I often speak of you having quite a bit of power in this program. I try to cater the courses around what I think is important technology and innovation, while giving you choice in which areas to pursue. For example, in this semester's course, we studied networking because you overwhelmingly voted in favour of it. We did Arduino because I think it is the most important unit for your post-secondary careers. And we tried to add (but kind of failed) to add 3D design and printing because of your interest in it.
Many of you have now completed grade 10 and grade 11 Engineering classes. In them, you have been able to experience many emerging and important technologies, such as:
Creativity in the engineering process is an often overlooked skill. There is a real danger for engineering students to lose focus on their creative side in the pursuit of "safe" and proven methods of obtaining good grades and "winning" products. And there is a real danger for engineering teachers to focus only on the end product, ignoring the innovation on display in "losing" products.
Some top engineering schools like Stanford University explicitly teach creativity. Japan, a noted high-tech society, features the art of chindogu, which focuses on creating un-useless products. And when you look at how engineers have changed our very society and culture, you can see how creative minds sparked inventions as diverse as the Panama Canal to our modern phones that interface with the world's biggest source of information, the Internet. Some call this moonshot thinking.
This project is an attempt to encourage you to generate, to develop new ideas and solutions, which is an aspect of creativity that is of supreme importance in our world today.
Here is a way of assessing this skill:
1. Finish the pop-can challenge. Please keep the winners' names on the board
2. Upload robotC firmware to your Cortex so you can begin to program them. Follow these instructions.
3. Begin going through the Movement unit from Carnegie Mellon University. We will do our own version of their Labyrinth Challenge. Test your robots! Make sure you understand how your programs affect movement.
Our essential question for this unit is "how can robots help me gain power over my environment and my future?" I think this is a reasonable question for you to ask, since robotic systems are becoming so common. We are seeing them pop up in so many industries. In fact, people far smarter than me are saying that there is an excellent chance that students today will need to interact with robots as co-workers, regardless of the industry they choose. We have spoken in class about the likelihood that you will most likely need to communicate with a computer system far more often than you will with a human. Many of those computer systems will be robots.
Thus, knowing how they function gives you power to control them and confidence to interact with them. Furthermore, programming systems may very well be the most important language you will need to know in your careers.
For this unit we are using the awesome VEX EDR robot systems. You could study these robots for 2 or 3 years and not run out of things to build and program. You can build entire clutch and transmission systems with these. In grade 11, you will learn how to use these for competition, so that you can actually enter the VEX International robot competitions in grade 12.
This is going to be amazing.
Learning Goals for Robotics Unit:
Conceptual (what do you need to learn?):
Many very smart people are saying that Additive Manufacturing, or 3D printing, will be more revolutionary than the Internet. Whether or not that's true, 3D printing is already changing established industries such as medicine, food, fashion, and aerospace. Essentially, these are industries where mass production isn't the best fit. These are specialized industries where unique parts are often required.
Beyond these types of industries, 3D printing offers a different type of future. You want something, you press a button and a machine in your home starts producing it. A machine that could make things appear out of nothing!. Printing in 3D gives you the power to create. No longer do you merely need to be a passive consumer. Learning how to design and print in 3D means you can be a creator. Just think of the story of Derby the dog.
Furthermore, being able to design and create in 3D is a critical engineering skill. It's one thing to be able to conceive of an idea and sketch it out in 2D. But to really determine its value, you need to conceptualize it in 3D.
Our Essential Question for this unit is: How can the ability to design in 3D and create using additive manufacturing give me the power to create personalized objects on demand?
The major learning goals are:
Conceptual (what do you need to learn?):
Looking for an industry with 0% unemployment? CyberSecurity! Learn a bit about Stuxnet to see why this is an industry that is growing so rapidly. If nuclear facilities can be targeted, imagine the potential security threat when everything goes online with the Internet of Things. This Internet thing doesn't seem to be going away.
So, what do you need to get started in an industry like this? An expert knowledge of Networking, hardware and electronics.
Throughout the engineeringCentral program, you get exposure to all these topics. So now we look at networking. We need to know how to set them up, connect to them, and secure them. That will give us the expertise to configure reliable networks at home. But in order to become a pro, you need to get deep into networking. For those of you who are interested, you can go deeper into the Cisco Networking Academy than we have time to get in class. This gives you a solid foundation to begin a career as an IT Pro.
The major learning goals of this unit are:
Course Information 11
Course Information 12
Cisco Networking Academy
Why we will rely on Robotics
Peer Review Form
Robot C for VEX
VEX Ultrasonic Sensor
VEX Ultrasonic Value
Assignments and Due Dates
11: Laser Tripwire Alarm: Mar 10
12: Laser-Tag Gun: Mar 30
11: Secure Networks: Apr 7
11: 3D Rocket: Apr 12
3D Battling Top: Apr 25
12: SumoBot Challenge: May 31
11: Starstruck: June 20