Micromouse Robots

Dates: July 14th-25th

Cost: $1,200

Learn to build and program a simple robot capable of accomplishing complex tasks. We will begin by assembling a simple robot out of an Arduino Nano, some servo motors, a battery, and various other electrical components. Once assembled, we will:

  • program it to move along desired paths (a square, a letter, maybe even a name)
  • control it remotely using Android tablets and/or cell phones
  • create obstacle avoidance routines
  • navigate a maze

This module will require perseverance and attention to detail. Although we will build a robot, consider this a programming module as we will spend the majority of our time programming the robots. For more information on the robot we will build, watch the following video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiCPWbQRiy8 . To see the video tutorials I have put together for this project, visit http://www.udemy.com/nanomouse .

Although prior programming experience is not required, it is strongly recommended. Those of you without experience can learn many of the basic concepts from the comfort of your own home for free using Khan Academy. To get started, visit https://www.khanacademy.org/cs/programming/intro-to-programming/v/programming-intro. The more you know coming into camp, the more you will get out of camp. For this reason, I urge you to work through as much of the Khan Academy computer programming curriculum as you can.

For more information on the micromouse competition, visit: http://ewh.ieee.org/reg/6/ne/NEAMicroMouse.html where you can learn more about the international competition and see some amazing videos of high speed mice in action.

"My instructor turned something that could have been two weeks of slightly dull but fascinating programming into two weeks of the eye-opening and exhilarating exploration of new worlds." - ASRA Student


Michael Backus

"I was born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley. As a kid, I enjoyed hockey, running, skiing, reading, and music. After graduating from high school, I went to college at UAF where I continued to play with Legos and make robots. After working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangladesh for a while, I returned to Alaska. I went back to school to become a teacher and then taught at Burchell High School for two years. I now work at Twindly Bridge Charter School where I teach a variety of technology related classes.
I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids, and often take them swimming, ice skating, or hiking. Aside from teaching, I like learning new things. I'm currently working on a robot that can play soccer."

Noah Betzen

Noah is currently a third-year computer science student at UAF. Currently, he is studying abroad in Norway through the north2north exchange program for an entire academic year to experience and learn about its language and culture. Fortunately, he will be back in time for ASRA. In his time at UAF, Noah has been very active both in and out of class. He is a member of the UAF Ambassador Program, has competed as a member of UAF's NASA Lunabotics Robotic Mining Competition team, and has worked for both UAF's Arctic Region Supercomputing Center and Office of Information Technology. Noah is a three-time ASRA alumni, and loves ASRA and its mission. He has taught his own robotics module during the ASRA middle school program and has also acted as the ASRA Saturday Thing supervisor. This will be Noah's second time working as an assistant with Michael to teach robotics to high school students. He hopes that ASRA continues to be a part of his life for many years to come.

Student Intern

Jasper Holton

Jasper Holton was born and raised in Fairbanks and is a student at West Valley High School. He has been involved with robotics since he was seven years old. He has participated in the ASRA Jr. and ASRA robotics modules for several years. He keeps himself busy with skiing, running, and science. Jasper greatly enjoys programming and robotics, and is a developer for both Apple and Android. His other interests include computer science, mechanical engineering, mathematics and explosives. Jasper hopes to make ASRA more interesting and challenging for students this summer, and hopes to open their eyes to how amazing the world of robotics and computer science really is.

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