The RobotScience project offers training as a MODULE that consists of LEARNING UNITS.
A RobotScience TRAINING MODULE consists of ten LEARNING UNITS.
RobotScience offers many TRAINING MODULEs from novice to advanced, across a wide range
of skills from basic robotics to advanced robotics, industrial control systems and renewable energy.
Due to the challenging nature of our training, and the use of hot soldering irons where small kids
somehow always end up burning themselves in spite of our many warnings to be careful, the minimum
requirement is that you have to be a teenager to enrol in our training.
For a training module to be economically viable we require a group of ten trainees, we do offer robotics
classes for adults when we have a group of ten trainees.
The first training module with RobotScience is where you build the P1X8 robotics microcontroller board.
You solder electronic parts onto an printed circuit board, then you test the board.
You then learn how to download programs from your PC to the robotics microcontroller board to control stuff.
The controller board is built onto a small robot chassis, then you learn how to control the robot.
The desktop robot is first programmed with graphics and then BASIC computer text code which opens
the doors to other professional industry standard programming languages like C and Java, etc.
Our first module is an introduction to digital electronics and control systems, by learning
to control a robot to navigate through a maze and make its own decisions based on inputs you have
made a start into the amazing world of electronics and robotics.
Within just a few years of completing our training, RobotScience teenagers
have won robotics competitions and invented incredible stuff with these skills.
Each module consists of practical training sessions, as well as assignments and challenges that trainees must complete in their own time.
Watch some of the videos on this page to see our exciting our training.
We have more than 300 videos that have been watched more than 200,000 times here:
The BUILD P1X8 module consists of ten LEARNING UNITS that are supported with texts that trainees are required to read.
In many instances we also have videos that help trainees understand the content of a learning unit.
We test our trainees to ensure they are learning, questions are based on the following Parallax training guide and reference text:
"Robotics with the Boe-Bot" Chapter 1 - Chapter 5.
Trainess are required to produce their own notes from the reference texts, and perform demonstrations that demonstrate competence in the practical exercises
at the end of each chapter of the Parallax textbooks and reference texts and complete multiple choice tests.
LEARNING UNIT ONE: HOW DO ROBOTS WORK?
Human heartbeats and robot digital pulses square waves and pulse trains
What is a microcontroller? billions of microscopic electronic switches
How are microcontrollers programmed? using graphics to get you through the maze
What are microcontrollers used for? a common control system you use every day
How are microcontrollers programmed? using text code to get you through the maze
VIDEO: Control servo motors with BASIC text code What digital signals drive a robotics rotation servo?
1.4ms ... 1.5ms ... 1.6ms ...
PULSOUT 1 equals 2 microseconds
fwd: 700 stop: 750 rev: 800
EXERCISE: Control the robot
CHALLENGE: How far can you get through the MAZE?
REVIEW: Read and summmarise Chapter 4 of Parallax: Robotics with the Boe-Bot
This chapter gives you more detailed information about how to control
movements of your P1X8 which uses the DIP Basic Stamp 2. We call this chip
the P1X8 because it is a single eight bit microcontroller. Parallax
also has the P8X32 microcontroller which is an eight core chip each core
is 32 bits which means it is very powerful. Once you know how to
program the P1X8 the P8X32 is easier to learn. We don't start with
the P8X32 because you first have to learn P1X8 ...
PREPARATION for LEARNING UNIT FOUR: Read Chapter 5 of Parallax: Robotics with the Boe-Bot
This chapter teaches you how to write a program that drives the P1X8
around while checking insect whisker sensors for obstacles. When the robot
touches up against something it will back away a little, then turn and
start moving forward again.
LEARNING UNIT TWO: ELECTRONICS PROTOTYPING ON BREADBOARD
In this session we learn about how to build a practical small circuit on a breadboard.
Using a single transistor as a switch we see how a photo-sensitive device can switch the
lights on when it gets dark, and switch the lights of when it gets light.
This can be used as an energy-saving device to keep the lights off in
the day, or as a security feature to keep the lights on at night when criminals
In this class we are going to learn a whole lot of useful stuff that we are going to
need in the rest of these classes, as well as while we study towards a degree in engineering
at the University of Johannesburg.
What is a switch?
What is an electronic switch?
What is a transistor?
Collector, base, emitter
Source, gate, drain
Datasheet of transistor
Study the schematic and the physical diagram.
Redraw the schematic and physical into workbook then build onto breadboard.
LEARNING UNIT THREE: HOW DOES A ROBOT REACT TO PLEASURE AND PAIN?
What does independent mean in robotics? dead reckoning, tele-operation and decision making
Why are insects equipped with whiskers?
VIDEO: A pleasure and pain robot with BASIC text code pull up and pull down input circuits
how to wire the breadboard
EXERCISE: Touch the robot
CHALLENGE: Can this help you get through the MAZE?
How does a switch work? a closed circuit is on and open circuit is off
What's happening inside the P1X8 processor? uncertain states and path of least resistance
How does P1X8 check inputs? explain the IN command and binary states
What is a conditional statement? IF this ELSE that ...
What does the simplest sensor look like? build a switch on P14 to control LED on P15
How do we set up whisker sensors? explain C and NO and NC connectors
How do we strap P5 and P7 inputs to high? explain the 10 kilo Ohm resistor
How can we avoid typing out repeating code? sub-routines instead of repetition
LEARNING UNIT FOUR: HOW TO SOLDER A SMALL ELECTRONIC CIRCUIT
Soldering rules - how to prevent getting burnt
What does a good solder joint look like
What does a bad solder joint look like
Solder resistors on a board
Solder the transistor light switch circuit from Session 2
TASK: Draw the physical layout diagram into your workbook
CHALLENGE: Build the transistor LED light switch onto a piece of prototyping stripboard
PROGRESS CHECK: DEMONSTRATION OF COMPETENCE
Demonstrate the ability to complete a challege that combines dead reckoning and touch sensing.
PROGRESS CHECK: QUALITY OF SOLDERING
Demonstrate the ability to perform quality soldering before progressing to P1X8 controller board.
LEARNING UNIT FIVE: ASSEMBLE THE P1X8 CONTROLLER MOTHERBOARD
How does a multimeter work?
Test points worksheet
Chips onto board
Serial communications test
Test each IO channel with LED
How to wire up the LED on the breadboard
Back to BASICs What do the following mean? HIGH/ON/5v/1/ONE ... LOW/OFF/0v/0/ZERO
Why use PAUSE and what does it mean? PAUSE 500 extends your command by half a second
How can we control a light emitting diode or LED? Write code and download to P1X8 to flash LED on P0-P15
LEARNING UNIT SEVEN: BUILD THE ROBOT CHASSIS
Mechanics is taught through the assembly of a lightweight chassis using
guideline consisting of photographs, etc.
Mounting servo motors
drive your own robot through the maze
LEARNING UNIT EIGHT: A ROBOT WITH WHISKERS
Input monitoring and P1X8 decision making
Insect whiskers - the breadboard circuit
Insect whiskers - the text code
LEARNING UNIT NINE: A ROBOT WITH SMART WHISKERS
Basic Artificial intelligence
AI whisker program in BASIC
Variables as a whisker touch store function
Getting P1X8 out of corners and mobile
LEARNING UNIT TEN: WHERE CAN I GO NEXT WITH ROBOTICS?
Where can I find the documentation?
Do I want to be an engineer?
What have I not completely understood?
Have I demonstrated the required competence and skills?
Have I filed my notes and MC test?
Do I want to participate in the AfrikaBot maze competition?
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