Students who have already taken A.P. physics or A.P. computer science may find that they are already familiar with many key concepts covered in this course and are encouraged to consider a different curricular option.
“The course really improved my critical and logical thinking ability, helping me a lot with my future passion in engineering.” - Zhang Z. | Beijing, China
Participants in this course develop a foundation in robotics covering design, programming, and version control. They design virtual robots using CAD software and programmed in ROBOTC, a C-based language. Design and code is tested using simulation software. Lectures on topics drawn from physics, engineering, and computer science are combined with group projects.
Lecture topics include kinematics, torque, motors, gear ratios, sensors, and control loop feedback mechanisms. In projects, students observe in a simulated environment, for example, that their virtual robots are not able to drive in a straight line without sensors. This leads to an exploration of gyroscopes and encoders so as to correct the problem and eventually to a lecture on PID control and a gentle introduction to the concept, from calculus, of integration.
In the final week of the course, the students form into teams and design virtual robots that compete against each other in a simulated environment to perform a task taken from a prior robotics competition.
Student computers can be either PC or Mac, but should have 8 to 10 GB of free space.
Michael Liebis holds a B.S. in applied mathematics from Columbia University and an M.S. in mathematics from Polytechnic University. He has done extensive graduate work in scientific computing with a focus on machine learning at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Michael currently coaches the FRC robotics team at the Chapin School, teaches AP computer science at Dwight Global, and serves as a consultant for an international school in Shanghai. Prior to teaching he worked in quantitative trading, heading up algorithmic trading groups at Chase Manhattan Bank and at Millennium Partners LLC.