Teams had a variety of programming
languages to choose from. Drag and Drop for
NXT was available for students who were less
experienced with programming. NQC (Not
Quite C programming), Microsoft Robotics Studio,
NI LabVIEW (National Instruments), and Lejos
(a form of Java) were among the languages
Actually, the students were free to use any
programming language that was readily available
to all team members, provided it was available at
Robotics Certificate Program
Two students working with their Create robots at Rose-Hulman.
Then they would switch. The students could not alter their
robot configurations at the half. “They could potentially
put a different program on the robot’s computer, if they
could do it without connecting the laptop,” stated
The students could also take shots at the goal from
different angles. Certain angled shots offered more points
if the robot scored.
One of the robots — from the participating JABA
Solutions team — had a rotating gate. “The high speed
rotating gate cleared the goal area several times per
second.“ They were not allowed to block the goal without
completely clearing it every five seconds so that the
opposing team had the potential to score,” said Professor
Their gate rotated like a fan, so it cleared the goal
many times per second. It was very rare that a ball got past
this robot. “Defense won the competition,” noted Professor
Voltmer, pointing out that the teams that designed their
robots primarily for defense performed the best.
The JABA Solutions team programmed their robot so
the gate would rotate at maximum speed; gears connected
to a motor controlled the gate.
The Paranoid Android team used a similar strategy.
They created a gate (a surface area built something like
a fence) that the robot raised and lowered speedily in a
pseudo random kind of way, according to Professor
Voltmer. “The competitor could not tell when the gate
would be going up or coming down.”
The students converted the robot’s motor to create
pseudo linear motion. The motor worked a plunger that
mobilized the gate.
12 SERVO 07.2009
A robotics certificate program has now been
adopted that enables students to demonstrate
work performed together in a multidisciplinary
fashion on a robotics platform. Freshmen in the robotics
programming course have already taken a step towards
receiving the certificate.
Another course that counts toward the certificate —
Mechatronics — is required during the junior or senior year.
Students only need to complete five other courses during
their four years at Rose-Hulman to garner the certificate.
The list of courses includes: mobile robotics, robotics
engineering, software development, circuit design and
analysis, kinematics, sensors, controls, computer vision, and
“The exact courses the students are required to take
for the certificate depend on the track the student chooses,
according to selected majors and interests, like Mechanical
Engineering with Programming, for example,” explained
Professor Matt Boutell.
While Rose-Hulman doesn’t offer a degree in just
robotics per se at this time, prospective students can expect
to significantly increase their familiarity with robotics and
related disciplines while completing their education in a
selected engineering program. SV
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
The LEGO Mindstorms Education NXT Base Set
and Education Resource Set
The Nintendo Wiimote