since computer education without hands-on experience is ine ective, ME 470 relies heavily on laboratory projects, with all apparatur pre-con gured. It is not feasible to allow the students to construct the apparatus themselves, since other students must use the same setup. While students understand this, they would prefer it to be otherwise. This, and other comments may be seen from a sampling of student evaluations. . .

Starr, G. P. (1999, June), The Unm Mechanical Engineering Lego Robot Competition Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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