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In this article, we investigate the possibility of using low-cost commercial material as a means of learning, research, and experimentation in fields such as mechatronics, robotics, and automatic control. The capabilities and limitations of the selected platform, i.e., of the LEGO elements, are studied via two projects that were designed and carried out, including a number of enhancements that address hardware and software limitations. The first project involves a robotic vehicle that can follow predefined paths, while the second concerns two robotic vehicles cooperating in a specific task. Algorithms and additional hardware were developed and the overall results are presented. It was found that the platform is suitable for teaching many diverse issues of central importance in the areas of interest.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2007