Buildings robots from Lego sounds like a dream job. For some PKP students, it is one of the three courses that they choose to spend their time on whilst here in Cambridge.
It’s not just playing with plastic bricks. The skills of engineering and programming required to build even a basic robot can be helpful in a world where we rely increasingly on automated processes.
In the workshop sessions, students work in pairs and learn through a process of trial and error. One student says ‘We’re just working things out as we go along. We find advice on the internet about how to write in code and then we just try it out and see if it works.’ Lecturers are always on hand to offer advice and guidance.
Whether creating a robotic basketball game or a remote-control camera, students learn to write in computer code as well as to construct the physical robots themselves using Lego Mindstorm sets.
Our short video shows you some of the early-stage prototypes in action:
Here, one student explains her project:
Basically what our robot is supposed to do is throw a ball. So we have it move in a straight line to a white line and then it stops there, and then it uses a holding mechanism that has a ball in it to throw it into a basket.
What I’m doing right now is trying to fix the arm so that it has a little more force. It initially had one arm but when we tested it there wasn’t enough force, so we’re trying to add another motor. Then I’m adding it to the side so that there are two motors moving the arm and so then that will throw the ball into the basket.
The final robots are presented at a showcase on the final day of the course. This fifteen-minute video shows you some of the highlights: