Robot Parade

I’m so excited, I could plotz.

As some of you know, I teach the intro Physics course for freshman majors at Drexel.  One of unconventional aspects of this course is that we have them do a bunch of numerical simulations in VPython.  I’d get all into the pedagogy of it, but all of that is irrelevant to the final project, which is: Robot Basketball! 

I’ve set up some codes for computer-simulated robots to play basketball, and a bunch of physics rules that all of the robots must obey (gravity, etc).  The students then design robots, controllers, and most importantly, physically motivated arms (using springs, pendulums, cannons, rockets, LASER guides, etc) to shoot baskets.  They have the rest of the term to complete it, but what I’ve seen so far makes me extremely optimistic of the final awesomeness.  One of the teams showed me their progress on their robot today:

That’s in glorious 3-d, my friends. And we have a 3-d stereo projection wall here in the Drexel Physics department. I can’t freakin’ wait!

-Dave

Edited to add: I only gave this assignment out two days ago, hence the lack of arms or legs.

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