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Robotics Outreach Program
One of the goals for the Center for Distributed Robotics is to foster the understanding of computer science through the application of robots in the classroom. While the initial trials are being done in robotics related classes, it is the goal of the Center for Distributed Robotics to introduce Computer Science students of all levels to robotics.
In many ways the "hands-on" approach associated with robots and the robots interaction with the world can illustrate concepts that may otherwise be hard to understand. The sense of accomplishment when a student completes a task with the robot may also encourage them to stick with an engineering program.
The Center for Distributed Robotics is involved in a variety of outreach projects in order to promote science and technology education to youth in the surrounding areas.
Robotics In The Classroom
The initial applications of robotics in the classroom started in Fall of 2002 with the introduction of the PPRK robot to a class of 31 students. In the spring of 2003, the PPRK robot kits were again be used to illustrate concepts related to computer vision, while Pioneer 1 robots were outfitted with webcams and SICK LMS systems for the "Sensing and Estimation" course. These robots have continued to play a role in the courses as described below:
Plans are being developed for future application of the robot kits in courses such as data structures or algorithms where they may be useful in enhancing understanding of as an illustrative lecture or a hands-on assignment.