CSCI 250: Introduction to Robotics


General Information

            Professor: Simon D. Levy
Schedule: MTWRF 1:25-3:25 Parmly 405
Office: Parmly 407B
Office Phone: 458-8419
E-mail: simon.d.levy@gmail.com
  Office Hours: 11:15-12:10, 3:30-4:30 daily, and by appointment

Textbook: There is no textbook for this course. Robotics is changing so rapidly that it makes more sense to read selections from various authors than to try and find a single textbook. These readings will be available online.


Objectives

By the end of this course you will be able to

The informal goal of this class is to have fun learning about and building robots. The learning will come from the current robotics literature presented by you and your fellow students. We will pursue our goal in a spirit of friendly competition: your final robot project will be judged not just on its own, but against the robots built by your classmates, at our Spring Term Festival.


Prerequisites

To do well in this class, you should have some programming background. W&L courses CSCI 111 or 121, or a high-school programming course should be sufficient. Although Computer Science majors will have a slight advantage through familiarity with programming, I have found that the best predictor of success in this course is interest and dedication.


Grading

  • Weekly quizzes: 50%

  • Participating in group exercises: 20%

  • Final robot project: 30% (5% from peer rating)

    The grading scale will be 93-100 A; 90-92 A-; 87-89 B+; 83-86 B; 80-82 B-; 77-79 C+; 73-76 C; 70-72 C-; 67-69 D+; 63-66 D; 60-62 D-; below 60 F.

    I expect everyone to show up every day and partcipate. Because of the teamwork required in this course, you will be letting down not just yourself, but also your teammates, if you miss class. The only legitimate reasons for missing class are illness, family emergencies, and the like (which must be handled through the Dean's Office), as well as off-campus varsity athletic events.


    Final Project

    Starting on the third or fourth day of class, you will work in teams of two to four students on a final project of your choosing. Robotics changes so rapidly that there are now sevearl platforms / technologies that we will be using for the first time in this course.

    We are fortunate to have generous funding from the Provost's Office that can be used to purchase new equipment, based on your own project ideas. Given the short amount of time we have to work with, it will be up to you to get such requests to me as soon as you can.

    Here are some other possibilities to explore, using equipment we already have:

    Given enough advance notice, it should also be possible to purchase other kinds of robots. I suggest you familiarize yourself as quickly as possible with these platforms, so you will be able to decide which one you would like to use in your final project.

    An email with your final project proposal (mainly just an email from one team member with the names your team members and the robot you want to work with), will be due from each team at 11:59 PM Friday 28 April. Failure to do this will cost you 5% of your final grade for each day it is late.


    Class Format

    The format of the class will be an hour of lecture / discussion followed by at least one hour of project work done in teams of two to five students. We will likely vary this schedule to accommodate addtional work on projects as needed. To ensure that you are keeping up with the readings, there will be a weekly reading quiz each Friday.


    After-Hours Work

    Although you should have enough time to work on your robots during the regular class meetings, I have found that students enjoyed and benefitted from working on their robots outside of class. Parmly 404, the room where we will store the robot kits and other material, should be open from 9AM till late at night, so please let me know if you have trouble getting in there during those hours (and please lock the door when you leave, if no one else is around).


    Tentative Schedule

     

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    Friday

    24 April
    Week 1
    Course Intro

    * * *
    Group Exercise
    Sensors, Signals, Serial, Sockets

    * * *
    Sensor Lab
    Sensors, Signals, Serial, Sockets

    * * *
    Sockets Lab
    Sensors, Signals, Serial, Sockets

    * * *
    V-REP Simulator Lab
    Reading Quiz


    Final Project proposal due

    * * *
    01 May
    Week 2
    Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (AIMA) Chapter 2

    * * *

    Final Projects

    3D Printing exercise with Dave Pfaff, W&L IQ Center

    How Robots Think

    * * *

    Final Projects

    3D Printing exercise with Dave Pfaff, W&L IQ Center

    Bayes' Rule Intro

    * * *

    Final Projects

    3D Printing exercise with Dave Pfaff, W&L IQ Center

    Kalman Filtering

    * * *

    Final Projects

    3D Printing exercise with Dave Pfaff, W&L IQ Center

    Reading Quiz

    * * *

    Final Projects

    3D Printing exercise with Dave Pfaff, W&L IQ Center

    08 May
    Week 3
    AIMA Chapter 25

    * * *

    Final Projects

    Finish Chapter 25

    * * *

    Final Projects

    PID Control

    * * *

    Final Projects

    Computer Vision

    * * *

    Final Projects

    Reading Quiz

    * * *

    Final Projects

    15 May
    Week 4
    Evolutionary Robotics (read this first)

    * * *

    Final Projects

    Evolutionary Robotics

    * * *

    * * *

    Final Projects

    Braitenberg, V. (1984), Vehicles (Chapter 1)

    * * *

    Final Projects

    * * *

    Final Projects



    12:00 - 2:00 PM: Spring Term Festival, Leyburn Library

    Take-home quiz on readings