AAAI Publications, Fifth AAAI Symposium on Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence

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DOROTHY: Enhancing Bidirectional Communication between a 3D Programming Interface and Mobile Robots
Emilie Featherston, Mohan Sridharan, Susan Urban, Joseph Urban

Last modified: 2014-06-21


Dorothy is an integrated 3D/robotics educational tool created by augmenting the Alice programming environment for teaching core computing skills to students without prior programming experience. The tool provides a drag and drop interface to create graphical routines in virtual worlds; these routines are automatically translated into code to provide a real-time or offline enactment on mobile robots in the real world. This paper summarizes the key capabilities of Dorothy, and describes the contributions made to: (a) enhance the bidirectional communication between the virtual interface and robots; and (b) support multirobot collaboration. Specifically, we describe the ability to automatically revise the virtual world based on sensor data obtained from robots, creating or deleting objects in the virtual world based on their observed presence or absence in the real world. Furthermore, we describe the use of visually observed behavior of teammates for collaboration between robots when they cannot communicate with each other. Dorothy thus helps illustrate sophisticated algorithms for fundamental challenges in robotics and AI to teach advanced computing concepts, and to emphasize the importance of computing in real world applications, to beginning programmers.


Educational tool; Robotics; Artificial intelligence; Computational thinking

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