DIY Robotics 1A: Create Your Own Robot

Do you think it is possible to make a robot from your own vacuum cleaner?


UCSD Extension logoThe learning outcomes associated with this class have been WASC-accredited by UCSD Extension College Exploration.

Learn how to take apart obsolete technology and turn the various pats into 3 different types of robots. DIY Robotics is a course for students to learn how to design, build, and modify electronic circuits, starting from the ground up. Topics include basics, transistors, and op-amps. Students will bring in obsolete electronics lying around the house or from thrift stores (we also have some old equipment in class for students to hack) and will reverse engineer the existing circuits to make their own modified version of the project.

Electronics - SouthEastSD Youth Summer Program

DIY Robotics Summer 2011 Students at work

Electronics - SouthEastSD Youth Summer Program

DIY Robotics Summer 2011 Students at work

Over the sessions of the course, you will learn about the theories and concepts of electricity and electronics, as well as the fundamentals of microprocessors. At the end of the course, you will have created your own mechanical, electrical, and kinetic sculpture, widget or invention (and learned about designing, engineering and electronics).

This course is designed for students with some or no electronics/programming experience.

see this couse in action

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[tab name=”Course Goals/Learning Objectives”]
The goal of this course is to provide a strong and creative foundation in electronics. This is a hands-on class with creative engineering at its core. The course will take you through observation, documentation, investigation, and research of given topics, as well as adding to what is given.

The class is geared to high school students, and it is useful if you have basic understanding of electricity and electronics (although this is not necessary; we will review necessary fundamentals of electricity and electronics in the beginning of the course). Some programming knowledge is also useful, since Arduino microprocessors might be needed using the Arduino language (available free at Again, this is not a necessary requirement, but only a recommendation, since the level of programming necessary for this course is basic and will be reviewed in the initial sessions.

[tab name=”Structure”]
This course is taught using classroom and lab instruction employing lecture/demonstration, in-class exercises, student participation, and class activities leading to a final project. Classes will include introductory concept presentations, followed by in-class exercises. The first couple of sessions will be more fundamental (general electricity, electronics, etc), but will subsequently expand to cover necessary knowledge for programming and component building. Throughout, there will also be handouts and brief presentations on relevant concepts.

[tab name=”Links”]
Find out more about the Arduino microprocessor at