Robot Resources



Robotic Design Studio: Exploring the Big Ideas of Engineering in a Liberal Arts Environment. Franklyn Turbak and Robbie Berg, Journal of Science Education and Technology 11(3): 237--253, Sep. 2002. An article about out experiences teaching Robotic Design Studio.

The Art of LEGO Design. A seminal article by Fred Martin, originally published in The Robotics Practitioner that presents a variety of tips, tricks, and "design clichés" for building with the LEGO Technic system.

Will robots inherit the earth? In his thought-provoking article Why the Future Doesn't Need Us, Sun Microsystem co-founder Bill Joy not only thinks that this may happen, but sooner than you might think. But in One-Half of a Manifesto, Jaron Lanier argues that the intrinsic complexities of software may save humans from this fate


Robotic Explorations: A Hands-On Introduction to Engineering, by Fred Martin (Prentice Hall, 2001). An introduction to robotics from the lead designer of the Handy Board and the Cricket.

Mobile Robots : Inspiration to Implementation, by Joseph L. Jones, Anita M. Flynn, and Bruce A. Seiger. (A.K. Peters, Ltd., 1998). Contains a wealth of information on designing mobile robots.

Vehicles : Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, by Valentino Braitenberg (MIT Press, 1986). A classic book that shows how complex robotic behavior can arise from simple rules.

Robot Competitions

MIT 6.270 Robot Design Competition - 6.270 is the course number of MIT's LEGO Robot Design Competition Project. In 6.270, students receive a kit containing LEGO parts, electronics, sensors, batteries, motors, and wire, and have one month to design, build, and debug an autonomous contest robot.

Trinity College Robot Fire-Fighting Contest - Annual Fire-Fighting Robot Contest sponsored by Trinity College and held on their campus in Hartford, Ct. in mid-April. This is the largest, public robotics competition held in the U.S. that is open to entrants of any age, ability or experience from anywhere in the world. Wellesley students participated in the 1999 and 2000 contests.

Botball - A national robotic competition and exhibition.

FIRST Robotics Competition - A national robotic competition in which high school students team up with professional engineers to build a robot that competes against other robots.

FIRST LEGO League - Robotic competitions for pre-high-school kids.



MIT 6.270 Robot Design Competition (see brief description above under Competitions)

Middlebury's LEGO Robot Design Studio Course -- inspired by the Wellesley Robotic Design Studio course. See the projects from 2005.

A Robot Laboratory for Teaching Artificial Intelligence - Web site describing the course developed by Deepak Kumar (Bryn Mawr) and Lisa Meeden (Swarthmore).

Autonomous LEGO Robotics Course at Case Western Reserve University - Web site describing the course developed by Randall D. Beer, Hillel J. Chiel, and Richard F Drushel. You can also read about their course in the June, 1999, edition of the Communications of the ACM.


Handy Boards The Handy Board is a palm-sized "Programmable Brick", a small computer used as the brains in our robotic creations.

Crickets The latest in Programmable Bricks...they're cheap, they're small (not much bigger than a LEGO brick) and they can talk to one another!

Beyond Black Boxes - In an NSF-funded project called Beyond Black Boxes, children are using Crickets to design their own instruments for scientific investigations.

Computer Clubhouse - an after-school learning center where youth from under-served communities work together on computer-related projects, such as robotics. The goal is for youth to become fluent with new computational media, becoming creators (not just consumers) of computer-based projects. One example is a project that is starting at a new Computer Clubhouse site at the Patriots Trail Girl Scout Council headquarters in Boston. The project, which is being funded by a three year grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is based on the Beyond Black Boxes effort and will involve girls in building their own instruments for scientific investigations.

The Life-long Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab - The home of many wonderful robotic projects, including Handy Boards, Crickets, Beyond Black Boxes, and the Computer Clubhouse.

LEGO Mindstorms - Commercial robotic kits based on robotics research at the MIT Media Lab.

The New England LEGO Users Group (NELUG)

Robotic Design Studio History

Robotic Design Studio was made possible by grants from the National Science Foundation (DUE-9650969), the Hughes Foundation, and Wesley College.

Proposal Submitted to the NSF

Final Report Submitted to the NSF

Paper Accepted for Publication in the Journal of Science Education and Technology

Colby College Robot Workshop: In October, 1997 Franklyn, Robbie, and a station wagon full of robots headed north to lead a NECUSE sponsored workshop that was attended by about 25 faculty and students from Colby, Bates, Bowboin and Middlebury Colleges.


Course Information

Project Museum

Robot Resources

Robotic Design Studio
Date Created: 4/26/2008
Last Modified: 5/5/2008
Created By: Alison McKenna and MaCherie Edwards