Stimulating the Next Generation of NASA Engineers: Teaching and Learning Robotics in the Freshman Year

PI: Robert Maher, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Montana State University
Co-I:  Robert Gunderson, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Montana State University

New college students in Montana are commonly unaware of the educational and career opportunities in aerospace science and engineering, yet they often express a fascination with the U.S. space program and space exploration.  We propose to inspire their aerospace interests by implementing a new curriculum for EE101, the required introductory course taught by the MSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, using a small mobile robot system as the teaching platform.  Each student enrolled in EE101 will receive a custom-designed robot kit, assemble and test it during the course, and use it as the means to understand basic electronics concepts.  The importance of autonomous robots to all future planetary exploration missions is more than obvious to our prospective students, so we believe this is an ideal area to exploit. 

Contact Information

Mail: Robert Maher
Electrical & Computer Engineering Department
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
Phone: (406) 994-7759

Montana Space Grant Home
Updated June 19, 2006