Plastic-Bottle-Based Robots in Educational Robotics Courses – Understanding Embodied Artificial Intelligence –
Kojiro Matsushita, Hiroshi Yokoi, and Tamio Arai
Dept. of Precision Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
In this paper, we introduce an educational robotics approach featuring a unique robotic development kit – hardware, software, and instructions – that concretely encourages student interest in and curiosity about science and technology. The kit was developed based on practical policies: easy construction, low cost, creative activity, and enjoyable education. It uses common materials such as plastic bottles, RC servomotors, and hot glue, and provides three different controllers with instructions – a sensor-motor controller, an electromyography (EMG) interface controller, and a teaching-playback controller. The kit thus offers more custom access to both robot structure and control architecture than similar kits and encourages students to become engaged creatively. The three robotics courses for undergraduates and graduates we have conducted thus far to provide an understanding of robotics and embodied artificial intelligence (AI) have confirmed that some of locomotive robots explicitly exploit their own dynamics – also known as “morph-functionality” – an embodied AI concept. An evaluation of this approach for course hours, task achievement, student interest, and the influence of assistance confirmed conclusively that students experienced creativity in such robotics courses.
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