6.186 | January IAP 2005 | Undergraduate

Mobile Autonomous Systems Laboratory


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 15 sessions for 4 weeks, 2 hours / session

Course Policies

Course Credit

MASLab is a for-credit course with 6 units of P/F and 6 engineering design points. Only passing teams with passing members will be allowed to keep their equipment (except for the computer). There are a number of requirements to receive a passing grade, including:

  • Adequate effort and time invested in MASLab
  • Attend mandatory meetings/events (see calendar)
  • Majority of work in lab
  • Completion of “checkpoints
  • Make daily lab entries (few sentences minimum)
  • Submit final report (5-10 pages per team)
  • Help tidy workshop on your team’s turn
  • Help final cleanup on lab cleanup day

These requirements are not intended to be an undue burden, but rather to ensure a quality educational experience and that your work is preserved for use by future students.

Damaged Equipment/Tools

MASLab uses a lot of expensive hardware, and cannot absorb the cost of replacing equipment that is broken. To encourage students to exercise care in their use of the equipment, including both general-use tools and kit contents, students will be expected to pay for replacements. The staff knows that accidents happen, and consequently MASLab will, at the staff’s discretion, split the cost of a first replacement part with the team.

Please note that you are responsible for keeping your valuables safe at all times. MASLab parts are expensive. The staff does not take responsibility for stolen parts, and teams will be fined sensor points if a staff member discovers parts unattended.


Collaboration, with citation when appropriate, is highly encouraged.

Mentors And Checkoffs

Over the course, we’ll be looking for the following milestones from you:

  • Activity: orcpad hello world
  • Activity: sensor edge or bump detection
  • Activity: feature detection
  • Checkpoint One: find red ball and indicate on the bot client
  • Design Review
  • Checkpoint Two: score a point
  • Participation in mock contest one
  • Participation in mock contest two
  • Participation in final contest
  • Daily wiki entries
  • Final paper
  • Lab clean-up

Any staff member can check off/witness you for these milestones, and we’re all here to help. However, each team also has a staff member as their mentor. A mentor’s job is to keep up with their teams’ progress, help answer questions, and make sure teams don’t fall behind.

Daily Wiki Guidelines

Write a few sentences about what your team did – problems encountered, tasks accomplished, lessons learned – and/or plans for the next day(s). You don’t need to write a lot, but take some time to reflect as a team on your day. If you have specific problems or suggestions for the staff, you may include them in your journal, but please also tell/email the staff as well so we can address the issue.

Lab Cleanup Schedule

Teams will take turns to clean up lab at the end of the day (putting tools away, throwing away trash). Everyone should keep their lab area clean, so this should be a quick job. Teams may switch clean up days (just let the staff know). Not helping to clean up on your team’s day may result in loss of sensor points and/or failure from the course.

Here’s the general list of tasks for clean up (talk to staff for more specifics):

  • Look around lab and return tools to the workshop
  • Put tools around the workshop in their proper places (especially return drill bits to holders)
  • Put hand drills, all drill bits and containers of nuts and bolts on the cart in the back of lab
  • Dust off / vacuum workshop tables
  • Sweep floor
  • Unplug scroll saw and drill press and put the orange boxes around the cord plugs, with locks