Micromouse Robots

Dates: June 2nd-13th

Cost: $600

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.

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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, 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 two robotics classes, and I also teach another robotics class after school at Fronteras Charter School.

I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and two kids (ages two and four), and often take them swimming, ice skating, or hiking. Aside from teaching, I enjoy playing with robots, working with computers, reading and helping people. I look forward to the day when my kids are old enough to build and program robots with me."

Mike Hellings

Mike Hellings is a long-time Alaskan who enjoys outdoor recreation and adventure within our state, as well as foreign travel. His main claim to teaching fame is having taught more science courses than any one man really should. He especially enjoys working with teens.

Mike has coached Lego Robotics and has taught Underwater Robotics (Sea Perch). He has also taught circuit design and programming using Arduino Inventor's Kit. The school Mike works for is a pilot school for a very cool, and very advanced robotics program called Sea Glide. Last year, his class was one of the first in the country to build these new rovers. He will be offering this course again in may.

Mike's desire to learn robotics comes from seeing how compelling this subject is for young minds. He believes Robotics teaches kids important 21st century skills, which they also happen to find interesting.

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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