It is also desirable to immediately understand what you want to learn from the lessons: to participate in competitions and compete for prizes, to participate in project activities or just to do for yourself.
Aleksey Kolotov: “For serious lessons, projects, participation in competitions you need to choose clubs, with small groups of 6-8 people and a coach who leads students to prize places at the competitions, who constantly develops himself and gives interesting tasks. For hobby classes, you can go into groups of up to 20 people.
How to choose courses for robotics?
When enrolling in the courses, pay attention to the teacher, recommends Oleg Kivokurtsev, Commercial Director of Promobot Company.
“There are precedents when a teacher just gives the equipment to the children, and then you can do what you want”, – agrees with Oleg Tatiana Volkova. Such activities will be of little use.
Tatiana Volkova: A good teacher is the one who teaches children new concepts at a sufficient level of abstraction regardless of the equipment used, and not only “now press there, write it here”.
When selecting courses, it is also worth looking at the available facilities. Are there any design kits there (not only Lego), are there any opportunities to write programs, study mechanics and electronics, and make projects themselves? Each pair of students should have their own robotic kit. It is desirable to have additional details (wheels, gears, frame elements) if you want to participate in the competition. If more than one team works with one set, it is unlikely that there will be any serious competition.
Ask which competitions the Robotics Club is taking part in. Do these competitions help you to consolidate your skills and provide an opportunity for further development.
How to study robotics on your own?
Courses require money and time. If you don’t have the first one and can’t go out regularly, you can study with your child on your own. It is important that parents have the necessary competence in this area: without the help of a parent, the child will be difficult enough to master robotics, warns Oleg Kivokurtsev.
Find material for studying. They can be taken online, from ordered books, at conferences, from the magazine “Entertaining Robotics”. For independent study, there are free online courses, such as “Building robots and other devices on the Arduino: from traffic lights to 3D-printer.
Do I need to learn robotics for adults?
If you’re a child, it doesn’t mean that the doors of robotics are closed to you. You can also enroll in a course or study it yourself.
If a person decides to do it as a hobby, the path will be the same as that of a child. However, it is clear that further than the amateur level without professional education (design engineer, programmer and electronic engineer) it is unlikely to move forward, although, of course, to get an internship in the company and stubbornly gnaw at the granite of a new direction for you, no one forbids.
Oleg Kivokurtsev: “It will be easier for an adult to master robotics, but time is an important factor”.
For those who have a close specialty, but want to retrain, there are also different courses to help. For example, a free online course on Probabilistic Robotics “Artificial Intelligence in Robotics” will be available for machine training specialists. There is also an Intel educational program, the Lecturerium educational project, and ITMO distance learning courses. Don’t forget about books, for example, there are a lot of books for beginners (Fundamentals of Robotics, Introduction to Robotics, Handbook of Robotics). Choose what is most understandable and appropriate for you.
It should be remembered that serious work differs from amateur hobby at least the cost of equipment and the list of tasks assigned to the employee. One thing is to assemble the simplest robot with your own hands, and another thing is to do, for example, machine vision. Therefore, it is better to study the basics of design, programming and hardware engineering from an early age, and then, if you like, go to a specialized university.
Which universities should I go to?
New Generation Open Learning Robotic Platform
Open standards-based robotic platforms (Open Source and Open Hardware) are increasingly being used in the world of educational robotics, with the most advanced developments based on thirty-two-bit microcontrollers. Some products have finally reached the level that allows you to successfully use them in the education of children of the first fifth grade (not just high school students), because it is in junior and high school, the interest in robotics is the most pronounced and massive.
I can name two manufacturers whose products, in my opinion, are the closest to the concept of “an ideal 32-bit robotic platform based on open standards”. These are Kittenbot and DFRobot companies. Take a look, for example, at the Robotbit robotic controller that uses a BBC Micro:bit board.
The Robotbit controller is good and the robots based on it have a lot of advantages. However, today we will talk about an alternative to these products. In order to understand why, let’s formulate a list of requirements for the ideal robotic platform taking into account the specifics of today, remembering that not only the robotic set itself, but also the existing training materials are important.
The list of basic features should include a “reference” set that has evolved to date: a button (start or program selection), movement (control of two collector engines), audio signals (playing music notes), light signals (two light indicators with the ability to choose the brightness and shade of color), light sensor, line sensor (digital, with two sensors and built-in LED indication), rangefinder (ultrasonic or otherwise).
It is desirable that initially there were additional tools in addition to those described above, as well as the possibility of further expansion of basic functionality. The first thing you need is a servomotor to control head rotation and a gyroscope to track body rotation. In addition, various additional servomotors, stepper motors, wheel encoders, sensors (sound, color, etc.) are required.
Easy connection of additional sensors is important (in particular, without having to disconnect existing ones).
Easy to use in school classrooms, wireless communication between the robotic platform and the computer (e.g. initially paired Bluetooth or 2.4G modules).
Possibility of programming by visual means (similar to Scratch and Blockly) with the use of high-level commands (blocks “to wait for pressing a button”, “to move forward”, etc.).