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Robotics: an Introduction

Robotics: an Introduction

An intensive summer programme designed to introduce students aged 19+ to the principles of Robotics.

A one-week programme, residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

This introductory course in robotics is based on one of the most user friendly and popular Python programmes used in practical robotics development. It is a highly practical course and will test students’ coding skills and practical capabilities.

Students will learn about their own skill set and how to work with others. There are a number of demanding challenges in this course and students will be tasked with overcoming them. Students will learn how to set up the environment and be introduced to key concepts in engineering and prototyping and will learn how to use motors to manage precise movements, difficult manoeuvres and obstacle detection, dictating how a robot moves, through sensing acceleration and detecting distance.

Students will be introduced to circuits, switches, resistors, digital and analogue pins and diodes and will be shown how to control individual motors to achieve precise manoeuvres such as turning, going forwards, reversing to make robots follow a set path. They will be shown how to work with infrared motion sensors, object detection and accelerometers to detect motion.

In addition, students will programme a robot in what actions to take when an obstacle is encountered. Over the week students will work in teams on a variety of activities to produce a fully functional robot that they will demonstrate in a challenge on the final day of the course.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course students will understand:

  • How to use the knowledge, skills and principles acquired on the course as the basis for building further, perhaps more sophisticated, robots
  • How to programme robots to follow a set of test manoeuvres
  • How to use the Python programme for robotics as springboard to further explore and critically assess the value of other robotics programmes and code

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Setting up the environment, IDE, importing libraries, robotics programmes and programming
Seminar 1: Hands on practical exercises in setting up the robot infrastructure and relating code to movements. Students will start modifying how the robot runs with example files
Tuesday Lecture 2: Electrical engineering basics and modern day essentials of controlling a moving robot including obstacle avoidance ve
Seminar 2: Applying the technical input from the lecture to start involving coding of a robot to avoid obstacles
Wednesday Lecture 3: Detection sensors and mechanisms 1- infrared, acceleration,  temperature and humidity
Seminar 3: Robot practical-testing sensor operation, implementing and modifying code
Thursday Lecture 4: Detection sensors and mechanisms 2- sounds and voices, magnetic fields and fire. Imitating the behaviour of living
Seminar 4: Robot practical- setting up sensors to detect light and fire
Friday Lecture 5: Pulling it all together- final preparations for robot demonstrations
Seminar 5: Robot demonstrations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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