CMRoboBits: Creating an Intelligent AIBO Robot

Manuela Veloso, Scott Lenser, Douglas Vail, Paul Rybski, Nick Aiwazian, and Sonia Chernova

Since 1997, we have researched teams of soccer robots using the Sony AIBO robots as the robot platform~\cite{LNAI98-cmtrio,LNAI99-cmtrio,LNAI00-cmpack00,01agents01-cmpack,LNAI01-cmpack01}. Our experience runs across several generations of these four-legged robots and we have met increasing success every year. In the fall of 2003, we created a new course building upon our research experience with the AIBO robots. The course, which we entitled CMRoboBits, introduces students to all the concepts needed to create a complete intelligent robot. We focus on the areas of perception, cognition, and action and use the Sony AIBO robots to help the students to understand in depth the issues involved in developing such capabilities in a robot. The course has one two-hour weekly lecture and a one-hour weekly lab session. The course work consists of nine weekly homeworks and a larger final project. The homework assignments include written questions about the underlying concepts and algorithms as well as programming tasks for the students to implement on the AIBO robots. Evaluation is based on the students’ written answers, as well as their level of accomplishment on the programming tasks. All course materials, including student solutions to assignments, are made available on the Web. Our goal is for our course materials to be used by other universities in their robotics and AI courses. In this paper, we present the list of topics that were covered in the lectures and include examples of homework assignments as well as the rational behind them.

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