As a final project for the third quarter, students in the Digital Media class were tasked with programming an autonomous robot. This assessment required students to take all of their previous knowledge of powering electrical motors and interpreting sensory data to build a single program that allowed their team’s robot to move freely about the classroom without bumping into obstacles. Students used the ROBOTC programming language along with the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT kits for this project.
Each team of two or three students was required to follow specific criteria to make their robot behave a certain way. The main aspect of the project was to program the robot in a manner that would have it continuously detect objects in front of it and navigate around them. After students successfully completed the first part of the project, they were then challenged to have the robot start only after a touch sensor was pressed, make a noise when an obstacle was detected, display messages on the LCD screen throughout program execution, and count the number of objects that were detected. These seemingly simple tasks for human beings required complex programming logic for the machines to follow the commands.
The Digital Media students learned all about programming in a fun and engaging manner. The knowledge obtained from this project has practical applications in a multitude of engineering fields, specifically the automobile industry.