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An Introduction to the Design of Mobile Robots
SCI 110
South Seattle Community College
Fall Quarter 2012

Instructor: Rick Downs, PhD
Office: RS 191 Phone Number: 934-6890
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 7:20 - 7:45 am; 2:15 – 3:00 pm Course web site:

Meeting Times: Monday – Thursday from 12:00 - 1:40 pm
Location: OLY 200

A. Course Description
This course is an introduction to engineering design through the design, construction and programming of mobile robots. Students will work in teams to solve a series of problems that are of increasing complexity by designing and constructing robots from kits and programming their controllers to perform the assigned tasks. No previous computer or engineering knowledge is assumed. Enrollment is limited to 24 students.

B. Method of Instruction
This is a project-based course where students work in teams on a series of focused exercises that will incrementally introduce them to design issues related to mechanics, sensors, motors, and control of an autonomous mobile robot. Lectures will be used to provide students with the necessary background knowledge prior to their work in the laboratory. We will form groups of three students at the beginning of the quarter. Groups will stay together for the first three projects and then new groups will be formed in the 4th week and the 7th week. To get the most out of this class, each group will be expected to take the following issues very seriously:
· Equal and fair division of work among the team members
· Friendly and open communication among the team members
· Effective conflict resolution when disagreements arise
· Flexibility in scheduling team meetings outside of class
· Attending class every day

C. Course Objectives
The objectives for the course are for each student to be able to:

1. Know how to design, build, and program simple autonomous robots 2. Learn the basics of computer programming 3. Understand fundamental mechanics: building robust structures, power transmission, gearing 4. Write a technical report

D. Course Topics
I. Mechanical Construction · Structural · Gears · Motors
II. Programming
III. Sensors · Touch · Light · Rotation
IV. Robot Behaviors · Light Seeking · Line following · Obstacle Avoidance
V. Robotics Projects

E. Laboratory Work
A large portion of class time will be spent in the laboratory, and it is important for everyone to follow a few simple rules while working in the laboratory:
· No food or drinks are allowed in the laboratory – not even water.
· Report any broken equipment immediately.
· Make sure all equipment is put away at the end of class. Be sure to check the floor for parts that have fallen off the table.
· Make sure all chairs and tables are returned to their normal position.
· Be careful with the LEGO parts so that they are not damaged.
· No internet surfing.
· Turn off cell phones. No text messaging while in class.
· No earphones for listening to music.

Design Notebook
Everyone should have a design notebook containing a record of their work during the quarter. The design notebook should contain all of the following:
· Team members names and contact information.
· All handouts.
· Lecture notes taken during class.
· Answers to homework assignments.
· Documentation of your solutions to the Robotics Projects, including sketches, code, and explanation of strategies.
· Documentation detailing the design and construction of your final project, including words, sketches, and code.
· Other thoughts/observations/sketches inspired by the hands-on activities, reading, etc.

I encourage you to use a 3-ring binder for your design notebook. Do not use a folder that you just put papers into. You should date each entry to the notebook, and tape or glue loose material (such as photos) to pages in the notebook.

You should use your design journals as a kind of diary in which you write down/sketch all thoughts, designs, etc. you have that are relevant to the robot course. Everything should be documented, and in a way that someone else could figure out what you'd done just by what was in the notebook. Don't be obsessed with making the notebook excessively neat, since this may reduce your probability of jotting things down. On the other hand, do try to make the writing legible.

F. Grading

Daily Lab work: There will be lab work to do every day. Your lab work grade will be based on your attendance. Two points will be deducted from your Lab work grade for every day of class you miss. You must be in class by 12:10 to get credit for being in class that day and you should stay in class until 1:40 unless you have completed all of your work for the day.
Projects: There will be seven robotics projects that you will be required to complete during the quarter. For each project, one person will be in charge of building a robot, one person will be in charge of programming and one person will be in charge of the report. Note: each person is to help out with all three tasks even though they are not the one responsible for that task. For each project, you need to rotate through the different jobs. As part of each project, you will be expected to do the following:
· Develop a design for your robot. Do not use the same robot used for your last project.
· Build the robot you have designed. This is an iterative process in which you will build, test, see what works and what doesn’t, and make changes to the design. You repeat this process until you are done or you run out of time.
· Write a program to allow your robot to accomplish the desired task.
· Write a written report explaining what you did.
You will be graded on how well your robot performs the desired task and your level of participation in the project. At the end of each project, you will be asked to fill out a peer evaluation form, evaluating how much each member of your team contributed to the project. You will have four days (usually) to work on each project, so plan your time accordingly. If you miss one or two days during the quarter, your project grade will not be affected by your absence. However, if you are frequently absent, your grade for the project your group was working on while you were absent will be reduced to reflect the contribution you made to the project.
Final Project: Each group will design, build, demonstrate, and document a robot. The project is open-ended; you should brainstorm with your teammates about projects that are fun, exciting, and challenging, but at the same time realistic.

Programming ExercisesProgramming Quiz|15%10%|
Daily Lab Work|20%|
Final Project 10%

Your numerical grade for the term will be determined from the percentage of the possible points you earn. Your grade will be calculated using the following formula:

GPA = 0.08 * P – 3.6 Where P is the percentage of the total points that you received. As an example, here are the grades for several different percentages:

Percentage Numerical Grade
100% 4.0
90% 3.6
80% 2.8
70% 2.0
60% 1.2
55% 0.8

G. Classroom Rules of Conduct
You must turn off cell phones before class starts and there is to be no cell phone use (other than to take pictures of your robot) or text messaging during class. If extraordinary circumstances require an exception to this policy, you are expected to discuss this with me before class begins.

In class I expect you to be considerate of your fellow students by not talking when I am lecturing. If you don't understand something, ask a question so everyone can hear it. If a topic is confusing to you, there are probably other people in class who also do not understand it.

This course is non-competitive in nature. You are encouraged to help your classmates with ideas, concepts, and advice as well as to discuss problems encountered. If you use someone else's idea, be sure to give credit to the student in your documents and discussions about those concepts.

If you experience difficulty with the lecture topics or the text, speak up right away so you can get your questions answered. I am available for appointments or you can stop in my office during office hours. If there are any students in this class who have need for test taking or note taking accommodations, please feel free to come and discuss this with me.

Student misconduct is defined in Seattle Community College District Procedure 375.20 (WAC 132F-120-110). Attention is called to paragraphs (d) and (e) which identify the intentional obstruction or disruption of teaching and physical and/or verbal abuse of any person on campus premises as misconduct. Disciplinary sanctions for misconduct may include dismissal from the campus. By Procedure 375.40.4 an instructor has the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which the student is disorderly or disruptive. The Policy and Procedures Manual is available for reading in the campus library.

It is the policy of SSCC to accommodate students with disabilities according to federal law, state law, and the College’s commitment to equal educational opportunities. Any student with a disability who needs accommodation should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services, which is located in the Robert Smith Building, room RS 12 or phone 206/763-5137.

H. Final Exam
The scheduled Final Exam Period is used for robot disassembly and inventory of parts. Failure to attend the Final Exam and to disassemble robots, inventory all parts, and return the kits to the condition they were in at the time they were handed out, will lower a student's grade (whatever it would have been otherwise) by one full grade point. Please remember this policy when making your end-of-quarter travel arrangements!

Disclaimer: Depending on the progress of the class, this syllabus is subject to change. You will be informed of any changes that are made to the syllabus.

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