Advanced Lectures on Architecture for Information Media Space

Katashi NAGAO Professor

Department: Graduate School of Information Science

Class Time: 2011 Fall Tuesday
Recommended for: Information science graduates

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Course Overview

In this course, we will learn about the hardware and software associated with media contents and robots. Using LEGO 'Mindstorms' robots, we'll also study robot mechanism (motors, sensors, etc,) and their programming.

Key Features

To promote active participation in this class, the course offers many opportunities for students to think for themselves, and put their ideas to practice.

To be more specific, the backbone of this course is the LEGO robot 'Mindstorms'. With 'Mindstorms', we can create a robot with three main components (sensors, motors, and a controller), and, through Java programming language create a program to actually move the robot. By assigning various tasks for the robot to perform, in addition to making the course itself a kind of contest, one can effectively reflect on what he or she has learnt, while also making evaluation of their achievements easier to understand.

In the lessons, only the simplest, most basic programs were already at the students' disposal. This provides plenty of chances in which students can put their newly learned programs to work, without referring to other materials. Programming the robot –entering the rules and commands that allow the robot to move on its own- is no special feat, requiring no more than some trial-and-error to acquire basic programming skills. Therefore, even after this course, the programs students have learned can be put to uses other than robots as well.

In this way, besides the ordinary skills for programming, students can also acquire specialized knowledge on the mechanism and programming of autonomous robots.

Students Accomplishments

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Course Characteristics

In this course, instructor and students together can evaluate their progress through the clear task of a 'robot contest'. Since the programming environment of this course uses a commonplace language (Java) and environment, students can use the skills attained in this course in their future research and careers.

Course Contents

  1. Practical studies using LEGO 'Mindstorms'
    Using actual objects for study will assist in improving students' skills as designers.
  2. Programming practice with Java language
    We aim to understand the basic definitions of the contents and their usage.
  3. Basics and practice of agents and robots
    We'll study the building methods and adaptations of autonomous systems, specifically the interaction between the physical environment, humans, and systems.

Course Requirements

The following conditions are needed to fully enjoy this class.

  • A basic knowledge of Java programming language
  • A notebook PC
  • An interest in robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • An experience with LEGO toys in childhood
  • A willingness to cooperate with others


Around 15 members


None specified

Related Resources

Sample programs


The following pages are linked to the World Wide Web and are not under the management of Nagoya University OCW. For further information, please contact each site.


Students are to file a paper on how they contributed to creating the group's robot.

Contents to be noted:

  • the structural characteristics of the robot
  • improvements made to the software
  • overall contribution of each member in the groupwork (note percentage as well)
  • comments regarding the course, questions, etc.

Course Schedule

Session Contents
1 Overall Introduction

Getting the Robot to Move

  • Movement of the robot
  • About LEGO 'Mindstorms'
  • Usage of sensors and robots
  • Programming using Java

Giving the Robot Tasks

  • Example of task: Move forward, then turn 180 degrees

Groupwork (1)

  • Getting used to 'Mindstorms' and programming

Groupwork (2)


Robots and Contents (1)

  • What contents can robots comprehend?

Robots and Contents (2)

  • XML programming

Groupwork (3)

  • Linking the robot to the network

Groupwork (4)

  • Programming the robot to move according to a map created in XML format
  • Discussion concerning the robot contest (contents, style, etc)

Robot-Human Interaction

  • Human-robot interface
  • Multimodiality
  • Conversation and action

Groupwork (5)

  • Preparation for the robot contest
  • Setting the contents and style of the contest
  • Checkup on the basic movements of the robot

Pre-contest Matchup

  • Contents and rules of the contest
  • Practice matches

Robot Contest

  • Tournament-style contest to decide the winning group


Grading will be based on the performance of the group (mainly the results of the robot contest) and the students' contribution to the groupwork.

  • Each group will be given points according to the results of the contest.
  • The contribution of each member to his/her group will be asessed (in %).
  • Students' score is the group score multiplied by personal contribution(%) (shown on a 0-100 scale).

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Lecture Handouts

Note: All files are in Japanese.

Projector documents

Session 1
Course Outline (PDF, 199KB)

Videos of lecture

Session 1
Lecture (Windows Media Video, 282100KB)

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Page last updated June 23, 2010

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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