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Robotics – take a free online course

FutureLearn can help you take your first steps in the exciting world of robotics


We’ve looked at robots a few times here at Linux User & Developer, from our very first from-scratch build with a Dawn Robotics kit in issue 132 through to robotics kit reviews, tutorials on the 3D-printed Rapiro and programming guides for last year’s Pi Wars challenges. It’s an incredibly exciting field that’s expanding all the time, especially with the rise of drones more recently that’s driving interest in the field, but if you’re coming to it all for the first time then it can be tough to know exactly where to start.

Fortunately, FutureLearn has you covered with a free online course due to start on 21st September. It’s a MOOC – a massively open online course – and FutureLearn is a widely respected platform for MOOCs with over two million users, connecting you with content from leading universities and specialists.

Begin Robotics is an excellent course provided by the University of Reading that gives you a solid grounding in robotics, encompassing a history that stretches back to musical automata in 13th Century Iraq, a hands-on introduction to the anatomy and individual components of a robot, and an examination of the future of robotics and the philosophical implications of the potential they have to change our world forever.

The course should take about four weeks, based on an average of three hours per week, and all you need is your Chrome, Firefox or Opera browser to dive right in, plus an account on the FutureLearn platform (you can sign up here).

If you’re interested in robotics but have never quite found the time to begin exploring the field, or you have some inquisitive young minds at home who want to take their Raspberry Pi skills to the next level, we definitely recommend giving this a shot.