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Digital twin, embedded systems, online robotics education, simulation, virtual instructionDigital twin, embedded systems, online robotics education, simulation, virtual instruction


Background: The field of robotics continues to expand with new, progressive technologies. The vast ecosystem of robotics, with its countless routes, is initially challenging to navigate. It is even more so during a season of virtual instruction. Creating strategic entrance points for the incoming students merits consideration. Purpose: Our aim is to provide a way for students to explore three critical areas in robotics: the physical robot (hardware), the simulated robot (digital twin), and the operating system and code (controller).
Method: We explore options for integrating two advanced robot development frameworks (i.e. Robot Operating System 2 (ROS2) and Webots) in combination with the widely used beginners computing platform (i.e. Raspberry Pi) to facilitate introducing students to the field of robotics, while also providing them a path to advanced robot topics.
Results: Two configurations for integrating ROS2, Webots, and the Raspberry Pi are presented. The advantages and concerns for each are discussed, along with pointers for mitigating concerns.
Conclusion: The integration of these frameworks and platform, along with virtualizing the physical robot as a digital twin, opens a gateway for students to enter the field of robotics. We also envision our ideas supporting paths for improving online distance learning, developing robot networks, and reducing field testing time.






South Dakota State University


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2020. Posted with permission.