As we embark on building our robot vacuum, it's important to know that the designing and testing of our simulated prototype is just one phase in a much broader engineering process.

This process is circular in nature, starting with a problem to be solved and ending with a prototype that hopefully solves the original problem without introducing too many new issues. 

New ideas for improvements to the design of the robot set the cycle to repeat, resulting in new questions being asked and new models being built.

STEP 1: Ask

  • "What are the problems to solve?"
  • "What are the constraints?"
  • How might a robot vacuum cleaner make peoples lives easier?
  • Who would benefit most from having access to such an invention?
  • What happens when the robot detects an object in front of it? What should it do?
  • How can we keep the robot from falling down stairs?

STEP 2: Imagine

  • Brainstorming phase
  • No idea is too wild.
  • How might we go about building this?
  • What sensors would our robot need to avoid obstacles?

STEP 3: Plan

  • Draw a diagram or build a 3D model using LEGO Digital Designer
  • Do we have enough physical bricks to build this?
  • How much time do we have to get this done?

STEP 4: Create

  • Follow the plan, build a prototype using the building guide in LEGO Digital Designer
  • Import your 3D model into the Virtual Robotics Toolkit
  • Test it out!

STEP 5: Improve

  • Did your design work as expected?
  • Discuss with team members how we can improve on this prototype
  • Repeat steps 1-5 to make changes