SC/BC1800D.03 Introduction to Robots
This course is a first-year university seminar in science offered
by Norman Bethune College. Registration information can be found in
the Bethune College Calendar.
This course is a full year course and meets Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30 in
323 Bethune (previously 228 Bethune).
An autonomous robot is an embodiment of solutions to three different
scientific problems; locomotion, sensing, and reasoning. Should the
robot have wheels? or treads? or limbs? Should the robot sense its
environment through touch? or light? or sound? How should the robot
integrate measurements made by its sensors? Should the robot follow a
line on the floor? or sens and follow a wall? or use dead
Nothing teaches like experience. Thus in order to encourage students
to critically examine different solutions to these fundamental
problems, students will be required to physically construct a small number
of different robots throughout the course. Materials will be provided.
Working in small groups (3 or 4 students), each group will construct
a number of different robots throughout the course. Students will be
encouraged to not only build existing locomotive and sensing models, but
also to explore their own designs.
Some of the technical skills that will be covered include computer
programming in LEGO LOGO (a dialect of LOGO), searching techniques, graph
theory, and the representation of spatial data. Although the course will cover
a number of technical subjects, the fundamental goal of the course
is to foster the development of analytical thinking, research,
and writing skills, oral communication and other skills.
Students will be assigned to a small group (3 or 4 students per group).
Each group will construct a number of different robots (tentatively four)
throughout the course. The group will maintain a written and digital
video log of their robot design and performance. Every other week one
member of each group will give a 10 minute presentation on
the status of their robot.
Robot trials and logbook evaluation 4x10%
(group based mark)
Oral presentations 3x10%
Class participation 10%
Research papers 2x10%
Robot trials and logbook evaluation. Each student will
be assigned to a team. Each team will maintain an electronic log
in HTML. The log is meant to be a publically accessable log of
the various robot projects undertaken throughout the course. The log
can contain still photos, text, links to other robots, video, and will
be available on the internet for global consumption.
Oral Presentations. Roughly every other week a member of each
group will give a presentation on the current status of their robot(s).
Class participation. Don't sit at the back. Participate
Research papers. Students will be expected to complete at least one
research paper in the first term. Topics must be approved before
Michael Jenkin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Things to do NOW
Make sure that you have a valid library card and that you know
where the libraries are. It may help to attend one of the
information sessions that the library offers.
This course has been registered with the Computer-Assisted Writing
Centre. 530 Scott Library x55376. In order to take advantage of
this resource you must go to the centre and obtain a login ID.
The Writing Centre cuts off accounts at a particular point, so you
you should go and obtain an ID as soon as possible.
Obtain a copy of the course notes. These are for sale from the
Department of Computer Science, CCB126. The notes are tentatively
priced at $15/copy. There is no other assigned
text for this course.
Student Email addresses
Links to the home page for group1 ,
group3 , and
group4 exist. As well as a list
of all student email addresses.
Line Following Robot
also has a home page.
Detailed Course Outline
- Sept. 13. Introduction & Welcome
Course structure and overview.
Introduction to mobile robots. Classic mobile robot tasks.
- Sept. 20. Introduction to robots.
Establishment of groups. Tour of the facilities.
The MAC environment. The wheel. Starting the journals.
- Sept. 27. Locomotion.
Locomotion strategies. Providing drive and steering to a mobile robot.
Use of the lab.
- Oct. 4. No class.
No class this date.
- Oct. 11. Wheeled Robot: Theory.
Start work on
Differential drive robot.
Controlling the Differential drive robot
using Lego Logo.
- Oct. 18. Wheeled Robot: Practice
Open loop vs. closed loop control of the
Differential drive robot . Evaluation of Your Notebook.
- Oct. 25. Wheeled Robot: Designs
Design and build a 2nd wheeled model (synchronous or tricycle drives
for example.) Forward and inverse kinematics of these designs.
- Nov. 1. Limbed Robot: Leg Design.
Introduction to limbed robots. Possible limb designs. Reaching in
- Nov. 8. Limbed Robot: Gait.
Gaits and stability. Standard robotic gaits including crawl.
Evaluation of your Notebook.
- Nov. 15. Limbed Robots. Climbing robots
The design of a limbed robot. Thoughts about construction in lego.
- Nov. 22. Guest Lecture. Val Vanstone.
- Nov. 29. Sensing. Sensor Integration
Sensors available in Lego Logo. Sensor classes in mobile robotics.
- Dec. 6. Term Review
General overview of the first half of the course.
NB: Your logs of the differential drive with and without wheel encoders,
and a tricycle drive must be finished before Christmas.
- Jan. 3
- Jan. 10 No class this date.
- Jan. 17
- Jan. 24
- Jan. 31
- Feb. 7
- Feb. 14
- Feb. 21
- Feb. 28 Reading Week.
- Mar. 6
- Mar. 13
- Mar. 20
- Mar. 27
- April. 3
- April. 10 Last Class.
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