Robotics: COMP 460

Instructor and contact information:

Instructor: John F. Santore
Instructor web page:
Phone: 508-531-2226
Office: Hart 220
Course Web Page:

Tentative Office Hours:

Course Description:

The course description given in the course catalog is outdated and referred to the robotic arms used in previous versions of this class.

In this class we will explore a variety of robotic concepts necessary for working with small mobile robotics. The class will cover the acquisition and processing of sensor data, the use of effectors/motors, planning/navigation, object detection, and skills necessary to programming in a small microcontroller with limited memory and processing power rather than a modern PC with few such limitations.


The prerequisites listed for this course are also out of date. If you have a good working knowledge of calculus and have passed data structures with a grade of c+ or better you will prepared for this course. If you do not have these, you ought to see me.


Required: Introduction to AI Robotics by Robin Murphy

Class Meetings:

This class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:45am in Moakley 301.

Class Requirements and grading:

In this class your grade will depend on four components:

Exams: In this class there will be two exams, A midterm and a final. The midterm will be worth 20% of your grade and is tentatively scheduled on February 28st. The final will be worth 30% of your grade and will be scheduled by the college.

Labs: There will be one lab in this course. They will be setup like science labs wherein you will work with a group to take several measurements according to a lab procedure that you are given. Each student will then generate a lab report and draw conclusions independently.

Projects: There will be several more traditional projects in this class where students are given an assignment to solve some problem and then must program a solution to that problem. Because we have a limited number of robots, all projects will be group projects in this class. In order to make sure that all members of each group participate and work on the solution, each project will be followed by an exit interview wherein I will interview the group on their solution and discuss it with all of the group members.

Other: Before exams, and at other times, I will give quizzes to the class. I may also give some homeworks or other assignments. These assignments are not worth a large part of your grade, but do give excellent preparation for parts of the class that are worth alot.

Students with special needs:

Anyone who has special needs should contact me in the first week of classes so that reasonable accommodations can be agreed on.

Academic Integrity:

See for a complete description of the academic integrity procedure at Bridgewater.

Academic integrity will be taken very seriously in this class. All individual work must be your own. If you cheat or otherwise represent the work of others as your own. You will receive an F for the course.

Guidelines for proper academic integrity:

Discussing problems with your classmates can help you understand the problems and kinds of solutions to those problems that you will learn about in this class. In an effort to make in clear what sort of discussions are appropriate and encouraged in this class and which cross the line to academic dishonesty I use the following guidelines: You may discuss any out of class problem I assign in this class with your classmates or other so long as no one is using any sort of recording implement including, but not limited to, computers, pdas, pens, pencils, phones etc. This lets you talk about theoretical solutions without sharing the actual implementations. As soon as anyone in the group is typing, writing etc, all conversations must stop. You may look at someone else's program code only very briefly in order to spot a simple syntax error. As a rule of thumb, if you find yourself looking at someone else's code for more than about 30-45 seconds it is probably time to stop. If you are having trouble with your program, come to the instructors office hours for more help.

For those projects assigned as group projects, you may discuss and work together with anyone in your group as much as you like. You must still follow the guidelines above when discussing with people outside of your group though.

All in class exams and quizzes are closed book and closed neighbor. If you are found using a data storage device of any kind during one of these evaluations, you will be failed for the course.

Standards for in class behavior:

You are all adults and are expected to act as adults in this class. While questions are encouraged in this class, if a particular line of questioning is taking us too far afield, I will ask the student to come by my office hours or to see me after class.

Cell phones, pagers, electronic organizers and other devises should be silenced while in class. If you work of EMS or something similar, please turn your cell phones/ pagers etc to vibrate mode so that you are not disrupting others in the class.

In the unlikely case of trouble makers in the class, those who are simply attempting to disrupt the class will be asked to stop; those who will not, will be referred to the college for appropriate action.

I do not take regular attendance. Because of the census day regulations, I'll have to take occasional attendance. You are adults and are paying for this class. If you miss a class, you are expected to get notes from a classmate and familiarize yourself with the material that was covered before returning to class. I do find from dealing with students in the past that attendance at lecture is highly correlated with doing well in my classes.