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RobotC, Robot Do: Programming Lego Robots With A Text Based Language

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

“RobotC, Robot Do” is a summer course designed for high school students interested in learning about programming, but more so about problem solving. RobotC is a text-based programming language, which is very similar to the C++ programming language, but is designed specifically to work with Lego Mindstorms robots. Students will be able to program robots to move, sense, and react to their environment. This course gives real-world applicability to programming by showing students how to use it to control robots in a hands-on manner while learning how to be scientific in the planning and testing processes. Even toy robots can do impressive things when powered by motivated people.

The course involves learning a version of the C programming language with robotics applications using LEGO Mindstorms. Students are taught programming structures and syntax, in addition to learning how to incorporate sensors, such as ultrasonic, light, color, and sound sensors. All of the "labs" are autonomous; once the student presses the go button, then the robot relies strictly on sensory feedback to accomplish its tasks. Last year, the final challenge involved a life-size version of Mario Kart where teams of students competed in a light-hearted competition around the racetrack. One edge of the table was wrapped in white duct tape and the other edge in black duct tape. Students programmed their robots to turn one direction if white was detected and the other direction for black, thereby staying on the table. Also, two sound sensors were mounted on each robot to teach the students about differentials in the application of sound localization.

Sample activities students will design and program:

  • A parallel-parking robot
  • A line-following robot
  • A dancing robot that can respond to the music being played

Students in this course will learn:

  • Early expertise in a programming language that is almost identical to programming languages used in industrial and academic realms.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • An appreciation and understanding of engineering systems that combine computers and mechanics.
  • Hands-on experience with feedback and closed-loop control problems.
  • A feeling of accomplishment engineering a robot to do what they want it to do.
  • And, of course, fun times with science and engineering.

*Please note: This course has a Supplemental Fee of $150.00.

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