Robotran: A Programming Environment for Novices Using LEGO Mindstorms Robots

R. M. Meyer, Debra T. Burhans

The LEGO Mindstorms robots provide an excellent introductory platform for students to explore computer programming and robotics. However, a major drawback is student lack of access to robots outside of lab. Our system includes a 2D graphical simulator and a translator for a simple block structured language we call Robolang that produces Lejos code. Students can program directly in either Robolang or Lejos, so the system has a longer curricular lifespan, allowing beginners to start with a simpler language and progress to a real language, all the while using the simulator to test their programs before downloading to a real robot. While robotics helps introduce AI to students in introductory courses, Robolang can also be used in an AI course to allow students to quickly develop interesting reactive robot agents using the LEGO platform.

Subjects: 17. Robotics; 1.3 Computer-Aided Education

Submitted: Feb 11, 2007

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