Copyright © Maja Mataric, USC
Time and place: This course meets three times per week: two
lectures and a lab
(schedule on Home Page). The size of the lab is limited, so each
student/team should go to a fixed lab every week. Make sure you
sign up for a lab!
Prerequisites: C-language programming ability or equivalent +
CS 101 + junior or senior standing.
Fees: Because this course involves the use of the
computer and electronics laboratory, the students will be charged a
standard lab fee of $175/person.
Textbook and readings:
The Robotics Primer by Maja J Mataric
Explorations: An Introduction to Engineering Through Design by F.
Martin (available in the bookstore)
Two other texts are recommended as background reading for
the course. They are: Vehicles,
Experiments in Synthetic Psychology by Valentino Braitenberg, and
Intelligence, A Modern Approach by S. Russell and P. Norvig. These
will be available on reserve at the library.
Course objective and description
The objective of this course is to use a hands-on approach to
introduce the basic concepts in robotics, focusing on mobile robots
and illustrations of current state of the art research and
applications. Course information will be tied to lab experiments;
students will work in teams to build and test increasingly more
complex LEGO-based mobile robots, culminating in an end-of-semester
The course will use the LEGO robot kits
to cover and illustrate the historical development of robotics as a
field, the importance of integrating sensors, effectors and control,
basic control, the key approaches to mobile robot control (reactive,
behavior-based, and hybrid), and briefly discuss robot learning and
multi-robot systems. Additionally, several guest presenters will
describe state-of-the-art in robotics research. In the lab, robot kits
will be used in weekly exercises illustrating lecture material; the
last month of the lab will be spent in applying the learned material
to a final project, in which the students will design and build a
robot for a final competition.
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