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Preconference Workshops

Preconference classes are designed to give students, teachers, and mentors an opportunity to focus on a specific topic in a one day workshop environment.

Each year the Global Conference offers several different preconference classes on the day prior to the start of official conference activities. 2016 GCER preconference workshops will be held a day before the actual GCER conference on July 5, 2016. A full listing of the 2016 preconference classes will be coming soon. You can read about the classes that were offered at the 2015 preconference below.

2015 GCER Pre-Conference Classes


(The 2016 Pre-Conference class schedule will be coming soon)

Title: Educator's Edition: Making Sense of Sensors

Instructors: Les Newcastle and Jon Grasmeder

Requirements:

  • Must be a teacher/educator/mentor working with a Botball® team.
  • A laptop (and admin access for loading KISS software) is required.
  • Enthusiasm is required.
  • Some programming experience is preferred, but not required.

Summary:

This workshop is dedicated to educators who wish to learn more about writing software so that they are better able to teach coding to their students. The session is designed around the Botball® robotic controllers and sensors in the Botball® parts; however the course material can be adapted to many STEM lesson plans.

This class will introduce teachers to the fine art of controlling robots using sensors. At the end of the day, the enthusiastic participant will be able to write a program to control a robot based on sensor inputs. The sensors used will be the touch sensors, light sensors, tophats, ETs, and, of course, the camera. Using these sensors the participant will be able to find walls, follow lines, see colored objects, move towards the objects and stop when they are close enough to touch them.

The format of this workshop will be a series of hands-on exercises that task the participant to move a robot and react to external stimuli as sensed by analog and/or digital sensors. The exercises will be self-paced to allow each educator to proceed at their own speed. Solutions to each exercise will be provided with examples written in C, Java and Python.

Fee: $65


Title: Aquatic Botball® Workshop

Instructors: Ryan N. Smith and Jacob Anderson

Requirements:

  • Moderate understanding of KISS-IDE or the C language
  • Familiarity with KISS-C motor and servo commands
  • Each student must have a laptop with the current KISS-IDE loaded
  • KIPR Link Microcontroller (If you do not have your own, we can provide you with one)

Summary:

The goal of this workshop is to introduce and get feedback on an extension of the Botball® Educational Robotics Program to investigate underwater robotics. The majority of current robotics outreach programs focus on the investigation of ground robots moving in two-dimensional space. Here, we propose a structured competition that is based on the investigation of technology and operation in an undersea environment. Vehicles will be constructed using low-cost materials, yet emulate components found on underwater vehicles that are currently in operation. Through this project, we aim to challenge students to address these factors and develop future autonomous underwater vehicles with the ability to sense, comprehend, predict, communicate, plan, make decisions and take appropriate actions to achieve predefined goals.

During this workshop, participants will be introduced to underwater robotics; the state-of-the-art, the challenges faced, and current research trends. The primary focus will be on the presentation of an adaptation to the standard Botball® kit, enabling the design and development of an underwater robot. We discuss each new component to the kit, and demonstrate their integration with a working prototype model. Participants will be able to work/play with the prototype to engage discussion and provide feedback. Additionally, we will discuss the implementation of this program into the Botball® framework, including potential competition scenarios and challenges, as well as facilitation of an event. Through this interactive workshop, we aim to bring together a diverse set of motivated educators to help guide the development of Aquatic Botball® and extend the existing Botball® program.

Fee: $65


Title: Expressive Robotics: Motion and Emotion

Instructors: Caitlyn Clabaugh and Ross Mead

Requirements:

  • Moderate understanding of KISS-IDE or the C language
  • Familiarity with KISS-C motor and servo commands REQUIRED
  • Each student must have a laptop with the current KISS-IDE loaded

Summary:

Robots have been built to perform many interesting tasks. However, the roboticists of tomorrow must not only consider what robots can do, but how they do it. This workshop will start with a discussion of how humans interpret very simple actions in very complex ways and how robots interact with humans. Students will then program a robot to do a simple motion (e.g., go to the end of the hallway and back) while demonstrating a given emotion (e.g., happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust). Students will view the other teams' motions and record what they interpreted it as. This will be followed by a discussion of how professionals shape movement to get certain responses. Finally, teams will utilize what they have learned to create short robot films, which may be shown to the conference audience.

Fee: $65


Title: Learning About Microcontrollers

Instructor: Wesley Myers

Requirements:

  • Programming experience needed.
  • Each student will need a laptop computer.
  • This class includes a materials fee in addition to the $65 preconference fee. Participants will be able to keep and reuse the Arduino kit after the session.

Summary:

In this workshop you will learn about the Sparkfun RedBoard, similar to the Arduino Uno, by making some simple circuits that interface with it. This workshop will help you understand a little more about the electronics used in Botball® by leading you through hands-on practical exercises where you will implement functional circuits driven by the RedBoard.

Fee: $140