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Virtual Robotics Lab

Description of the Virtual Robotics Lab
Virtual Robotics Lab In this virtual experience, students build a "top-down" mobile robot from the ground up -- including assembling the parts, constructing one of the robotic arms, writing scripts that control the wheels to move the robot to the worktable, writing scripts to control the robotic arm to enable it to pick-up Coke bottles, and training an AI program (ProtoThinker) to give the robot "beliefs" about recycling which will ultimately result in the robot moving across the lab, picking up a Coke bottle and dropping it in a recycle bin.


8 MINUTE INTRO   Flash (1024 x 768)     Flash (800 x 600) 


Launch the Virtual Robotics Lab (Basic Version: Your progress can be "saved")

Launch the Virtual Robotics Lab (Teacher's Edition: Do lab in up to 5 stages)

**Documentation for the "Teacher's Edition"

Additional Teacher Resources (A second robotics lab -- a bottom-up lab)

This is a second robotics lab -- a "bottom-up" robotics lab that teaches students about a fascinating alternative to the standard "top-down" architecture. Instead of using a traditional, language-based, AI program as the central control program of the robot, these bottom up robots are designed more like insects, with several layers of rather stupid stimulus-response mechanisms, which can behave in a surprisingly "intelligent" way -- if only these behaviors are ordered in the appropriate hierarchy. There is a version of this bottom-up lab available through The Mind Project website. This was originally created for college students, but we believe that it has great potential in middle school and high school classes.

IRRL Behavior Based Robotics Lab (This is the whole lab -- with instructions about real, physical robots as well as the online "video" version of the robot.)

Rather than reading about all of the programming available for physical robots, we recommend that you focus on the "virtual robot" and the ethology exercise. In this activity you work with video tape of real robots, but you can program these robots online. To do the ethology exercise, first read this webpage:

The IRRL Ethology Exercise (RECOMMENDED: This page is only about the online video version of the robot -- which allows you to do an ethology exercise.)

Read this one webpage. Then click on the "Video Robot" link at the top of the page and attempt to discover the hierarchy of behaviors that controls the robot in the "Original" video, by "programming" your own robot with the right behaviors in the proper hierarchical order. If you succeed, the video of YOUR robot will be exactly the same (with all of the same behaviors) as the video of the "original" robot.

We are working to develop a new and improved version of this Behavior-Based lab (with better lighting). Let us know if you might be interested in using it with students -- either in its present form or in a new and improved form (email: mindsup AT ilstu.edu)

Copyright 2008 The Mind Project