Bridging the Gap between Space Robotics Research and Robotics Education

Ayanna Howard and Eva Graham

The robotics field represents the integration of multiple facets of engineering and science — from mechanical construction to intelligence programming to science data analysis. It is an ideal opportunity to showcase the relationship math and science have on tangible real-world applications. In addition, the robotics field incorporates non-traditional areas of study such as the social aspects of teamwork, system engineering, and hands-on experimentation methods. These represent only a small subset of the elements necessary for developing an integrated, intelligent robotic system for space exploration. To promote robotics education, there is a concrete process needed for transferring the knowledge derived from space robotics research to platforms capable of teaching individual artificial intelligence topics, providing step-by-step instructions on robotics techniques, or integrating hands-on learning into the curriculum. In this paper, we will discuss the AI Toolkit, a software package that focuses on bridging the gap between robotics research efforts and the classroom environment. The AI Toolkit enables training on artificial intelligence techniques through step-by-step instruction and hands-on exercises applied to the robotics arena.

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