In my final year of University I was lucky enough to take part in the robotics module – as I understand it, people starting the same course as me at the time I was leaving got to do robotics as standard in their first year! Not so with us, it was kept to the last and had limited places and all.
The course was half practical – building and programming a robot – and half theory – how to process data from sensors and control various aspects of the robot. The robots themselves were based on a small micro controller board with many simple I/O ports, built in to a shell made of Lego. I was one of a team of three, and initially we were all unsure of the programming side of it, but confident in our Lego abilities! This changed around pretty abruptly when it came to actually building the thing – turns out Lego can be a pain!
The objective of the robot was to collect coloured cans in a small square arena, and deposit them in the identically-coloured corner of the arena. Obviously, without hitting walls or getting stuck was preferable too.