ROAM Module Teacher’s Introduction Rochester Institute of Technology 8/10/2012 ROAM Teacher’s Introduction When looking at the current engineering community, there is a great shift moving away from the traditional methods of system actuation. More and more, companies are no longer looking towards the often synthetic, man-made designs to accomplish a goal, but rather at nature, which for the past millennia has been, in it's own way, designing through iteration some of the best structures, meta materials and control systems that have ever existed. These example range from the energy collection parameters of a typical leaf, to the bacteria resistant scale structure of a shark and even the feet of the gecko, whose utilization of inter- molecular properties allow it to scale essentially any surface. The Rochester Institute of Technology Open Air Muscle Project, or ROAM, was developed during the summer of 2012 through the Rochester Institute of Technology's Summer Undergraduate Research Program. This curriculum utilizes past experiences and the successes of other bio-engineering curriculums to create a self- sufficient curriculum on McKibben Air Muscles, non-electromechanic actuators that simulate human muscle cheaply and effectively in a wide array of environments, or a curriculum which can be integrated into other engineering and robotics programs. The goal of this project is to create an Open-Sourced curriculum that will be hosted through RIT, but open for further modification and use by teachers throughout the world. Components seen in this project are open for manufacture with citation and can be fabricated in a variety of ways or have their materials substituted out based on situation, time, funding, etc. This complete curriculum contains: Modules 1-4 (Each a self-sufficient section dealing with some aspect of bio-mimicry and McKibben Air Muscles) Advanced Modules A-C of information that everyone from students to administrators may be interested in, such as ordering information, further applications of air muscles and troubleshooting methods Designs for Fabrication of: o A fully independent Hand and Forearm Demonstrator Unit o A fully independent Arm and Shoulder Demonstrator Unit o Designs for a Universal Control Box capable of handling one of the demonstrator units Software for a variety of Programmable Logic Controllers such that a Universal Control Box Is not needed and the program can be ran without one. Designs and Software of relevant control systems, such as Sensor Gloves It is intended that the Rochester institute of Technology has materials on hand and can be delivered for local curriculum access, but individuals further away may order parts to be made and shipped to them for their own individual use or fabricate their own based on the designs in this curriculum. This curriculum is designed to be used on a variety of participants/students, ranging from a suggested age of seven/grade 2 to seniority. The curriculums are designed to be a starting point, where it will be up to the teacher of the group to modify as needed, but all curriculums feature the same kind of flexibility. Before every major instructional module, there is a lengthy introduction that is suggested reading for all teachers that will not only give you insight into all issues and concepts that will be explained to students through that module, but also allow you to answer questions or upgrade the instructional level of the curriculum This curriculum is designed so that the modules can function independently of the other and based on the make-up of your class, the size and the time requirements, you can pick and choose what modules to implement and use. Suggested Tracks are below ROAM Module Teacher’s Introduction Rochester Institute of Technology 8/10/2012 Track 0: Micro Class Time Requirement: 15 Group Size: 5-15 Itinerary and Comments: Module 1-Bio Mimicry-Condensed Module 2-Air Muscle Assembly-Full This is the simplest variant of this curriculum designed to be done very cheaply and quickly. Give students a brief, 3 minute introduction to the concept of biomimicry, talk about the uses and design of air muscles and let them build simple air muscles. Use zip ties in this variant so that cycle time only involves clipping off the zip ties and replacing them at the end of the course. Play around with how mnay topics you discus to get the right amount of time to elapse. Track 1: Introductory Only Time Requirement: 15-30 Minutes Group Size: 5-25 Participants Itinerary and Comments: Module 2-Air Muscle Assembly Module 4-With demonstrator units pre-assembled and able for students just to slide their air muscles directly into the assembly. Allow, depending on size, for students to control the assemblies, or let the systems run through a pre-done program of your choosing. This is designed for maximum in and out education, with little focus on the in-depth aspects of bio-mimicry. Imagine if you have a group coming in really quick and then heading out, unable to carry much or just expressing a fleeting interest in bio-mimicry, this track is perfect for this. Students come in, learn about air muscles, see a few of them in action and then make their own, fitting it into a demonstrator unit. They don't have much context, but seeing it, understanding it, building it and then seeing it in action is a fairly substantial and creates nice connections. Be wary of: time constraints and time limits. You may want to call things short to prevent participants from getting way to excited and difficult to control Track 2: Standard Class Time Requirement: 30-90 Minutes Group Size: 5-15 Participants Itinerary and Comments: Module 1-Bio-Mimicry Introduction Module 2-Air