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A contest-oriented project for undergraduate students to learn implementation skills and theories related to intelligent mobile robots is presented in this paper. The project, related to Micromouse, Robotrace (Robotrace is the title of Taiwanese and Japanese robot races), and line-maze contests was developed by the embedded control system research group of the Department of Electronic Engineering, Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. It targets both those students who have to earn credits for a one-year special topics course and those who are just interested in making robots, and it is designed to motivate them to learn digital motion control, path planning, attitude correction, curvature detection and maze-solving algorithms. The students begin by getting acquainted with the development environment of microcontrollers, the characteristics of different sensors, and servomotor control techniques. Having learned these basic skills, they acquire further specific advanced skills and proceed to design their own mobile robots to compete in contests. The special topics course students' robots must pass examination by five teachers. Blogs and a wiki Web site for recording students' progress and experiences enhance the project's learning outcomes. Although not every student wins a prize in the contests, student feedback still shows that the contest-oriented project did motivate them to acquire the skills necessary to build and operate intelligent mobile robots.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013