Instruction Guide: Interactive Robot Challenge

Printer-friendly version

Day 1 -2

 

Introduce the concept of Interactive robots to the students by giving them the following definition:

  • Once it is turned on and set up, a stranger can come up to it and start interacting with it by just reading an instruction card. 
  • It should be a fun game or an engaging (interesting) interaction.
  • It should have the use of at least one sensor.
  • It should have noises or pictures or lights.
  • It should have at least one moving part.

Then show them the following video and as you watch it, ask the students to identify which of the robots in the video are interactive. Use the criteria listed above to help determine if the different robots shown meet the definition of interactive.

 https://youtu.be/QAQLMiv6Ow0

 

Have students build Riley Rover or the LEGO Education REM bot (see Unit ________) and attach the ultrasonic sensor and touch sensor. Using the information in the “Using Sensors” document students should program their vehicle to drive forward after its touch sensor is pushed in and to stop when the ultrasonic sensor “sees” the student’s hand in front of it at a certain distance.

 

The goal of the above exercise is to give the students a basic introduction to sensors. Due to the variability of their final projects it is impossible to predict what specific sensor information each student will need. This introduction (or review as it may be) will give them a starting point for their project.

 

Day 2-3

 

(Note to teacher: I have often found that students are afraid to build, test, fail, and repeat. They usually want their robot to be right the first time and will spend forever making it, trying to get it perfect rather than follow the “fail fast, fail often” approach. This it is important to only give them one day to build the Candy Protection Machine).

 

Discuss what a prototype is. You can use the following definition:

 

a first, typical or preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.

 

Emphasize the words “first” and “preliminary” and discuss with the class why prototyping is important.

 

To get the students comfortable with prototyping a machine that works but may not be perfect, show them the following video of Simone Giertz’ Soup robot:

 

https://youtu.be/ab47XHidvwQ

 

Present them with the following challenge and only give them one to two class periods in which to finish.

 

 

 

 

Build a machine that protects a piece of candy.

Your machine should include the following:

  • Have a place to hold a piece of candy
  • Have an ultrasonic sensor that detects hands trying to "steal" that candy
  • Have a way of protecting that candy when the ultrasonic sensor senses your hand. Protection can be:
    • Moving the candy
    • Hiding the candy
    • Putting up a wall to protect the candy
    • Hitting the person's hand with a robotic arm
    • Any other way you can think of for protecting the candy
  • Bonus points for alarm noises and lights.

This does not have to be a beautifully finished machine. It just has to be a working prototype.

 

Day 4 – 10

 

Now that the students are a bit more comfortable with building and testing robots that may not be perfect, present them with the final challenge. Students should build and program their own interactive robot. It should follow all the criteria that were used to gauge whether Damien Kee’s robots were interactive:

 

  • Once it is turned on and set up, a stranger can come up to it and start interacting with it by just reading an instruction card. 
  • It should be a fun game or an engaging (interesting) interaction.
  • It should have the use of at least one sensor.
  • It should have noises or pictures or lights.
  • It should have at least one moving part.

Use the videos in this playlist to show students a few examples of interactive robots.

Teachers should recognize that their students may come up with amazing interactive projects that don’t necessarily fit all the criteria above. Be flexible and use your judgment.

As each student group is building something different there may be a lot of individual needs as far as programming or building help. This is a great opportunity for teachers to differentiate instruction and work individually with student groups.

.