Boy Scout Robotics Merit Badge

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Boy Scout Robotics Merit Badge

Earning the Robotics merit badge requires a Scout to understand how robots move (actuators), sense the environment (sensors), and understand what to do (programming); he should demonstrate robot design in building a robot.

Website: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-ROBO.aspx
Members: 5
Latest Activity: Nov 17, 2011

Robotics

 


Robotics
BSA Supply No. 35972

Earning the Robotics merit badge requires a Scout to understand how robots move (actuators), sense the environment (sensors), and understand what to do (programming); he should demonstrate robot design in building a robot. You should help ensure that the Scout has sufficiently explored the field of robotics to understand what it is about, and to discover whether this may be a field of interest for him as a career.

Requirements

  1. Safety. Do each of the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while working with robots and what you should do to anticipate, mitigate and prevent, and respond to these hazards. Describe the appropriate safety gear and clothing that should be used when working with robotics.
    2. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries that could occur while participating in robotics activities and competitions, including cuts, eye injuries, and burns (chemical or heat).
  2. Robotics industry. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    1. The kinds of things robots can do and how robots are best used today.
    2. The similarities and differences between remote-control vehicles, telerobots, and autonomous robots.
    3. Three different methods robots can use to move themselves other than wheels or tracks. Describe when it would be appropriate to use each method.
  3. General knowledge. Discuss with your counselor three of the five major fields of robotics (human-robot interface, mobility, manipulation, programming, sensors) and their importance to robotics development. Discuss either the three fields as they relate to a single robot system OR talk about each field in general. Find pictures or at least one video to aid your discussion.

  4. Design, build, program, test. Do each of the following:
    1. With your counselor’s approval, choose a task for the robot or robotic subsystem that you plan to build. Include sensor feedback and programming in the task. Document this information in your robot engineering notebook.
    2. Design your robot. The robot design should use sensors and programming and have at least 2 degrees of freedom. Document the design in your robot engineering notebook using drawings and a written description.
    3. Build a robot or robotic subsystem of your original design to accomplish the task you chose for requirement 4a.
    4. Discuss with your counselor the programming options available for your robot. Then do either option 1 OR option 2.
      1. Option 1. Program your robot to perform the task you chose for your robot in 4a. Include a sample of your program’s source code in your robot engineering notebook.
      2. Option 2. Prepare a flowchart of the desired steps to program your robot for accomplishing the task in 4a. Include procedures that show activities based on sensor inputs. Place this in your robot engineering notebook.
      3. Test your robot and record the results in your robot engineering notebook. Include suggestions on how you could improve your robot, as well as pictures or sketches of your finished robot.
  5. Demonstrate. Do the following:
    1. Demonstrate for your counselor the robot you built in requirement 4.
    2. Share your robot engineering notebook with your counselor. Talk about how well your robot accomplished the task, the improvements you would make in your next design, and what you learned about the design process.
  6. Competitions. Do ONE of the following.
    1. Attend a robotics competition and report to your counselor what you saw and learned about the competition and how teams are organized and managed.
    2. Learn about three youth robotics competitions. Tell your counselor about these, including the type of competition, time commitment, age of the participants, and how many teams are involved.
  7. Careers. Name three career opportunities in robotics. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

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Comment Wall

Comment by eric gregori on August 16, 2011 at 10:43pm

I thought I would chime in here since I was a part of the team that created the Robotics Merit Badge and pamphlet (book).

 

Several people from industry and academia were invited to help create the requirements and book starting in April 2010.  Some people took a very active role (i.e. Ken Berry, Rick Folea, Laslo Hideg, Richard Tyler).  I helped with the requirements but was short on time for helping with the book.

