Miguel Hernandez University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 193-201
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper presents the experiences we have collected during the design and the development of the practical sessions in a robotics and computer vision subject. Students follow these sessions during the studies of Industrial Engineering, in the Miguel Hernandez University, Elche, (Spain), within an optional subject. The main goals of the subject are to analyse the kinematics and dynamics of serial manipulators and mobile robots, to study several techniques to extract the most relevant information from the images and to describe how the movement of a robot can be controlled through the visual information extracted from a camera the robot carries on it.

Traditionally, these practical sessions have been developed in the robotics laboratory, where some tasks are proposed and the students have to implement the necessary programs to solve them. The main problem of these sessions is the fact that the number of robots and cameras to develop and test the algorithms is limited and so the available time in the laboratory.

Our objective is to overcome these difficulties and also, to make an adaptation to the new philosophy of the European Space for Higher Education, that must be centred in the learning and autonomy of the student; it should be a less rigid system with regards to the lectures and timetables. With this aim, we are encouraged to use some new methodologies to improve the autonomy of the students.

With these objectives we have designed a set of practical sessions so that students can reach the objectives of the subject in a more flexible way. We have made use of a software we have implemented with the contents of the subject. This software constitutes a link between the data collected by the real robots and the task the student has to carry out. This way, after an initial presence practical session, where the teacher exposes the fundamentals of the robots and the cameras, the student can develop the rest of the practical sessions in his house, with a flexible timetable, through the software we have designed. When any problem or doubt arises, students can get in touch with the lecturer through a virtual tutoring system.

The experience collected during the development of the practical sessions shows how the students are highly motivated to train in this way. The tool we have developed simplifies the use of the data collected by the robot, and the implementation of the necessary algorithms becomes a more intuitive and easier task. Students specially appreciate these two features comparing to the previous years system.

Apart from the compulsory practical sessions, the students can make some optional assignments that are taken into account in their evaluation. In the tool we have developed, we have included more sophisticated options that allow the student to deepen in some concepts of robots and computer vision that lie out of the objectives of the subject. This way, the tool can also be used while the development of these assignments; the student can use real data, collected by real robots and simulate the experiments through the tool.
computer vision, mobile robots, educational software, higher education.