Toys and Tools: Accessible Robotics via Laptop Computers

Morgan Conbere, Zhachary Dodds

The ubiquity and capability of off-the-shelf laptop computers offer robotics and AI researchers a remarkable opportunity to reach into the broader computer science curriculum. At Harvey Mudd College we have developed two lines of laptop-controlled robots. The first, based on Robot's vacuums, provides an inexpensive and autonomous platform suitable for indoor, human-scale environments. The second, based on PowerWheels toys, offers an inexpensive and capable platform for large, outdoor navigation and planning tasks. Both of these platforms enable cost- and time-effective undergraduate engagement in the ongoing community of robot-themed venues, exhibitions, contests, and conferences.

Subjects: 17. Robotics

Submitted: Jan 28, 2008

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