The physics department supports the robotics minor by offereing special courses in robotics as well as supervising student projects.


Currently offered


ISCI101/104 [usually fall & spring] 4 credits  

[Only 101 taught by Dr. Giovanetti, lab and lecture are corequisite.]

This covers the standard general science requirements.  It also can serve as credit towards the robotics minor.  The lecture and laboratory portions are linked.  Along with the general science content, an introduction to robotics has been incorporated.  During the 104 laboratory a small robot is built by each student group.  The goal is is to introduce actuators and sensors and their control via an Arduino system.  Programming in C, feedback, sensors and control are touched upon during the course of the semester. 


Usually the course is open to any student interested in the topic or a student needing general science education credits. There may be some seats reserved for students in the robotics minor so contact Dr. Giovanetti [Phys-chem 2178] if there are questions or concerns.



PHYS 386. Robots: Structure and Theory (spring)

PHYS 386. Robots: Structure and Theory. 3 credits.

An introduction to the study of autonomous robotic platforms. Topics include robot structure, propulsion systems, robot kinematics, sensors used in robotics, and sensor integration. The course combines lectures with laboratory activities in which students will get hands-on experience in designing, building, programming, and testing autonomous robotic platforms. Prerequisite: completion of the basic preparation courses required for the robotics minor or permission of the instructor.


PHYS  397 TOPICS IN PHYSICS:UAV (spring) 3credits

A group of engineers from NOVA Makers in Reston VA will assist in creating a course where the principles of flight and flight control will be explored.  The class will be project based. Teams of students will each build a UAV with computer controlled motors and sensors programmed to aid in flight. 


Upper level students with skills in one or more of the following areas: electronics, programming, mechanical design, sensors or robotics are encouraged to discuss enrollment with Dr. Giovanetti.   Students may only enroll by permission of the instructor.  We are hoping to find an enthusiastic group of students with a strong interest in robotics that will enjoy the opportunity to explore the challenges of designing and building unmanned aerial vehicles.


PHYS  497 TOPICS IN PHYSICS:Robotics Applications [fall] 3 credits

This a blend of robotics and applications. Students will be teamed with a group of people that have a specific goal, which requires the use of a UAV, anmanned aerial vehicle. Vehicles built in 397(above) will be fitted with sensors and actuators in order to perform the function described by the assigned group.  The students will design a payload, construct the support, program additional functionality to support the payload, test the design and instruct users on the operation (including safety precautions).


Students may only enroll by permission of the instructor. 


This course may serve as the robotics capstone project.  To fulfill this requirement the student must additionally register for -CISE 481. Robotics Project Summary – which will require an abstract and short presentation of the completed project.



Students may find faculty mentors for independent projects.  These are usually arranged on an idividual basis when faculty and student interests overlap.  Typically a student  or faculty member will initiate a discussion on possible collaboration and the approach to the project is determined through mutual agreement.



Some Pics & Vids