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Automation and Robotics

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Project Lead the Way
Gateway to Technology
Automation and Robotics

Idler gear made of VEX

Course Description:

In the Automation and Robotics (AR) unit, students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.

 Lesson 1
Automation and robotics include computer-controlled machines used to make manufacturing more efficient, productive, and safe. Robots are also used to assist people with disabilities in hospitals, to help with surgery, to deliver food, or to dispense medication. Robots are becoming popular household helpers, performing chores like vacuuming and mowing lawns. Students will research the different types of robotics and create a presentation.

 Lesson 2
What do a bicycle, an eggbeater, a sewing machine, a hand-cranked drill, and a workshop vice have in common? All of them use at least one mechanism to provide movement using human effort or electricity. If you take the devices apart, you will find a series of gears that redirect the applied force to accomplish a task. Gears come in all sizes, like small gear in mechanical watches or very large gear in cranes that raise large sections of a bridge.  In this lesson you will be introduced to several mechanisms that change speed, torque, force, type of movement, and direction of movement. Students will build mechanisms and discover how these are used.

Lesson 3
Automated systems are used for a variety of purposes, such as guiding tools and machines to manufacture parts. These systems use a computer program to function without human guidance. Some systems use devices to sense the environment to provide feedback to change the system behavior and some just execute the program regardless of the environment. In this lesson, you will have a better understanding of the components of a manufacturing system and the programming needed for these components to interact.