t all started with a new robot lab course I had developed to accompany my I robotics lectures. We already had three large, heavy, and expensive mobile robots for research projects, but nothing simple and safe, which we could give to students to practice on for an introductory course. We selected a mobile robot kit based on an 8-bit controller, and used it for the first couple of years of this course. This gave students not only the enjoy- ment of working with real robots but, more importantly, hands-on experience with control systems, real-time systems, concurrency, fault tolerance, sensor and motor technology, etc. It was a very successful lab and was greatly enjoyed by the students. Typical tasks were, for example, driving straight, finding a light source, or following a leading vehicle. Since the robots were rather inexpensive, it was possible to furnish a whole lab with them and to con- duct multi-robot experiments as well. Simplicity, however, had its drawbacks. The robot mechanics was unreli- able, the sensors were quite poor, and extendability and processing power were very limited. What we wanted to use was a similar robot at an advanced level.
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