March 1, 2002

  The  Marshall University SENSORS CITY site of Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute is using the Transportation materials of LEGO Dacta, the educational division of LEGO Systems. This way teachers can use the vast Cities and Transportation teacher materials, building instructions, extended projects on intelligent transportation systems, city planning, public transportation systems, information and control technology, car and personal safety lesson plans and internet web links that have been already so extensively been built and tested. Teachers in schools world wide can now not only use the LEGO Dacta Cities and Transportation sets, instructions, RoboLab programs, and teacher materials in their classrooms but can also submit their programs to run remotely at the CITY of  the Nick J. Rahall, II  Appalachian Transportation Institute.  This teleoperation is the core of the SENSORS CITY site.  There is software set up for the database and automatic running of the students' vi (virtual instrument) programs. Data  will be returned from the programming.  Thus young people will get experience in working with intelligent transportation systems as students.  The first of the scenarios I set up beginning in  September of 2001 was the Traffic Counter.  A car going around in and out of sight of the Web camera, but each time through the “speed trap,” can be programmed over the Internet through the SENSORS CITY site to keep track of the traffic count at different times.  We, on this end, will have the car moving.  They, on their end, can work out the programming for the traffic counter.  More importantly they will be doing the modeling of the information gathering done in real cities to find out the heavy traffic times and road use.

There are five major building projects with the LEGO Dacta Cities and Transportation sets: Speed trap, monorail, gate, traffic lights, and cars. Driving around cars by teleoperating is more like space applications on the moon or Mars.  However the first four projects are definitely models of use of teleoperating done as surface transportation. Modern city engineers use remote sensing for data gathering for city planning, traffic control and safety. The requirements of NASA SENSORS that teleoperating by programming be done and website links for student and teacher materials are set up and the requirement of Appalachian Transportation Institute that the transportation must surface transportation work well together.

Linda Hamilton