LEGOS, ROBOLAB, and LabVIEW: Designing, Programming, and Collecting Data
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Department of Mechanical Engineering
Tufts University-Medford/Somerville Campus
the software that guided and collected the data from NASA's Sojourner Rover robot on the Mars Pathfinder Mission. If students have to make projects in the machine shop, they can't make very complicated parts. With LEGO bricks, they can prototype far more quickly, and the complexity of the part correspondingly increases. The same is true with the software; LabVIEW allows rapid software prototyping and students can develop much more complicated software without many of the difficulties associated with a syntactical language (like C). Then you have a pretty powerful combination. By letting students create the experiment themselves, rather than giving them a canned experiment, you can get them more excited about what they're learning....
Why use technology?
Because it's fun. I run a mechanical engineering class that teaches students how to do data acquisition--how to design and build an experiment. We do it all with LEGOs, the colorful children's construction pieces, and LabVIEW,
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