Innovating with new curriculum

Funding from the National Science Foundaton DMAF grant and the Trade Adjustment Act (TAACCCT) grants provided DVC with the opportunity in 2013 to offer a new course in robotic design. 

Professor Qi Zhu was responsible for developing the class with new curriculum and projects for students to explore.  Initially the course focused on merging several disciplines – design of mechatronic devices, programming for microcontrollers such as Arduinos and similar devices, and the use of laser cutters and other digital fabrication devices for creation of student projects. 

Diversity of projects

The projects were diverse in their focus with many student pursuing the traditional robotic concept of a mobile vehicle that can navigate its environment using a feedback loop of sensors, servos and motors interpreted and controlled by a microcontroller.  Projects in the first semester focused not only on robotic devices but on the relation between architecture and interactive design, with stuents exploring the design of building systems that could respond to their environmental conditions as well as classical robotic and mechanical themes for a variety of devices.  As the course grew in enthusiasm and diversity of ideas, other students chose to investigate a range of projects ranging from sound generation, photography, games and interactive devices.

Future offerings

Due to popularity in the program and the curriculum, the robotics class is currently offered every semester at DVC with the potential for an advanced class to be offered in the future for more ambitious students.