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Robot car

rubikscube's picture



 I'm Mel, a junior computer science major andmath minor. A specific technology that has recently become important to me is the Arduino control board. It's the hardware part of a physical computing platform, and the board can be programmed using the Arduino development environment and programming language. Simply put, it looks like a little blue circuit board, and I can build pretty cool robots out of it. I came across Arduino this summer doing computer science research here at Bryn Mawr. Just last month I built a small car out of legos, attaching to the control board a motor to move the wheels and two IR sensors to detect objects. The program I wrote allowed the car to avoid objects, so that if it detected your hand waving in front of it, the car would move in the opposite direction. It has been really gratifying to see physical results for programs that I write. Before I discovered Arduino, I thought all robotics materials were really expensive (most are), so I wasn't able to create anything fun and easy. At first thought, I see no drawbacks of this technology in my life, but then considering how long it takes me to write a blog like this, I realized something. The type of thinking needed to work with robotics is my strength, but it is very black and white -- this wire can only go here, this variable must increment by one -- so overall, working almost exclusively in this field has limited my ability to consider questions without one right answer. I'm so used to searching for the right answer or the correct way to do something that the open-ended questions I'm already seeing in GIST make me slightly unsettled. But this is why I'm taking this course, because I hope it can expand the way I think.

As for new technologies, iPhone applications are becoming increasing popular. Although I have a bunch of apps on my phone, I've never really tried creating an app of my own. As a computer science major, you'd think it's something I should be able to do, but from whatI know, there are a lot of aspects to creating an iPhone app, and I've been turned off by how difficult it seems. I would be interested in working on making an app, and I'd like to see if that's something I can apply to this course.



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