I'm currently doing a short online course called Introduction to Robotics. Sorry but no pictures with this writeup but there are some links. I thought a write up might be of interest for those interested in doing some free online learning. Not sure if the current course is still taking enrolments but it might be a pointer to the next time it's run or finding other courses that have some use to a modder with an inquisitive mind.
I had been doing a little looking around for local options for adult education to try and get the brain back into the learning space a little and hoping to find some ways of improving my knowledge for some of my interests. A friend mentioned he was doing the course and I was enrolled within a day.
It's run by Brisbane's QUT but has students from all around the world. A 7 week program, it's free unless you start buying components to build a robot arm which can get expensive although there are options to use an Arduino, a stepper motor and an RC servo none of which need cost much..https://www.qut.edu.au/study/short-courses-and-professional-development/short-courses/introduction-to-robotics
It is run as a Mooc (which I'd not previously heard of) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course
- Audit the course but don't do any assessment
- Get better than 50 % overall in the assessments and get a certificate of completion
- But an optional robot arm to complete a nominated task and post a video online for discussion
I'm trying to both complete the assessments and build the robot arm but have been struggling enough with getting back into the maths that I'm not waving that flag to strongly right now. The course provides some tutorials on working with Lego Mindstorm kits to build a robot arm but also has a lot of students working with alternative mechanisms. I've gone with some smart little servo's I had not previously been aware of called Dynamixel's, mostly the AX-12's but I'm also playing with a couple with magnetic encoders to learn a little about them. I've got mine from http://www.tribotix.com
in Newcastle Australia.
An example of a kit robot arm using the AX-12's is http://www.trossenrobotics.com/p/PhantomX-Pincher-Robot-Arm.aspx
Some interesting options in these little servo's and I've been surprised at how much power the arm has.
There is a team working behind the scenes to support students, a bunch of forums and other materials aimed at providing support for students. I've had emails responded to at 10pm at night helping with an issue I was having.
In October a new course starts on robotic vision. I'm pondering auditing that one and doing a different course a little more work related that runs at the same time
I've also discovered along the way that there is a whole bunch of free education material available online. What I've seen does not generally lead to formal qualifications, it's great for helping come up to speed with a topic, doing revision etc.
One resource I've found very handy is Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org
as I've been trying to do some Matrix revision. A wide range of topics available with some quizs to test understanding of the short lesson's, a points scheme to hep as an incentive etc.
There are a number of lists around of free education eg http://blog.degreed.com/42-sources-for-free-online-courses/