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Each fall, a group of intrepid students converge in a classroom on the third floor of the University of Pennsylvania's Towne Engineering Building for what they know will be one of the most challenging courses in their academic career. That first class begins with a discussion of where it will end. In particular, we talk about what they will accomplish in the final project, where they will design, fabricate, assemble, program, and debug small teams of autonomous hockey-playing robots, complete with wireless communications, infrared puck sensing, and enough onboard computational power to handle just about any task that can dream up. Most of the students look incredulous; after all, many of them have never built a circuit or written C code before.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010