Introduction to Robotics/Robotics and BoeBots/Lab/Teachers

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A laboratory setting, especially one with electrical equipment, can be dangerous. The instructor should not be afraid to be stern when talking about safety, and students who act unsafely should be removed from lab.

Pre-Lab Preparation

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There should be an available BoeBot for each team of students, and a working computer loaded with the BasicStamp programming environment. Ensure that each BoeBot comes with a power cable, a serial cable, and possibly a full set of batteries.

Laboratory Rules

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Discuss some of the important rules with your students. You may wish to talk about all the following:

  • No eating or drinking in lab
  • Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices
  • Remove all pieces of metal jewellery, fashion accessories that dangle from the hands or wrists. Long hair should be tied back. Students should not be wearing extremely loose-fitting clothing, or anything that would distract from mobility.
  • Do not play with buttons, knobs, or switches that the instructor has not specifically told you to use.
  • Do not use equipment that you have not been taught to use.
  • If you smell smoke, see fire or sparks, or see anything else that is out of the ordinary, get your instructor immediately.

As an instructor, you may wish to edit these rules as necessary to suit your own laboratory environment.

Safety Contract

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It is important that students understand the rules of the lab, and that they also understand the consequences. Many lab instructors may use a laboratory contract, that the students must sign, to dictate these rules.


Date: 06 / 21 / 2024
Robotics Safety Contract

The student must:

  • Act safely at all times, using appropriate precautions when necessary.
  • Remove all jewelry or metal objects from the body, pull back long hair, wear closed-toed shoes, and avoid loose or baggy clothing.
  • Do not touch or use any equipment that you have not been taught to use by the instructor.
  • Only work in the construction room with proper supervision from the instructor.
  • Always wear gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, and ear plugs while in the construction room.
  • Obey all instructions from the construction room instructor.

The student must not:

  • Bring food or drink into the construction room
  • Use the robotics equipment, including the robotics computers, for any purposes not required by the robotics assignment
  • Abuse, misuse, or break any robotics equipment.
  • Damage or deface the robotics construction room, including damage to furniture or infrastructure, or graffiti.


Lab Assignment

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The students are going to be using a series of straight-line and angle techniques to cause the Boe-Bots to travel in various geometrical paths. Here is a checklist of things that each group should do. You may wish to print out a copy of this checklist for every group, to keep things separate.


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Date: 06 / 21 / 2024
Robotics and BoeBots Lab


  1. The BoeBot that has been properly calibrated. When run, the BoeBot should not move at all. Ensure that the software is correct, because an error could have the same effect.
  2. Moving the BoeBot forward and backward in a straight (or nearly straight) line. BoeBot should stop by itself after several seconds.
  3. Moving the BoeBot forward by distances of exactly 1 inch, 6 inches, and 12 inches.
  4. Turning the BoeBot 90° to the left and to the right.
  5. The Robot moving in a Square shape.

Bonus Tasks:

  1. Move the robot in a square shape forwards and backwards
  2. Move the Robot in a figure-8 shape (with 90° turns)
  3. Pace the robot back and forth over a straight line.
  4. Moving the robot in a straight line, forwards, then backwards, then forwards again.
  5. The robot moving in an octagon shape.
  6. The robot moving in an equilateral triangle shape.
  7. The robot doing a 3-point turn, like a car


Finishing Early

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Invariably, several students will finish these exercises early. Here are some examples of exercises that you can ask the students to do to stay occupied:

  1. Ask your students, using the techniques and recorded values from the lab, to make the robots spell out the letters of their name.
  2. Develop a method to turn the robot in rounded edges (not straight edges). Use this technique to move the robot in a perfect circle and in a rounded figure-8.
  3. Increase the speeds of the PULSOUT functions from some of the previous examples to ± 100 instead of 50. This will move the robot at full speed. Ask the student to calculate the necessary constant values to move the robot in the same simple patterns (1 inch, 6 inches, 12 inches, 90° turns left and right) using the full-speed. Is it easier to make a precise maneuver at a slow speed or a fast speed? why?