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Teacher Toolbox icon Teacher Toolbox - The Purpose of this Section

The readings in this section provide context for testbeds and sensors. The first reading explains how testbeds are used by professionals in technical industries. Students might think the practice of using a testbed is unique to this lab and a method used to have them learn about VEX IQ Sensors, but they are actually using this testbed to test the functionality of their sensors, as professionals would. The second reading explains the importance of the sensors for competition robots, and provides some use-cases. Thinking about using sensors on a competition robot in order to succeed in a challenge can help deepen students' understanding of the sensors and their functionality with robot designs.

Electronics Testbed
Electronics inspected at a testbed

Testing... One, Two, Three

A testbed is a tool used for simple and repeatable testing of ideas and technology. Testbeds may be comprised of software, hardware, or both.

Testbeds are used in many different professional fields, and take on many different forms.

  • In electronics companies, testbeds can be used to inspect the behavior of new or faulty circuits.

  • In the automotive industry, "development mules" are used to check the performance and reliability of a new car component in a standard testbed vehicle.

  • Engine manufacturers use machines called "environmental test chambers" to test how their engines perform over long periods of time, under intense heat and environmental factors.

Motivate Discussion icon Motivate Discussion

Q: Pick an object or device and explain why you would want to test it using a testbed.
A: Students could select any object or device. They should be able to explain why testing is important. Likely the object or device could have a functionality or even safety issue if anything went wrong, so testing helps prevent those issues.

Q: How would you go about using a testbed for testing?
A: Students could respond with a variety of options, not all possible. They should be able to identify what an input would be during testing, and a sensor that could detect that input.