This physics and engineering cornerstone course covers topics including science literacy, basic computer programming skills, micro-processing, and professional ethical standards. After completing the course, the student progresses toward proficiency in oral communication skills and the use of digital technology through assignments and projects relevant to the physicist and engineer. This course satisfies the First-Year Digital Technology (FYDT) and Oral Communication (FYOC) requirement of Eloquentia Perfecta.
The final project in this course involves the students programming a Micromouse robot to solve a maze identical to the Micromouse competition held at IEEE regional student activities conferences (SAC). A class competition is held and the winning team(s) represent the University of Scranton at the IEEE Region 2 SAC. This class competition has turned into an extraordinary experience for students.
Students use our department's Makerspace as their classroom in the ENGR/PHYS 150 course, which contains our micromouse maze.
The micromouse robots use a Raspberry Pi A+ for control along with a custom circuit board interfacing digital and analog distance sensors, DC motors, and digital encoders.
Students who win the foundations course Micromouse competition are invited to compete at the IEEE Region 2 SAC each spring as first year students.
The micromouse robot must solve a maze composed of a 256 unit squares by starting in a designated corner and traversing to the center four squares.
One popular algorithm used to solve the maze is called a "flooding" algorithm. The robot must keep track of where its been in the maze always trying to get closer to the "0" squares by randomly guessing its way through the maze.
First Year students in the course have done well at the SAC competitions, placing 1st, 2nd, and then 1st place in the Micromouse Kit competition over the years. This is the 1st place Micromouse Kit Team from the 2017 IEEE Region 2 SAC held at Rowan University.
Our robots have gone through many revisions over the past few years. One constant feature of every mouse is the communication system. Students communicate with the robot by connecting to a Wifi network unique to each robots Raspberry Pi A+.