Today I’d like to showcase one of the star members of our office and Washington State University electrical engineering classrooms, Susan the Robot Pig. She was made using the Line-Following Motor Robot Kit.
Check out this Instructable for assembly details.
Susan the Line Following Pig
The Line-Following Motor Robot Kit allows students the practical use of microcontrollers and allows for creativity and customization. The Robot Kit not only tests the student’s ability to apply class concepts, but also reinforces problem solving skills that are required for real life design. It is for these reasons that the Line Following Robot Kit is used in WSU EE classrooms with the curriculum of the base microprocessor and microcontroller systems class.
Although WSU chooses to use the Line Following Motor Kit, Digilent also offer different kits with different levels of functionality. All of our Robot kits can be found here.
The most basic robot kit is the Motor Robot Kit (MRK Basic) or the Servo Robot Kit (SRK-Basic) . These kits use the chipKIT Pro MX4 and MX3 respectively. They allow students to program either in assembly or C. These kits require students to make a robomal compiler that takes a robomal program and executes a desired path. In WSU’s EE234, this allows students to explore the fetch, decode and execute architecture which they have to write themselves. The motors give the students a chance to practice using output compare modules to create a pulse with modulated signal. The robot allows students a hands on way to understand what duty cycle and frequency physically mean as well as how to use motors and H-bridges.
Motor/Gearboxes, Pmod HB5, and Battery Pack
The next level of kits are the Line Following Motor Robot Kit and the Line Following Servo Robot Kit. In these kits there are four sensors that students can mount to the robot to make the robot follow lines. Using the line following kit students can explore interrupts and polling. Susan polls her sensors to find out which direction to go. The LEDs on the Pmod LS1 indicate sensors are sensing reflected light, i.e., white surface. If Susan sees reflected light she corrects and goes in the opposite direction, so she stays on the black line.
IR Proximity Sensors
The robot kit for EE 234 also contains the PmodBT2. Which allows students to use their computers or smart phones as a remote for the robot instead of following lines or following a pre-programmed path. Since the project is open ended this teaches students the differences between UART, SPI and I2C and the limitations that may come with hardware. They have to learn to design their hardware to optimize the use of the available pins.
With one kit students are able to explore:
Assembly, C, Computer Architecture, Output Compare, Pulse Width Modulation, Duty Cycle, Frequency, Motors/Servos, H-Bridges, Sensors, Polling, Interrupts, Problem Solving, Hardware Design, Software Design