Problem Statement

The incorporation of simple robotics in Computer Science education over the last twenty years has lead to a positive knowledge growth in specific fields of subject expertise. A sample of these subjects include embedded systems, cost-effective vision systems, micro-robotics and the rate at which students can model and test programs. It is worth noting that the outlined education tools use sophisticated programming environments, predetermined course objectives and rigid time frames - a necessity to achieve the ultimate goal of stimulating computational thinking. On the other hand, this has left students with no time to experiment with robotics using their own methodologies and motivation.

Research Objective

The aim of this project is to successfully create rapidly developed robotics systems using at least two established teaching methods and incorporate an external field of knowledge into the system. The driving focus is to evaluate how an independently built robot can be used to solve a real world problem or perform a specific task without the constraint of specialized programming environments that limits experimental development. The goal is observe how these methodologies impact the performance of the robot, the difficulty of producing goal-driven robotics outside a controlled teaching environment and the complexity of integrating a useful subsystem.


To allow enough time to develop and experiment with rapid prototyping, with the volatile nature of software development in mind, this project will be replicating an existing robot that was published on the Internet as an open source hobby kit in 2014. The original robot known as PlotClock, will serve as baseline for the prototype and will act as an initial milestone for the project. The PlotClock is a static program system, meaning it only follows pre-determined instructions that it is hard wired to - this is where this project will improve the system by adding in an external field of knowledge: real-time image processing. By utilizing a webcam and simple artificial intelligence (AI) we hope to expand and improve the original design using the rapid prototype and goal-driven design paradigms. This improvement may not be relatively new in terms of robotic AI, but would provide an interesting look into how such a system can be adapted to provoke solution refinement.

PlotClock Demonstration

The PlotClock is a freely available, open source project that can downloaded and built using an Aruduino Uno and 3 servos. The latter video demonstrates it's capabilities and will serve as a guide for this research project. You can find the PlotClock source and supporting information in the Links section.

Website templatesDont click me