GUPPIE, underwater 3D printed robot a game changer in control design education

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Center for Cyber-Physical Systems


This paper presents innovative strategies to teach control and robotic concepts. These strategies include: 1) a real world focus on social/environmental contexts that are meaningful and “make a difference”; 2) continuous design potential and engagement through use of a platform that integrates design with engineering; 3) mission-based versus application-based approaches, where meaningful application justifies the process; and 4) hands-on, inquiry-based problem-solving. For this purpose a Glider for Underwater Problem-solving and Promotion of Interest in Engineering or “GUPPIE” platform and its simulator were utilized. GUPPIE is easy and inexpensive to manufacture, with readily available lightweight and durable components. It is also modular to accommodate a variety of learning activities. This paper describes how GUPPIE and its interdisciplinary nature was used as a pedagogical platform for teaching core control concepts for different age groups. The activities are designed to attract the interest of students as early as middle school and sustain their interest through college. The game changing aspect of this approach is scaffolded learning and the fact that the students will work with the same platform while progressing through the concepts.

Publisher's Statement

© 2015 AACC. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1109/ACC.2015.7171157

Publication Title

2015 American Control Conference (ACC)