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CSAS 3085 - Robotics and the Mind

Cross-listed with PSYC 3698 and CORE 3490 (Engaging the World)

I, RobotThis course explores the relation between Catholic theological reflection and scientific evidence on the question of what it means to be human. Are humans and animals mechanistic biological machines? What does it mean to have a soul? Are body and soul separate or are they one? Can mind/soul emerge in autonomous non-biological machines? These questions will be addressed from several disciplines including biology, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, philosophy, and theology. The theoretical discussion will be enhanced by physically constructing a variety of robots that deploy algorithmic and heuristic solutions to problems and that interact with their environment and with others. Despite the complexity of animals and humans, some seemingly complex behaviors can emerge from simple mechanistic processes. Using robots to help distinguish between what can and cannot be readily explained by simple processes will help us better define who we are in this age of rapidly expanding scientific knowledge.

Prerequisites: MATH 1202 or MATH 1401 or MATH 1501

Note: This web page contains only programming-related information and materials. For all other info, including syllabus, required reading, non-programming assignments and homework, and more, please visit Blacckboard.



Last task 2012: Battle Bots

General Information

  • Syllabus (see Blackboard)
  • Readings (see Blackboard)
  • Additional Info (see Blackboard)

Lectures and Resources

Robot Challenges

  1. Let's Play (music)
  2. Make a Pattern
  3. Self-driving Car
  4. Move like an Ant
  5. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
  6. RoboBattle
  7. Houdini, or "The Great Escape"


  1. Unpack & sort your robot kit
    Charge the EV3 brick
    Complete the 1st robot challenge
  2. Build your first robot
    Design fields and methods needed for 2nd challenge
  3. Attach the distance sensor to your robot. Follow the program outlined in the lecture (PP slides #5) to take one distance reading and show it on the screen each time the program runs.
  4. Create program for Avoider robot, including suggested modifications

Robot Teams

  1. Francisco Arocho, Malik Dye, and Brian Wreckler
  2. Joelle Arrante and Onyinyechukwu Okeke
  3. Tiffany Callanan, Kenneth E. Cherasia, and Isabell Klingert
  4. Luis Cerqueira and Darren Lesinski
  5. Zachary Darby and David T Rivella
  6. Dominick Defrenza, and Jonathan Roan
  7. Vincent Latorraca and John Stratoberdha
  8. Jessica Melnyczuk and Jenyffer Santiago
  9. Jamie Porteus and Gerard Rangel
  10. James Prumos and Sean Sullivan

Bert G. WachsmutBert G. Wachsmut
Last modified: 05/03/16
Archive: 2014-01 - 2009-03