A course that uses LEGO beams,
September 27, 2002 9:39 AM   Subscribe

A course that uses LEGO beams, plates, gears, motors, a 68HC11 microcontroller board programmed in C, and various sensors to construct autonomous (i.e., self-contained, no direct human control) robots to hunt down and retrieve eggs. How come I never got to make things like this when I got my engineering degree? There's video too. Other cool projects are a walking machine, a human powered sub, or a future truck. I wish the real world of engineering was as fun and creative as college.
posted by jonah (8 comments total)
I wish the real world of engineering was as fun and creative as college.

Ill have to give a strong second to that notion. However looking back at my first robotics class the vast majority of the material was lectures upon lectures of dynamics math and motion matrix transforms. Not fun stuff.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2002

True Dr O, triple integrals can suck my balls, I've never used them. The nice thing about building stuff in college was the free tools and labor. I remember one professor complaining about the cost of a part he was buying, saying that he could make it in the lab for 1/10 the cost. Of course, he used his three PhD students and an entire machine shop for free, completely ignoring the fact that outside companies have overhead and payrolls.
posted by jonah at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2002

Alright! My first personal connection to a MeFi thread! I went to Case, and a lot of my fraternity brothers took this class. Not only that, but one of the instructors, Dr. Richard Drushel, is an alumnus of our chapter and our faculty advisor. I'm sure some of my brothers are in those videos, but I don't have the time to dl and find out. I've heard that the class is a lot of fun.
posted by starvingartist at 9:53 AM on September 27, 2002

The original, which is also linked from the cwru page, started waaay back in 1987. It's funny how many people here deliberately sign themselves up for a month of non-stop Lego fun and frustration...
posted by whatzit at 9:57 AM on September 27, 2002

I took this class during my last semester at CWRU (fall of 99) and it was without a doubt the most fun that I had in any class in college. Although even now I'm still amazed that, as a senior, I signed up for a waiting list to get into a class that started at 8:30am.
posted by jtduda at 11:18 AM on September 27, 2002

I took the MIT version of this (linked to by Whatzit) my freshman year, and it was about the most fun I've had working on an engineering project. The learning curve is not very steep, which is the cool thing, since the majority of people who participate have played with Legos before. A month is not nearly enough time to build the robot of your dreams. A robot destined to take over the world! Yessss...
posted by CommaTheWaterseller at 11:58 AM on September 27, 2002

The Tufts University Center for Engineering Educational Outreach has been working with Lego for a couple of years now developing a software called Robolab. The goal for the program (indeed, the whole Center) is to promote engineering in the K-12.

Though I didn't work in the center, I did have a chance to work with the Lego's and the RCX controllers in one of the classes there. It was arguably the most fun (and hardest!) class I took there.
posted by JonahBlack at 12:31 PM on September 27, 2002

I used the Handyboard last year in my Intelligent Robotics class at Univ of Oklahoma. It's the only time in college where I've slept in the lab. I now hate legos.

Anyways, these things are all over the place now, my AI class was taught by the guy who runs the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. They hold the botball tournament for high school kids every year, so this isn't just a college thing.
posted by qDot at 2:06 PM on September 27, 2002

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