Members

We are mostly undergraduate and graduate students in CS, EE, CpE & ME, but we also have members from other majors as we are open to all WSU students who are interested in robotics.

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Weekly Meeting

5:30pm to 7:00 pm on Thursdays
Dana Hall 3, Intelligent Robot Learning Laboratory

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The Experience

The club provides a collaborative and hands-on experience in planning, building, and programming robots. We also offer basic to advanced tutorials relative to robotics. We also strive to engage our local community in robotics.

Read more on our Blog

How you can help

We are a diverse group of passionate students who are driven by imagination and creativity. And we all have one thing in common — We love and enjoy building robots! But in order to do so, we need your help so we can continue to provide this collaborative space.

If you would like to support and help us, please donate using this link: Give to WSU Robotics Club. If the donation is intended for a specific project, please write it under comments. Your donation will be used to buy the parts necessary to build robots. However small the amount is, your donation will have a significant impact to all members of the club. Also, significant donations will have their logo and name featured in our website's Sponsors page.

For other form of gifts or donations, please email us at wsu.roboticsclub@gmail.com.

Latest Posts

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Projects Updates: BEER PONG

by Ryan Summers

Over the course of winter break, I finally got a chance to work a bit on our beer-pong robot. Our parts finally came in and I figured there was nothing better to work on with my newfound free time. Our mechanical engineers created a small mock set-up for the electrical team to work on and I decided to hook our motors up to it!

This gave me an excellent platform to start working on. I hooked up our H bridge motor driver and started looking through some documentation on the controller. I quickly realized that my original plan of using a PIC microcontroller would no longer work effectively in the short term, as they supply 3.3V logic and the controller works off 5V logic. Instead, I decided to switch over to an AVR microcontroller to make use of the 5V logic before I could create a board to level shift the signals off the PIC board. This would come to have much larger implications than I originally expected, but I’ll get to that later. To program the microcontroller, I used the SUBLIBinal library that James Irwin and I developed for the Robosub club. Originally this code was developed for PIC microcontrollers, but we intended to port it over to AVR. This project forced me to finish the port that I was conducting, and the library allowed me to extremely quickly implement the microcontroller functionality without many hang-ups.

I quickly wired together the microcontroller to the motor driver on a breadboard and began writing some code. I got the initial microcontroller code to get the motors spinning, but the set up was far from perfect. I really needed a method to control the motor speeds. This meant that the microcontroller needed to communicate with the computer in some way, so I decided to implement a UART interface. After buying a UART-serial converter and writing up some serial programming code on the computer side, I got an efficient line of communication going so that the computer and the microcontroller could exchange information. However, this set up had quite a few issues with it: 1) The serial interface was through the command line and was extremely difficult to use effectively. 2) It would often hang when attempting to read due to blocking calls, and 3) the motors often became stuck on set-up due to changes in friction and would stop rotating – even when operating at the same PWM duty cycle. Additionally, there was no logical way to specify motor speeds besides duty cycle percentages. To combat the issue of friction and to create an effective way to communicate, I decided to implement a PID feedback control system.

We had ordered some small magnets and some hall-effect sensors for just this purpose, but I had never really worked with PID controllers before. I set up the hall-effect sensors close to the wheels and taped on the magnets to generate an interrupt to the microcontroller whenever they passed by. This allowed me to do some simple math on the data to provide an RPM value to the microcontroller. Now, I could send the microcontroller a desired RPM and it would have a value for its current RPMs as well. The next step was to implement some form of control system so that the microcontroller could dynamically adjust it’s PWM duty cycle to achieve it’s desired RPMs. After doing a small amount of research, I realized that implementing a PID controller within a microcontroller was actually quite a simple task! By storing just a bit of previous state information, the microcontroller can periodically generate an update to the PWM duty cycle through the feedback from the hall-effect sensors. After tinkering around with the parameters on the PID controller, I managed to find some rough values that were giving me back consistently held RPMs.

Now that the issue of logical communication and a control system had been solved, I knew that I needed to fix the computer-side interface. I had done some previous work with Qt for GUIs with the Robosub club, so I decided that creating some form of GUI would be the easiest way to interface with the microcontroller. This way, I could update the current RPMs of the microcontroller and set goal values all in real-time. However, this didn’t quite address the issue of the serial port holding application execution. After some thought, I realized I could use a thread for reading and writing to the serial port, and then run the GUI through a separate application. Through the course of a day, I wrote up a small GUI to display information on the screen so that anyone can set the goals easily. Below is the GUI after a number of improvements and iterations!