 

The was MUCH discussion on the level of expertise needed to complete the MB.  Initially it looked like a college course, but was scaled back tremendously as discussion ensued.  The biggest area of discussion was programming:  ½ of the committee wanted programming to be a requirement, ½ though just knowledge of programming was good enough.  The second largest discussion was kits and building.  In the end, everything was a compromise, and the results are what you see in the pamphlet.  I’m sure the requirements and book will be reassessed in about 2 years.  Don’t forget your audience is MOSTLY 11 through 15 year-olds boys (there are fewer scouts between 15 and 18).

 

The Merit Badge was first offered nationally on 4/12/2011.  I first offered a Merit Badge “camp” on 5/6 and 5/7; I did another one on 7/20 and 7/23.  Each of them had about 10 scouts and took 9.0 hours.  95% of the scouts finished the merit badge (the lone scout who did not finish missed one of the workshop days – 2 hours).  This also matches with the statistics that Richard Tyler found in his camps.  I had all ages (11 to 16 year-olds).  The motivated 11-year old ran rings around the slightly aloof 16-year old.  I found, overall, that a boy should generally be at least 13-years old.

 

I used LEGO Mindstorms kits that our department has for the camps/workshops.  Before they attend, scouts must read the MB pamphlet.  On the first day of the camp I give a proficiency exam on the MB pamphlet materials (its amazing when they can pick up if the actually READ the pamphlet).  I then go over the basics of robotics, concepts of the engineering notebook, and have them start the design.  Their homework is to complete the design and look up information for the requirements.  On the build day they spend a Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm building and testing their robot and talking with me about requirements. 

 

Who can be a MB counselor?  Most people in Chibot can be – I think most have the background to serve.  Talk to your local councils to find out how sign up.

 

What can Chibots do?  This is one area of outreach that has a beginning and end, with a recognizable structure and format.  Some commented that the book has errors, but it is an amazingly complete overview of robotics.  Can Chibots buy some LEGO or VEX kits and run workshops on demand?

 

Sorry, I am in NC so I cannot help you with workshops, but if you have further questions feel free to contact me.

 

Jim

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James M. Conrad, PhD, PE, PMP, Associate Department Chair and Associate Professor

Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, jmconrad@uncc.edu

UNC-Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC  28223

URL:  http://www.coe.uncc.edu/~jmconrad

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Comment by eric gregori on August 16, 2011 at 10:45pm

Other robotics camp insight his summer at UNC Charlotte:

6-8th graders: Weeklong camp, 6 hours a day, 18 kids (boys and girls), they were able to use LEGO Mindstorms and the graphical programming interface well (which has the LabVIEW engine behind it). They did line following, "sumo bots", and maze traveling.

9-10th graders: Weeklong camp, 6 hours a day, 18 kids (boys and girls), they were able to use LEGO Mindstorms and the graphical programming interface well (which has the LabVIEW engine behind it). They also then moved to LabVIEW to control the Mindstorm robots (there is a LabVIEW plug-in to program the NXT brick), most did well. They did line following, "sumo bots", and maze traveling using both. Some kids were able to use a special C language to program the NXT brick, but not all students could do this.

11-12th graders: 1/2 week camp, 15 hour total, 16 kids (boys and girls), they were able to use LEGO Mindstorms and the graphical programming interface well (which has the LabVIEW engine behind it). They also then moved to LabVIEW to control the Mindstorm robots (there is a LabVIEW plug-in to program the NXT brick), all did well. They did line following, "sumo bots", and maze traveling using both. Some kids were able to use a special C language to program the NXT brick. We also build underwater ROVs from kits provided by MATE.

We were going to use the rugged National Instruments DaNI 1.1 vehicle, but the programming/downloading was too difficult and buggy. The new DaNI 2.0 platform is much better, so we will see how these work next summer.


----------------------------------------------------------
James M. Conrad, PhD, PE, PMP, Associate Department Chair and Associate Professor
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, jmconrad@uncc.edu
UNC-Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28223
URL: http://www.coe.uncc.edu/~jmconrad
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Comment by Tim Lines on November 17, 2011 at 1:21pm

I am very excited about this merit badge! Unfortunately, It wasn't available when I was in boy scouts

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