Android learning from the comfort of an armchair
Maths. Robots. The Internet. If you are still reading, QUT’s newest online course may be right up your cyborg alley.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is launching the world's first massive open online course (MOOC) on robotics, designed for undergraduate engineers but suitable for anyone with a strong interest in the science of sci-fi.
QUT says its two MOOCs are the first ever developed for people with undergraduate STEM knowledge, and they are the first robotics and vision MOOCs ever offered globally.
"While the MOOCs might attract some high school STEM stars and skilled armchair roboticists, I expect most of the students will be undergraduates, perhaps studying engineering or computer science at a university that doesn't itself have a strong robotics program," said Professor Peter Corke, the course creator, world-renowned roboticist with QUT's Science and Engineering Faculty and the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.
"It could also be helpful for STEM professionals looking to expand their skill set - with big players like Google, Apple and Boeing pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into robotics and automation, it's an industry that'll be screaming for workers into the near future."
QUT's Introduction to Robotics course is designed to develop the fundamental mathematics and algorithm skills that underpin robotics, including representation of pose and motion, kinematics, dynamics and control. As an optional practical assignment, students with a LEGO Mindstorm kit will be able to build a simple robot arm and write the control software for it.
The Robotic Vision MOOC takes that knowledge a step further, introducing students to the evolving field of computer vision, learning how images are formed, and fundamental algorithms to process images in a computer to extract information such as the colour, size, shape and position of objects in the world . As an optional practical assignment students can build an intelligent vision system that can recognise objects of different colours and shapes.
"If students did the first course and built the robot, they can connect the vision system to the robot to create a robot that can respond to objects in its environment.
“Once upon a time we needed a lecture theatre and a lab full of hardware to teach robotics but in this digital age we don't always need that resource-intensive, bricks-and-mortar model to deliver a strong robotics course.
"These days we can teach mechatronics with LEGO kits at home rather than labs, and I find that a truly exciting prospect," Professor Corke said.
Trailers for the course can be viewed below.