Teaching Practical Robotics During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study on Regular and Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulations

José Lima, Felipe N. Martins, Paulo Gomes Costa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Laboratory experiments are important pedagogical tools in engineering courses. Restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic made it very difficult or impossible for laboratory classes to take place, resulting on a fast transition to simulation as an approach to guarantee the effectiveness of teaching. Simulation environments are powerful tools that can be adopted for remote classes and self-study. With these tools, students can perform experiments and, in some cases, make use of the laboratory facilities from outside of the University. This paper proposes and describes two free tools developed during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down that allowed students to work from home, namely a set of simulation experiments and a Hardware-in-the-loop simulator, accessible 24/7. Two approaches in Python and C languages are presented, both in the context of Robotics courses for Engineering students. Successful results and student feedback indicate the effectiveness of the proposed approaches in institutions in Portugal and in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationROBOT2022: Fifth Iberian Robots Conference
Subtitle of host publicationLecture Notes in Networks and Systems
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2022
EventROBOT 2022: Fifth Iberian Robotics Conference - Zaragoza, Spain
Duration: 23 Nov 202225 Nov 2022


ConferenceROBOT 2022
Abbreviated titleROBOT2022
Internet address


  • hardware-in-the-loop simulation
  • robot simulation
  • engineering education
  • educational robotics
  • distance learning
  • COVID-19 pandemic


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