What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a robot?
For many people it is a machine that imitates a human, like the androids in Star Wars, Terminator and Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, as much as these robots capture our imaginations, such robots aren't yet ready to take over the world. But, with the expansion of Deep Neural Networks, such robotic systems may not be far off. In fact, Rodney Brooks and his team at MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab are working on creating such humanoid robots.
The type of robots that you will encounter most frequently are robots that do work that is too dangerous, boring, onerous, or just plain nasty. Most of the robots in the world are of this type. They can be found in automation, medical, manufacturing and space industries.
Some robots like the Mars Rover Sojourner and the Mars Exploration Rover help us learn about places that are too dangerous for us to go. Other types of robots are just plain fun for kids of all ages.
Robots are fun. Smart people think that this fun will fuel our economy in the very near future. I firmly believe that by the time most students in this class are in the workforce, they will work more closely with computer systems and robots than they will with humans. This is why robotics are so important. Luckily for us, they are fun, too.
Major Learning Goals
Arduino microcontrollers are popular because they are inexpensive and very, very useful in many electronics and robotic builds. Plus, they are open-source, which means you can take other people's ideas, modify them, and make them your own.
For us, these little boards are great. You can build cool electronics projects like those we saw in class, plus you can use them as the "brains" in robots. And they serve as a great introduction to programming and hardware hacking. In this course, we will keep it simple: learning to program simple inputs (buttons) and outputs (LEDs) using variables (local and global), functions, and "for" loops. As you likely know, programming languages are now considered the most important languages in the world. English used to be most important. Now it's C and it's derivatives.
Major Learning Goals
Now that we have an idea how electronic circuits work, we can begin looking at how those circuits work together to create computers.
Computers aren't just desktops and laptops. A computer is any electronic device that performs calculations and interacts with its environment. That includes familiar computers as well as devices like iPads, Wi-Fi picture frames, GPS, Xbox, security alarms, airplanes, and cars. It also includes devices that will become more familiar in the very near future, like Internet-connected refrigerators and autonomous cars. In fact, with the Internet of Things, or the Internet of Everything already upon us, the need to understand computer components and how they work is huge. After all, who is going to connect those 50 billion devices to the Internet and support them? Who is going to maintain the network infrastructures that will be required to maintain all those things, let alone the data that continues to grow and the people that are constantly connected?
Are you looking to prepare yourself for an industry that will offer jobs and plenty of money? Look no further than IT (Information Technology). Are you hoping never to over-spend on a computer system? Then learn how to choose and install the components that make up the devices you use every day. Take control of your world and learn to build it!
Our major learning goals for this unit:
1. Conceptual (what do you need to learn?)
Every one of you uses electronic devices. You have cell phones, cameras, mp3 players (often on the same device), plus gaming consoles and televisions and tablets and computers. We shouldn't forget the more "boring" electronic devices we use regularly: alarm clocks, flashlights, light switches, refrigerators, etc. We love our electronics.
So why do most people know so little about what goes on inside them? Maybe it's because we are a society of specialists. Many people drive cars but don't know what an internal combustion engine is; we leave that to mechanics. Well, in this unit, we will take a glimpse at the world of electronics. Maybe you will see that it's something in which you'd like to specialize. Electronics and Computer Engineers (the specialists) are in high demand, so if you decide you want to pursue that route, you will almost certainly be gainfully employed.
But even if you don't decide to pursue that industry, learning how technology works will enable to you control your devices rather than being controlled by them. When you run into problems, you can solve them instead of feeling frustrated by them.
Major Learning Goals
This is the first course in what may be your engineeringCentral career! This is grade 10 Computer Technology. It leads to the grade 11 and grade 12 Computer Engineering courses. We will hopefully have lots of fun this semester while learning crucial skills that every employer is looking for.
I firmly believe that what you will learn in this class (and the grade 11 and 12 classes) will lead to the skills you need to get jobs. Jobs that pay well. Jobs that are in demand. And in an era where there are lots of complaints about the lack of jobs, wouldn't you love to know that you are getting ready for an industry where you won't have to worry about all that negativity?
Together, we will try to answer the Essential Question for this course: HOW CAN I GAIN THE POWER TO TAKE CONTROL?