CSC 230 Robot Construction








Spring 2016 class project (click for video)


And click here for details (work in progress)


Information

Course: CSC 230 Robot Construction
Instructor: Randal C. Nelson
Office hours: by appointment, CSC 719
Time: TR 9:40 - 10:55
Room: CSB 632

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Summary

A robot shall not harm a human being...
(Isaac Asimov, First Law of Robotics)

For the purposes of this class, a robot is any artifact that moves by itself under some sort of adaptive, (non-human-sourced) control. This covers a lot of ground. BigDog is a robot. So is Predator. So is the automatic transmission in a 1990s automobile. 2013 automobiles are complex, integrated robotic systems, even the ones that can't parallel park themselves or keep to a lane on the freeway. Your CD/DVD/BluRay player is a robot. So is your inkjet printer.

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Prerequisites

A desire to build robots. However, experience with shopwork, any sort of construction or fabrication, electrical or electronic design, mechanical design, physics, computer programming, system-level architecture, operations research, etc. would likely be an asset; also, experience working on or leading a team effort. If you don't want to work with a team, this is probably not your class.

Grading

Some combination of:

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Constructor Facilities

We will have access to metal and woodshop fabrication facilities, in the new Rettner building. Every student will take the shop safety course offered by Jim Alkins. We have a small budget for materials and components (upper bound $1000/project, but aiming for less). Computational resources will come from personal machines, and begged, borrowed, or stolen from the CS department as required.

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Assignments

The contents of this log may change at any time.
Daily assignments will be posted.
You are expected to read it regularly.

Readings

There are no required texts. However, the materials listed under the "Books and Online Documents" section below may be useful. A selection of robot books has been placed in the bookcase in the 6th floor "maker space". You are encouraged to browse.

Books and Online Documents

There are no definitive texts. The knowledge required for robot construction is too vast to be satisfactorily covered in one volume. The materials listed here are considered by the prof to be good reading and reference, in whole or in part.

Suppliers

Suppliers and sources for materials, components, and tools useful for the construction of robots.

UR Robotics Club Forum

There IS a UR Robotics Club. Full of students just like you, interested and involved in building, programming, and otherwise interacting with robots. Check out some of their projects, discussions, and resources.


Robot Manual for Amateurs

(Work in Progress)


Bones

A discussion of materials useful for robot structural frameworks.

Scaling

Useful scaling rules (power laws) for mechanical structures

Assembly

Nuts, bolts, screws, and glues.

Articulation

Joints and bearings and wheels and gears and all that jazz.

Energy

Batteries etc.

Nerves

How to choose and use electrical wires.

Diodes etc.

Basic discrete electronic components (resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors...)

Op-amps etc.

Simple, functional, integrated circuits with little or no programmable, internal state(op-amps, voltage regulators, logic gates, timers...)

Muscles

Actuators for robot motion. Motors and other stuff.

Driving motors

Circuits for driving motors and how to use them. Includes short primer on communication protocols.

Sensors

Finding out about the world around you. And your own state.

Brains

Support for central control. Mostly computer hardware.

3D Printing

A brief primer


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