Coding comes alive in Arundel’s Intro to Robotics class

By Davey Burgess

For students interested in learning about programming and robots, look no further than Arundel’s Intro to Robotics class. Robotics students can create physical and virtual robots, like the clawbot, and then use a program called VEX to enter code and program the bots.

The Robotics classroom is located in the basement, in room F001. Mr. Baur teaches the course. “We did something last year called Robo-Dunk, where they taught the robot to pick up a ball, carry it, and put it through a basket all by itself,” he said in an interview with The Pulse.

 Students with prior programming knowledge should note that if they are already knowledgeable in programming, they would most likely have no problems in the class. Robotics students create clawbots using VEX. Many projects have been produced in the Robotics class due to VEX’s simple to use features. Those who know advanced coding can explore additional features with their clawbot. Advanced features include making robots pick up items.

There is also a simpler command called the void command. Students name a command, such as moveforward, and enter their code. Then, under task main, entering moveforward prompts their robots to follow whatever code was inputted into the void code.

Baur’s students gain knowledge on a variety of topics concerning robotics throughout the year. “We learn how to program robots to make movements, how to program with sensors to make adjustments, we learn robotics in society, how are they really used in the real world, and then we look about careers in robotics,” Baur said.

Students can test their robots by making them complete a labyrinth, or programming them to go back and forth. The class occasionally has basketball drills with their completed robots. 

Coding also has other uses for robots in the Robotics course. When a motor speed is set to 0, and another motor is turned on, the robot will swing turn. If both motor speeds are negative, the robot will move backward. If both motor numbers are positive, the robot will move forward. When one motor’s speed is positive, while the other motor is negative, the robot will point turn. Students can determine how long their robot’s motor will run using the wait1Msec command. 

Mr. Baur spoke highly of the class: “I think it’s fun, interactive, and it’s something you can see coding come to life instead of just seeing it on the screen.”