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ERIC Number: EJ1014305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-2158-0502
The Microcontroller: A Paradigm for a Robot Building Block
Hammons, John; Deal, Walter F., III
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v72 n8 p24-30 May-Jun 2013
Microcontrollers are used extensively in transportation and communications technologies, in automobiles to monitor and control engine speed and performance so as to maximize fuel economy and efficiency, and by manufacturing industries to produce "smart" technology. The flexibility, imagination, and spirit that make these tiny devices so attractive to engineers, product designers, and inventors can be captured in technology and engineering labs and classrooms with readily available microcontroller technologies. This article describes how York High School successfully introduced robots into their Introduction to Engineering course by using the University of Minnesota ME 2011 Robot Project (UMN) as a guide to address many of their instructional, learning, and activity needs. The Robot Project required students to design and construct a computer-controlled machine or robot. Their robots or robotic devices were constructed from a basic "kit" of materials, including an instructor-supplied Arduino microcontroller, one of many different types of microcontrollers and control technology boards and kits that are readily available. Each student had to deliver a working robotic device for public presentation at the Robot Show that was scheduled at the end of the school year to be evaluated by judges with diverse business, education, and technical experiences in design and engineering. The judges provided feedback to all of the students about their projects with comments, observations, and recommendations for improvement. The feedback from the Introduction to Engineering class was very positive and enthusiastic. The Robot Show day was the highlight of the activity and was enjoyed by students, parents, mentors, and school representatives. (Contains 4 figures and 5 resources.)
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. 1914 Association Drive Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539. Tel: 703-860-2100; Fax: 703-860-0353; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A