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.
Our Essential Question for this unit is "How can robots help me gain power over my environment?"
Our Learning Goals include: