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Bomb Probot

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How are robots controlled? Do you think you can program a robot to move through a minefield? In this module, you'll first detect the patterns of mines that are spread out in a minefield. After you've discovered the pattern, it's up to you to program the robot so it can move safely through a similar minefield without stepping on a mine. Are you ready to blast off...make that, get started?

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Bomb Probot Brochure

Bomb Probot Brochure

What is a computer program?

A computer program provides a set of instructions for a specific task a person wants a computer to complete. A program tells the computer how to perform a task by giving specific instructions on what to do and when to do it. A program has two forms, one for the computer to read and one for people to read. The people readable program is called the "source code," while the computer readable part is called the "executable code." Just as people speak different languages, computer programs also communicate in a variety of languages, such as C, JavaScript, and Perl.

What is a flow chart?

A flow chart is a special kind of diagram that shows some type of process. Flow charts use boxes, diamonds, and arrows to show a step-by-step solution to a given problem. Flow charts are used to solve a variety of problems, which range from how to tell if your car battery is dead to how to program a supercomputer. A box indicates an activity, a diamond represents a decision, and an arrow points to the next step in the process. The following shows a simple flow chart for a non-working iPod.
Supplemental Background Figure

What is a minefield?

A minefield is an area of land that contains mines which are placed in a pattern. Minefields are intended to keep intruders who do not know the pattern from passing through the area. A minefield is a form of static defense that protects a given area. The mine placement pattern must be known by the people who originally planted the mines or else they would set off the mines when they moved through the field.

What is pattern recognition?

Pattern recognition is the art and science of finding reoccurring events or objects that are connected by some theme. A classic mathematical pattern is called the Fibonacci sequence. Can you tell which number will come next in the following pattern? 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13... If you said twenty-one, then you recognized the pattern. In the Fibonacci sequence, the two preceding numbers are added together to make the next number in the sequence. So 8 and 13 equals 21. Pattern recognition is involved in a number of seemingly unrelated fields, from the geology of crystals to the compression of digital images using a .jpg format.


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