Comp 060 (old # 006): Robotics with Legos

UNC Chapel Hill        Spring 2007


Henry Fuchs  209 Sitterson Hall, 962-1911

fuchs “at”

Pager:  hfpager “at”   or  216-1695

Teaching Assistants

Ben Jacobs ( jacobsb “at” ),  Chris Barefoot (    ), and Zack Sheffied (   )

Class Times  (Room 011 Sitterson Hall)

The scheduled class times are Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM. We will almost always meet only on Tuesdays. The Thursday period may be used a few times for tutorials that are not required for everyone.  In place of the Thursday class, each student will have a two-hour lab once per week.

Lab Times  (Room 027 Sitterson Hall)

You will be assigned to one of two weekly lab sessions.  We will establish the lab times after we gather everyone’s weekly schedules the first day of class. You will be each given an entire Lego NXT kit to keep with you during the entire semester.  With this kit and your laptop, you’ll be able to do all your homework assignments anywhere.   You’ll bring the kit and your laptop to the lab each week to work out any difficulties you’re having and to demonstrate your homework results to the lab assistants


1.    Learn the basics of computers, sensors, and actuators.

2.    Examine the meaning of intelligence and learning as applied to humans, animals, and machines.

3.    Improve communication skills through writing and presentations.



During the second half of the semester, teams of two students will research a topic of special interest and deliver a presentation to the class. Possible subjects include:


a. Intelligence and learning in simple organisms (snails for example).

b. Machine learning (including neural networks)

c. Turing test for intelligence.

d. ELIZA and other programs that appear intelligent.

e. Chess playing computers as artificial intelligence.

f.   Robots as toys, and companions.

g. Robots as tools.

h. Robots in space.

i.   Robots in popular culture.

j.   Human intelligence, how it is measured, what it means.

k. Ethical and cultural implications of artificial intelligence.

l.   Artificial and natural senses.



Your grade will be based on the labs and lab reports (approximately 30%), the contests- around midterm and final (20%), your presentation (20%), class participation and helpfulness (30%).  These percentages may evolve as the semester progresses.


Honor Code


The Honor Code is in effect in this class as in all others at the University. I am committed to treating Honor Code violations seriously and urge all students to become familiar with its terms.


I encourage you all to help one another in this class. Some have not had any previous programming experience, others have. You will be rewarded for helping your classmates. I will survey the class near the end of the semester asking each of you to name the members of the class who were most helpful to you. The helpful people will get extra credit.

So, how can you help or be helped without violating the honor code? First, do not copy or allow others to copy programs or assignments; each person's work should be his/her own. But one person can explain to another how they solved a particular problem. Second, give credit where it is due. If you discover a solution on the web, include the URL. If someone in the class shows you how to solve a problem, say so. A statement like Joe Goodguy helped me on this assignment by showing me how to ... will be sufficient.  When in doubt, mention it in your lab report.



This material was initially developed by Professor Gary Bishop for the Fall 2003 offering of this freshman seminar.