Robot Parade

This is the last week of classes at Drexel, and I’m teaching the Freshman majors course. One of the things that makes this course a lot of fun is that we get to explore a lot of topics (quantum mechanics, special and general relativity, computer programming) that students don’t normally get to see until much later. In particular, they do a number of numerical coding assignments in VPython, a package that allows them use openGL functionality in a nice, simple environment. Mind you, these students (almost all of them) have never programmed before.

However, I have an excellent group of students, and for the final project, I had them make computerized robots to play basketball. The idea was that they could use physical “devices” (springs, pendulums, rockets, etc.) to launch the ball or move their robot, and that I’d supply the code with the ground rules in it. Today we played the games on our 3D viz wall and it was awesome:

That might look a little better if you wore the stereo glasses.

Even in plain old 2d, the robots were all above and beyond the call of duty:










Let me say it again: These students had never programmed before this term, and not only were their robots awesome looking, they were functional. The Wall-E one even had an automated Eve that played defense. If you’d like to have a look at the assignment or play the students’ games, they’re available on the course website.

-Dave

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One Response to Robot Parade

  1. Kate Dunson says:

    This means that you are an excellent teacher. I really, really want to take your introductory class.

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