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The interdisciplinary sophomore design course - EGR 286 - utilizes design teams as part of an engineering design learning process. This course constrains a robotic project to using only LEGOreg devices and the Robotic Command eXplorer (RCX). The instructors have observed that students greatly improve their interest in the design process if a main component is robotic competition events. Therefore, we have developed an infra-red (IR) network which enables inter-robot communications independent of position and orientation and allows the student teams to partially control the robots during multi-team competitions. A "satellite" RCX is established over the demonstration arena; its purpose is to receive and send signals from the competing teams' RCX systems and control network synchronization. The controlling software was developed using the public domain programming language, "NQCcopy". We present the advantages and limitations of this network environment, in the context of one design competition, entitled "capture the flag"
Frontiers in Education Conference, 36th Annual
Date of Conference: 27-31 Oct. 2006