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Applied Sciences Building overrun by robots

SPINDALE (Nov. 30, 2006) - The BOEbots are coming! The BOEbots are coming!

Setting up the botsA small group of computer-controlled robots took over the halls of the Applied Sciences Building at Isothermal Community College recently.

Fortunately, the automated invaders were part of a project for an Introduction to Microprocessors class.

bot closeupThe tiny robots - basically a palm-sized, wheeled chassis carrying a programmable microprocessor - slowly but surely followed one another down the hallway, thanks to infrared sensors mounted on the front of each one. The name, BOEbot, comes from the controlling processor board, dubbed the Board of Education by its manufacturer, Parrallax.

Instructor Charles Stutzman said the project initially called for the students to program the processors so the infrared sensors would steer the vehicle out of the path of obstacles.

“Once the students figured out how to set the boards for obstacle avoidance, we decided to program the sensors to also detect and follow certain objects,” he said.

A few changes to the programming and wiring resulted in a sensor that would cause the vehicle to avoid darkly colored objects while following lightly colored objects.

So, white index cards were mounted on the back of the machines, giving the sensors something to lock on to as the row of BOEbots rolled down the hall.

bots on the move“The Board of Education is a great way to get students to take the first step into the area of programmable logic controls,” said Stutzman.

“It’s a lot of fun, too,” said a student as he lined up the BOEbots for another run.

Registration for the Spring 2007 at Isothermal has already begun. Call the Admissions Office at 828-286-3636, ext. 288, for more information on attending Isothermal.


For more information, contact Mike Gavin, Isothermal’s public information officer, at 828-286-3636, ext. 206, or via e-mail at

Mike Gavin
public information officer
Isothermal Community College
828-286-3636, ext. 206

 © 2006 Isothermal Community College. All Rights Reserved.
Date Last Modified: 06/07/2010