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(Note: ‘RPM Setting’ should be ‘Duty Cycle Setting’ above – it’s still quite rough!)

Now, we have set up an interface for the computer science team to develop a computer-side application to control the motors. This allows us to move to our next step of the project to create an application that can start using visual feedback to adjust the shots that it takes. It’s going to be exciting to see where this project goes in the next few weeks!

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Update: Due to some immense errors with the ATMega chip causing shutdowns and periodic reboots, I decided to switch over hardware to the PIC32MX250F128B. The library we are using is much more rigorously tested on this chip and we have more available debugging tools for correcting code errors. Below is a 3D model of the new board that has been ordered for interfacing with the motor controller!

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1st Hardware Hackathon was a success!

by Gabriel de la Cruz

75 students from different majors including Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Material Science Engineering, participated the 1st Hardware Hackathon during November 14-15, 2015 held in Intelligent Robot Learning Laboratory and Frank Innovation Zone.

Robotics Club was one of the co-organizers of this event. To view this year’s winners, please visit the Hardware Hackathon’s website.

Below are few of the pictures taken during the event. For more pictures, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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Project Updates: Battlebot

by Brandon Townsend

The Combat Robot Project is currently in the final prototyping stage of the wedge-bot. As of now, we are designing the belt-drive system for the wheels and waiting for parts to come in. We have decided to use existing pieces of scrap-extruded aluminum and steel plating to fabricate the beta frame. However, the final frame will have ⅛-in aluminum plates for armor in order to keep the weight within the required limitations. For the final body of the wedge-bot, we will most likely have it fabricated by a newly found resource. We are planning to have only part of the team carry out the above plan and have the other members of our team begin production on the saw-bot for the sake of efficiency.

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Project Updates: Prosthetic Hand

by Bryce Johnson

IMG_8061The second half of the semester was spent completing construction of the hand as well as working on the control of the hand. Currently the hand is completely built and has basic movement capabilities such as open and closing and basic thumb movement. We have started modeling the hand in CAD software in order to create a separate hand in the future with additional improvements we feel are necessary to the existing design. We have also researched possible EEG sensor configurations as well as funding opportunities for these sensors.

Next semester we plan to continue working on the control system for the hand. We would like the hand to have independent articulation with each finger. Over the course of the spring semester we propose to look at two separate user inputs for hand movement: a mimicking glove design and EEG sensors.

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Projects Updates: BEER PONG

by Gabriel de la Cruz

The two teams started planning and designing early in the semester on what types of pong launcher to build. Using SolidWorks, ME students Christian Ziruk (Team 1) and Jessie Bryant (Team B) build CAD designs for the pong launchers. Both teams came up with pretty similar approaches of using spinning motors that is similar to a tennis ball launcher. What differs is Team 1, will use only one motor while Team B will use two. The videos below will show a prototype of Team B’s pong launcher.

While the ME’s were busy working on the design, the CS members worked on how to interface with an XBox controller which will be used to control our robot in the 1st Phase of this project. Then they proceeded on learning how to serially communicate with a microcontroller using Python. Additionally, the CS team had some discussions on how to frame vision processing for the robot’s autonomy once we get everything working. This includes how to detect the ping pong ball especially when it bounces.

The EE’s and CpE’s at their end, worked closely with the ME’s to come up with a list of electrical and mechanical parts that will be used to build the robot. However, in order to minimize the shipping cost, we had to ensure both teams has a complete parts list, which has costs us some valuable work time.

We also had to write a proposal for this project to secure a sponsorship for financial support from WSU IEEE Student Chapter which we successfully were granted, and we thank the organization for their benevolence.

Time wasn’t really in our side this semester as most of us were also co-organizers and volunteers for the 1st Hardware Hackathon. And a lot of our members are also members of the Palouse RoboSub Club.

However, on a positive note, we have ordered and received all the parts we need to build the pong launcher. This will allow our EE’s to start building the circuits and programming the microcontrollers on our first Robotics Club meeting next semester. While the CS members will have to wait for the ME’s and EE’s to get the structure built, the CS members will continue pursuing early next semester on solving the vision problems in order for our robot to be autonomous. We will also help the EE’s in coding the microcontrollers.

