Syllabus for Robotics

Instructor: Dr. John F. Santore
Phone: 508-531-2226
Office: Conant 333

Instructor Web Page:
Course Web Page:

Office Hours for Spring 2015:
Mon 10:00-11:00am
Tues: 7:30-8:30pm (right after my night class)
Wed: 2-3pm
Fri: 10-11am
or by appointment

I also will take appointments if you cannot make my other office hours, however, I generally have meetings and work prepared for a day or two ahead so plan on about 48 hours from the time I get your request to us being able to meet.

Course Description:

This is an introduction to the modern field of mobile robotics. We will look at the components of robots focusing on sensors, effectors and controllers. We will also look at control architectures through the years including the deliberative, behavioral and hybrid architectures. We will look at color blob vision and its relationship with more traditional computer vision. Students will build robot projects in groups to emphasize the importance of real time data collection, integration of sense data and  effector usage, robot navigation and object recognition and more.

Disaster Robotics by Robin Murphy ISBN:

Class Requirements and grading:

Robot Projects: 45%
Exams: 45%
Everything else (quizzes, participation, homeworks etc): 10%

Project work:

In robotics, you must work with actual robots in order to completely understand the concepts you are learning. There will be about 4 projects in this course involving the actual robots. These projects will be group projects and must be done in the robot lab itself. You will be responsible for designing and building the robots as well as programming them. Each project will have an in class demo (with the possible exception of the last project which may have a public demo instead). Each project will also be accompanied by a project report wherein you will describe your successes, failures and lessons learned from that project. The project reports will be worth about 1/3 of the total credit for the project and so should be well written.


There will be two exams, a midterm and a final exam. The midterm be worth 20% of your final grade. The final will be work 25% of your final grade. Exams will be given on at their assigned times. If you have a legitimate reason for missing an exam, see your instructor before the scheduled exam time to arrange for reasonable accommodation. If you miss the exam without prior approval, you will forfeit the exam. (emergency room visits and the like excepted of course)

The midterm exam is scheduled on March 4th

The final exam has been scheduled by the college for Wednesday, May 6 at 11am - 1pm

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.

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.

Tentative Schedule:

Week Topic Assignment
Week 1 Intro to robotics and the class

Week 2 robot basics, sensors

Week 3 effectors, moving and manipulating

Week 4 robot control basics

Week 5 control architectures.

Week 6 control architectures II

Week 7 behavior arbitration and handling the unexpected.

Week 8 navigation

Week 9 Localization

Week 10 Mapping

Week 11 multi -robot systems

Week 12 vision

Week 13

Week 14 slip time

Week 15 future trends in robotics/ robot security.