A project-based mobile robotics course has been designed for freshman and sophomore honors engineering students at the Penn State Abington campus. The unique feature of the course is the focus on designing an autonomous mobile robot to be entered in a national fire-fighting robot competition at the conclusion of the course. Teams of engineering students have each designed, tested, and debugged a mobile, microcontroller-based robot capable of navigating a maze, locating a candle, and extinguishing the candle. Topics such as gear mechanisms, motor control, sensors, and control software have been integrated into the project-driven experience. The success of this strategy suggests further experimentation in hands-on, context-driven course delivery.
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