Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development and validation of a low cost, flexible, open source robot for use as a teaching and research tool across the educational spectrum
by Howell, Abraham L., Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2012, 287; 3522814
Abstract (Summary)

In the high tech factories of today robots can be used to perform various tasks that span a wide spectrum that encompasses the act of performing high-speed, automated assembly of cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices to the compounding, filling, packaging and distribution of life-saving pharmaceuticals.

As robot usage continues to increase, industry will need an ever increasing supply of new employees who possess the appropriate skill sets and education. Students educated in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be in high demand. Community colleges and universities must be capable of delivering an increased number of students who are educated in these four areas of industry interest.

For some time educators have recognized the array of benefits that arise from using robots in the classroom. Robots help to captivate and engage students while bringing real-world context to the classroom. Students can extend the concepts and theories from class by working with robots in lab or as part of a project or competition.

This dissertation focuses on the development and validation of a unique, low-cost, fully open-source educational robot that can be used as both a teaching and swarm research tool. An overview of the engineering education literature and the designed open-source robot will be presented. The initial, investigative research results along with the final validation results of the robot teaching tool will be examined. The development and implementation of a novel assessment methodology will be presented and discussed as part of the final research results.

The second facet of this research explores leveraging the developed robot platform in order to investigate evolving foraging behavior and to test specially developed hardware and software algorithms for wireless, centralized swarm control. Finally a novel algorithm for indirect swarm communication and control is discussed. A symbiotic relationship can be developed when swarm researchers and educators leverage a common robot platform. Swarm researchers can share their robotic expertise and knowledge with educators and students. In this way educators and researchers can work together to cultivate the next generation of swarm researchers, computer scientists, engineers and robot specialists for industry.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McGrann, Roy T.R.
Commitee: Culver, Richard R., Eckert, Richard R., Lewis, Harold W., III, Madden, Patrick H., McGrann, Roy T.R., Murray, Bruce T.
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Mechanical Engineering
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Educational technology, Robotics
Keywords: Assessment methodology, Engineering education, Open source, Robots, Swarm, Swarm robotics, Teaching tool, Technology
Publication Number: 3522814
ISBN: 9781267552396
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