Muscle Assembly Module 4 -End of Class Exercises with pre-assembled demonstrator units, or open it up so that students can take part in the other end of class activities. Try the activity to assemble their own hand out of regular materials, legos, etc. Also, allow them to control the robotic elements of the demonstrator either through the control computer or possible sensor glove. This is designed to get kids really involved, which is important for this time length, and rely on teaching a good foundation later when they've tried something out, expressed interest and decided to come back. This would be great for a quick seminar for younger or older students as well as administrators and faculty/staff who are interested in the program, and want a functional rather than a technical knowledge Track 3: Full Morning Time Requirement:90-180 Minutes Group Size: 5-10 Participants Itinerary and Comments: ROAM Module Teacher’s Introduction Rochester Institute of Technology 8/10/2012 Module 1-Bio-Mimicry Introduction Module 2-Air Muscle Assembly Module 3-Control System Module 4 -End of Class Exercises, you choice od designs and experiments. Try letting participants start out making their own robot hands and equipment and then allow them to assemble the demonstrator units, which only requires a little tooling. That way, they get a good deal of education on bio mimicry and how the controls work, and then get to apply it in generating their own demonstrators and systems. Consequently, it will create a nice situation where there is education, analysis and then application, essential requirements for any good program of education. Use the break if you have one to create a nice divide between the assembly of the air muscles and the actual projects and end of class exercises. This track is designed to be rather comprehensive look at and application of bio mimicry. It requires the most supplies and time commitments of all the previous tracks but is deigned to fill up an entire morning with rather structured, and very usable activities. What is generated is a program that has a very natural end and beginning, with decent pacing throughout. This is what this was designed for and excels at this kind of time and resource commitment. Track 4: Full Class/Full Day Time Requirement: 180-360 Minutes Group Size: 5-10 Itinerary and Comments Module 1-Bio-Mimicry Introduction Module 2-Air Muscle Assembly Module 3-Control System Module 4 -End of Class Exercises, you choice od designs and experiments. Try letting participants start out making their own robot hands and equipment and then allow them to assemble the demonstrator units, which only requires a little tooling. That way, they get a good deal of education on bio mimicry and how the controls work, and then get to apply it in generating their own demonstrators and systems. Furthermore, let them become really excited and create a competition, where each team is given a control system and they have their five muscles and ask them to accomplish some task. Keep the competition light and friendly, but allow the to have fun and be creative. Authorize the use of things like Lego mindstorms to allow them to play around and design their own solutions to problems. More information is outlined in the Module 4-End of Class Exercises Section. Consequently, it will create a nice situation where there is education, analysis and then application, essential requirements for any good program of education. Use the breaks if you have one to create a nice divide between the assembly of the air muscles, projects and competitions. This track is by far the most intensive, combining the comprehensive look of air muscles and bio mimicry with competitive spirit and exploration. This to requires a similar amount and kind of supplies to allow students to explore a variety of concepts and components on their own time through competition and exploration with end of class activities. Track 5: Integration into Pre-Existing Robotics/Engineering Curriculum If you already have a pre-existing engineering curriculum I would recommend to integrate this later in the week after the concepts of the control system are discussed and students have plenty of time to internalize the concepts. For example if you are managing a week long course, I would recommend doing this curriculum on a Thursday or Friday morning to allow students to explore the concept. In that instance, I would just do Air Muscle assembly and control systems and then directly into your analogous end of class exercises where students can integrate what they know to complete a task. I would recommend, as I outlined in Module 4, a situation where students combine legos, robotics and mindstorm together and make ROAM Module Teacher’s Introduction Rochester Institute of Technology 8/10/2012 a robot that will drive autonomously to a position with a tether and then use an air muscle system to grasp and item and bring it back. ROAM Module Teacher’s Introduction Rochester Institute of Technology 8/10/2012 Acknowledgements Our thanks go out to the previous educators and individuals who developed their own Air Muscle curriculums and gave us insight and guidance as to how to generate our own, guided, defined one. Further thanks goes to the faculty, administrators and students of Rochester Institute of Technology who over the past decade has allowed, supported and maintained constant research and discovery into the application of McKibben Air Muscles through thesis papers, senior design projects and general research. Notably, it was the work of Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard who helped maintain this research.
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