These page serve the purpose of documenting our final project for the Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class for Fall 2000 with Professor Todd Neller at Gettysburg College.
The project entailed solving a progressively difficult series of problems involving a very simple robotic system, the Lego® MindStorm™ Invention Kit 1.5 (Check out the link to Lego). The MindStorm system is a revolutionary product from Lego that allows robotics experimentation without paying the price. Priced at around two hundred dollars and available at any nearby toy-store, these "bots" can be programmed with a PC and has the capability to take inputs from various sensors in the form of light, pressure temperature or even vision. A program downloaded with the help of infra-red from your computer can then process this information and generate output to a number of motors that can drive wheels, arms or anything else you can imagine.
At the heart of the system is the RCX 1.0 programmable brick, an 8-bit Hitachi H8/3297 microcontroller with 16K of ROM, 512 bytes of SRAM (for firmware) and 32K of external SRAM for user code, inspired by the famed MIT programmable brick.
The program was coded in a specific language made for this robot named NQC. NQC's syntax is almost like C or Java. As a matter of fact, NQC stands for Not Quite C. Although the language contains only a subset of the capability of major programming languages, it suffices for programming our primitive robot.
The series of problems consisted of seven difficulty levels, beginning from designing a simple line follower to implementing a robot that can explore and determine the shortest path between any two given locations. Take a look at the official specification of the problem. We were assigned the first two of these problems and we successfully completed the first three in a span of four meetings.