Implementing a College Level Robotics Course - Purchase College ...

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August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Implementing a College Level
Robotics Course

Jeanine Meyer

Purchase College/SUNY

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Overview


Background/motivation for course


Course description


Upper
-
level elective: can satisfy requirements
for mathematics/computer science and new
media majors


Reflections


Work for you!

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Background


[ancient] work in robotics at IBM Research


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Background, cont.


Box frame robot



A Manufacturing Language (AML)



Software for out
-
sourced Scara robot



Manufacturing systems


Tools for logistics


Robot surgery (….Robodoc)

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Why do course


Reviewed book on Robotic Sumo by David Perdue


he is working on a Mindstorms book



Wanted to return to previous interest



Give students introduction [taste] of operating in the
physical world


Variability


Continuous phenomena as opposed to discrete


Dangers


Interactions


Time


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

And…

We are all grand masters at …putting things
on top of other things,….assembly,
recognizing many patterns, etc.

Peter Will, IBM


This makes the programming more difficult,
not less.

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

First day exercise


Ways to program robot


Teleoperator


Teach/playback


Program with sensory feedback


Data driven automation


What are the directions / how do you teach
someone to tie shoes?


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Problems at my institution


Students not engineers, not particularly
strong programmers


Mathematics/computer science


New media


Other


Wide variety of backgrounds, including


Students who have ‘done robotics’ in middle
school or high school


Little technical support




August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Lego Mindstorms


Partial solution


Capped enrollment at 15


Restrict kits to the lab


Made exceptions towards the end


2 out of 15 students purchased their own kits


Team work is a goal!


Basic building projects: 5 teams of 3


Their building projects … 8 + 2 were enough


Involved the 2 building computer engineers


Encouraged them to build tribot


Had them substitute when I was away



Needed to request funds from centralized source: 8 kits



August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Another problem


Given all this robotics activity in k
-
12, how to
make this a college course? Would colleagues
and/of students think this was just playing with
toys?



Note: this may have been unwarranted worry.


We need electives.


I was willing to take on the task for developing a new
course.


People know my history….

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Approach


Lego Mindstorms only part of the course


Students responsible for defining building
project



Other part


My lectures on robotics plus


Students responsible for


Library research assignment


Posting and responding to news on on
-
line
discussion board

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Course Components


Listen & participate in lecture & discussion


Propose, get approval and do library research &
make presentation on robot topic


Making presentations is a goal by itself


1 page write
-
up


Pay attention to news and make postings & reply
to others on robot topics


Build the assigned Mindstorm projects: teams


Plan and complete original Mindstorm project:
teams or individual [or different hardware]


Midterm and Final



August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Lecture topics


Levels of language


Basic mechanics


Very, very basic kinematics & reverse kinematics


Types of manufacturing, automation


Artificial intelligence


Anthropomorphic fallacy (?)


3D CAD (Google Sketchup)


Movement in a crowded workspace


Locomotion (e.g., walking, crawling)


Telepresence


Surgery


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Lecture & Discussion

Board topics



Home health care


Soccer robotics


Prothestics


Vacuuming


DARPA competitions

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Mindstorms projects


Tribot


Basics with tribot


Using each sensor


Creating file data


Mapping a room


Bluetooth (2 or 3 NXT bricks, maybe in
tribots)


Student defined projects



August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Aside on Bluetooth


It took me time and experimentation AND
using on
-
line forums to understand it.


This is a lesson for the students


I think….

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Mapping exercise


Assume tribot or tribot like robot with
typical sensors (bump, ultrasound,
rotation), file capability


You define the constraints, for example,
room must be square, or polygon.


How to generate data to be uploaded to
personal computer to draw the
[boundaries of] room.

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Materials


Schedule, lecture notes, midterm and final
all online



newmedia.purchase.edu/~Jeanine/charts.
html



August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Library research reports



Locomotion


Space


Animatronics


Muscle wire


Toy


Cars


Healthcare


Mars Rover


Telepresence


Robot surgery


MIT leg lab


17
th
-
18
th

century robots


Omnicircus


Microsoft Robotics Studio


Autonomous vehicle


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Final Building projects


Walking puppy (didn’t work, but…)


Cat and mouse


Wall follower (not reliable)


Maze wall follower sending information to NXT


Sumo
Crystal & Alexandria's video



Building robot using own hardware


Demonstrate toy

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Results


Success!


[I believe] students understood the difficulties of robotic applications and
the wide variety of robot related research & development


Students did well on quizzes and attempted interesting projects


Autonomous survey


Limited participation (7/15) but did include the students I expected to be
negative, if anyone was, and didn’t include the most enthusiastic.



Informal feedback positive


3 students doing independent studies with me in the Fall.


Good, easy
-
going group of students so teams worked



Note: most students knew me and so expected things such as
presentations, posting, working in teams, quiz guides

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Survey


What did you like best…?


Building, lab & lecture time, hands
-
on, experience of professor
with older forms…


What would you change in the course?


Less required posting, historical readings, other programming
languages, more on servos, NOT MUCH


How would you describe the course to others?


Interesting manufacturing.., relaxed, fun, different



71% strongly agreed or agreed that working in teams
with the kits was successful in terms of learning


43% neutral (none negative) on on
-
line discussion.


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

General comment


I think the course in general was great. I would have liked to have a
done a little more work in the labs.


I really liked this class as a new media class due to its lack of forcing
art on us. I think this let the learning take charge instead of focusing
on trying to be creative, which lead to being plenty creative.


i thought it was a great course overall


wonderful class.. fun working in projectss with peers


It would be helpful to some how make the Lego more readily
available to assist in learning the program, error corrections and
building projects out side of class.


I also understand it is difficult, but it would be helpful. To some how
create a swipe box where their kits are sorted and available outside
of class time. Using the student?s id to access to the lego kit which
they are using.

August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Caution


Truth in advertising:


Colleague included robotics in a course on
computer organization and had some
problems


Sometimes teamwork does not go well


May need


to define procedure for firing a team member!


to defend giving all members the same grade OR
specifying a way to allocate credit.


August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

HELP!


Use NXT
-
G (iconic language) or something else


Google Sketchup: stay with basic ‘get to know
you’ exercise or less or more


Required posting on Blackboard or less or more
and/or required participation in nxtasy forums


How to improve participation by females or is it
okay (4/15, slightly ahead of percentage in
math/cs and new media!
Sigh…
)


Raise standards: is just trying enough?


What to do with graduates of k
-
12 programs?



August, 2007

Robotics Educators Conference

Butler, PA

Thank you


Email
jeanine.meyer@purchase.edu


Visit:
newmedia.purchase.edu/~Jeanine


Fall courses include


Programming Games, an introduction to
programming course and


Communicating Quantitative Information, a
general education course based on
mathematics in news stories