Simple Robotics Fall 2016

A test page for Ethan Danahy's Simple Robotics course.


Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160907.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160909.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160912.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160914.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160916.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160919.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160921.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160923.pdf
Simple Robotics Activity - 20160923.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160926.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20160928.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161003.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161005.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161007.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161012.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161014.pdf
Simple Robotics 2016 - Project 05 Halloween Robot.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161021.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161024.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161026.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161028.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161102.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161104.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161114.pdf
Simple Robotics Lecture - 20161121.pdf


Welcome to EN-1­06, Simple Robotics, for Fall 2016 within the Tufts University School of Engineering. This course is an Introduction to Engineering for first­-year students.

Class Description: Introduction to robot construction, programming, computer vision, event based programming, artificial intelligence, and elementary controls. Basic principles of robotics for students with minimal or no prior programming/building background. In­-class competition­-based laboratories and hands­-on group projects using the LEGO MINDSTORMS platform.

Instructor: Professor Ethan Danahy (

Teaching Assistants:

  • Jason Iskenderian (
    • Jason Iskenderian is a sophomore at Tufts University. He is studying Computer Engineering as well as exploring history as a potential minor, particularly with a focus on the Byzantine empire and the surrounding regions. Jason’s interests are mainly in computer systems and robotics. During the year Jason participates in robotics club, building various different robots to conquer challenges. Last year’s challenge was to build a robot that could navigate a maze, to identify and put out a fire.
  • Winnie (Zheng) Lin (
    • Winnie Lin is a sophomore at Tufts University who has recently declared Computer Engineer as her major. She enjoys exploring new technology and is currently working on her own independent CS project. This past summer she studied the Python programming language and explored different text editors to find one that is the most compatible with her when coding, and works best on both the Windows and Mac platforms, since she tends to switch between the two frequently.

Course Website:​ follow link from Trunk ( to our custom course website

Class Times: Mon & Wed 3:00pm to 4:15pm at 26 Winthrop St, Room 113
Lab Session (required): Friday 3:00pm to 4:15pm 26 Winthrop St, Room 113
Office Hours: Sundays in the Mayer Campus Center Room 219 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Wednesday, September 7th: First Day of Class
Monday, October 31st: Halloween (Haunted House)
Mid­-Semester (TBD): Midterm Exam
Monday, December 12th: Final Project Showcase
Tuesday, December 20th: Clean Up Party (during Exam Block, 12pm to 2pm)

The general schedule for class sessions will be (1) project presentations on Monday, (2) new
content on Wednesdays, (3) refining skills on Fridays. Outside of class you will be expected to:

  • Watch online video tutorials on hardware, software, etc. (course content)
  • Meet with your project group to design and implement solutions to weekly projects
  • Document your project using text, pictures, video, etc. and upload to course website

It is expected that for this course, including the in­-person/in­-class sessions, each student will
spend an average of 10­-hours per week to complete these tasks. If you are significantly
above or below that amount, then please meet with the instructor to discuss.


Weekly Projects: 40% (x7 total, 5% each, with one counting double)
Final Project: 30%
Midterm Exam: 20%
Peer­grading: 10%
Total: 100%
Midterm Exam: ​A written exam will be taken closed­-book/closed­-notes individually in class.


The course consists of multiple group projects throughout the semester, culminating with a larger final project (and showcase). Projects may include other milestone deliverables to complete such as sub­-projects, prototypes, etc.

Range of topics covered/discussed:

As an Introduction to Engineering, many different topics will be covered (at various levels):

  • Engineering: Engineering Design Process, fields of engineering, engineering education roadmap, engineering ethics
  • Mechanics: Structural integrity, gears/gear ratios, control theory
  • Electronics: Sensors, motors, computer architecture, communication protocols
  • Computer Science: Program flow/run time, programming mathematical formulas, order of operations, functions, variables, data types/structures, loops, parallel processing
  • Additionally, there will also be a focus on: creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, communication, and presentations.

Textbook: ​There is no textbook associated with this class, but rather most of the course content will be delivered through online videos you’ll need to watch (links to YouTube videos will be posted on course website) on your own prior to arriving to class.

Robotics Toolset: ​For the hands-­on projects, we will be using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics kit (which will be on loan to you from Tufts, and must be returned in original shape at the end of the course). When assignments are given, details as to other acceptable materials (e.g. to supplement this kit) will be specified. You will be required to find any additional resources not explicitly provided by the instructor.

Programming Software: We’ll be using the LabVIEW Student Edition 2015 graphical programming environment from National Instruments (price for students via Studica: $20), which is available for both Windows and Mac OSX. You will need to purchase, download, and install this software. Additionally, you will need to install the appropriate (free) MINDSTORMS Module from National Instruments to enable the software to work with the provided hardware. Detailed instructions on all these processes will be posted to the course website.

Other Resources: For coordinating the class, we’ll be using several additional free web-­based technologies (details to be provided by instructor). You will also be required to document your projects through pictures and movies (thus, your group will need technology required to take/capture and edit both) uploaded to the course website.

Students with Disabilities: ​Tufts University values the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty; recognizing the important contribution each student makes to our unique community. Tufts is committed to providing equal access and support to all qualified students through the provision of reasonable accommodations so that each student may fully participate in the Tufts experience. If you have a disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Services office at or 617­-627-­4539 to make an appointment with an SAS representative to determine appropriate accommodations. Please be aware that accommodations cannot be enacted retroactively, making timeliness a critical aspect for their provision.