Lego Robotics Workshop

Dr Gabor Csanyi

See this course profiled on the PKP blog!

LegoThe way humans live their daily lives changed dramatically during the industrial revolution: automation and streamlining processes allowed the average living standard to rise to a level never imagined before. Today we are living through a similar technological revolution, but this time around the automation and streamlining is all about intangible information. Living standards continue to rise, and even basic programming and engineering skills can be utilised to increase productivity and efficiency in every part of life, helping us to do our jobs significantly better and faster.

This intensive practical course revolves around technical problem solving, engineering and programming using Lego Mindstorms sets. Students will design, build, and program autonomous robotic systems to perform tasks such as measuring the gravitational constant or constructing a time piece. Students will encounter and acquire an understanding of all aspects of such an architectural challenge, including research, design, hardware construction and software implementation.

After some carefully selected introductory problems, teams of two students will move on to design and build their own constructions. In order to facilitate creative thinking and free exploration, teams will choose their projects freely, without constraints, under advisement. Teams will work continuously throughout the duration of the course, with scheduling and planning at their own discretion, while receiving guidance and help from the instructors during the timetabled sessions. The course will culminate in a series of presentations, where teams will have a chance to demonstrate the fruits of their newly acquired skills and share their experiences.

Students will be able to understand and practice engineering and programming concepts under the continuing guidance of Dr. Gabor Csanyi of the Engineering Laboratory of the University.

This course is aimed at: Students with both technical and non-technical backgrounds who have a strong interest in construction, engineering, programming, problem solving, logical and creative thinking, and playing games.

Pre-requisite knowledge required: The course has no pre-requisite requirements beyond an interest in technical problem solving and creative thinking.

Transferable knowledge and skills: You will develop technical problem solving skills dealing with both hardware and software. You will learn how to plan, construct and analyse mechanical structures and computer programs, how to communicate effectively and realise designs as part of a team, and develop analytical skills that will be valuable in many walks of life.

Teaching Methodology: This course allows teams of students to fully exploit their creative thinking through work in a free, unconstrained manner. Students will be able to understand and practise engineering and programming concepts under the continuing guidance of Cambridge scholar Dr. Gabor Csanyi who has had first-hand experience in both teaching and practising such engineering and programming skills.


50% Project Report

50% Final Presentation

Contact hours:

The number of contact hours is c.25; it is a mixture of lectures (c.5 in the first week of the course), hands-on help with design, programming, and lego mechanics in the lab (which is staffed at least one hour every day), and then a demo at the end of the course. There is no assigned reading. The first week is lectures, plus familiarisation with the kit, the second and third week is designing, building and programming the robot. The lab space is open 24/7, and students have access and come and go as they wish. Most students spend several hours/day in the lab every day working on their robot.