Today project-based learning plays a crucial role in the education of undergraduate and graduate students. Project-based learning not only develops technical skills but enhances various executional and managerial skills which are essential for successfully achieving the aim of these projects. Projects not only reinforce the involvement of the students but also provide them an opportunity to interact with the environment around them to learn and apply their wisdom. Project-based competitions, like National RoboCon, where teams from all over the country participate, where a project is judged by the entire nation, demands highly durable, innovative and robust design. The design should be interactive so that everyone can value its functionality. Hence, more human friendly designs are encouraged which opens various opportunities for its application among humans. Still a lot of enhancement in the design and optimization of the robots are done as a part of the institute projects. Students are motivated to theoretically study the design and prepare design reports including CAD drawings, circuit diagrams, part specifications etc. essential for the continuous development of the projects.
Every year since 2003, a team of 20 – 25 undergraduate students from the Indian Institute of Technology have participated in the annually held RoboCon competition organized by the Asian Broadcasting Union (ABU). Each year, a completely different problem statement is posed by the hosting countries and each team prepares robots on their own to solve it. Eighty to ninety teams from all over India participate to win the national title and represents India in the International RoboCon. With such a high number of teams participating, the challenge of designing the most reliable robot requires the implementation of industrial grade materials within the restricted budget frame. This requires students to interact efficiently with various existing industries in order to develop products at cheaper price.
Through the last 13 years it has always been endeavored to enhance and optimize the robot design by involving students in academic projects. Academic projects play an important role in correlating theoretical knowledge with the practical. Effects of variable parameters on the robot are studied and conclusions are drawn. The designs are refined and modified to suit industrial and other practical applications with proper analysis of potential enhancement and changes required. Module formation also takes place for future reference. One such project developed by the IIT Delhi students is RoboMuse, a line-following industrial robot capable of handling few kilos of load which was made as part of Robocon-2008.