Below are videos of Team B’s pong launcher prototype. A shout out to our mechanical engineering members: Jessie Bryant and Vitaliy Kubay for working on their spare times  in order to build a physical prototype before our last Robotics Club meeting. And we also would like to thank the Frank Innovation Zone for allowing us to use their equipments to build the frames for the launcher.

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Project Updates: Rover

by Tucker Stone

The Mars Rover team spent the majority of the Fall 2015 semester working on our proposal to gain admission into the NASA Robo-Ops competition. The combined effort of our team, although admirable, ultimately was not enough to be one of the selected teams to gain entry in to the 2016 competition.

Although our ultimate goal of being entered into next year’s competition was not achieved, the team continued to work hard towards the advancement of the rover’s technical capabilities. The programming team built new code to support the robotic arm, as well as integrating the independent six-wheel drive motors.

While the programming team continued to advance the rover’s capability from a coding aspect, the mechanical team continues to struggle modifying the rover’s current design into a working system. Largely a result of the design completed in previous semesters, the team has had to spend considerable amounts of time modifying and redesigning systems that in design seem feasible but in reality do not operate as intended.

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Project Updates: Robotic Arm

By: Marcus Blaisdell

This semester, our objectives were to transfer the existing vision system from Python to C++. Vitaly has ported the majority of the OpenCV code to C++ and we can use it to detect different contrasts. We have purchased a Kinect camera and modified it to use standard USB and have it running on a PC. Marcus has learned how to write C++ code to write to the serial port to get the C++ programs to control the Arduino microsontroller that is controlling the arm. We are going to focus on getting C++ OpenCV to recognize shapes and then improve that to recognize chess pieces.

The featured image is a selfie taken from the functioning Kinect of Marcus, Conner, and Kily (from left to right).

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Marcus soldering Kinect wires.

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Kily cutting and connecting Kinect wires as we modify the Kinect to use standard USB to connect to a PC/Mac.

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Marcus Blaisdell created an event for Robotics Club. ... See MoreSee Less

Computer Stereo Vision Tutorial

February 23, 2017, 5:30pm - February 23, 2017, 8:30pm

Stereo Computer Vision Tutorial with Dr. John Swensen in the Robotics Lab in Dana 3

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Here is a good tutorial on OpenCV installation on Windows 10, www.solarianprogrammer.com/2016/09/17/install-opencv-3-with-python-3-on-windows/

If you have a problem on which numpy to install, under the comments on this page, someone asked the same question. Basically, it boils down to which python version did you install (was it 32 bit or 64 bit) Benson Hull

If you still have problems. Come see me at Dana 3 and I will try my best to help you.
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Sandi Palmer Brabb shared Voiland College Professional Practice and Experiential Learning's event to the group: Robotics Club. ... See MoreSee Less

Google at WSU Recruiting Event

February 28, 2017, 2:00pm - March 1, 2017, 6:30pm

Interested in learning more about Google? Come hear it from Google engineers! On Feb 28 and Mar 1, Google will be hosting several events on campus for you to learn more about Google and the opportuni...

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Hi,
I am student of BCIT(second year)
I have to submit a project related to computer vision using C++ and using MATLAB environmnt. I decided "Object detection". so anyone here can help me out, or suggest me the side from where I can learn or get code of that project?

Thanks in Advance.😊
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Marcus Blaisdell created an event for Robotics Club. ... See MoreSee Less

Computer Vision Tutorial

February 16, 2017, 5:30pm - February 16, 2017, 8:30pm

This Thursday will be a Computer Vision Tutorial with Gabriel De La Cruz. Learn how to use openCV and Python to detect shapes and colors to add vision processing to your project. If you would like ...

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I just got an email from one of the members of the RobotArt team letting me know about their 2nd Annual Robot Art Competition. Thought I would pass it along in case any of the club members are interested.

<BEGIN EMAIL>
Thought your students might be interested in the 2nd Annual Robot Art Competition (robotart.org), which features $100,000 in cash prizes. We're a nonprofit, and the contest is free to enter and open to any age. The goal is to challenge participants to produce something visually beautiful with robotics—that is, to have a robot use physical brushes and paint to create an artwork. It's ideal for robotic student projects involved in robotic planning and image processing, especially those who have an appreciation for art. Details, team signup, and last year's winners are at robotart.org.

Participants can use any robotic system to produce the artwork. While most teams are using existing robotic arms, the contest is open to custom hardware. Students can enter up to six paintings in each of the competition categories of "fully automated execution" and "manually (semi or tele-robotic) generated" art, where generally, there is little or no specialized software used to control the robot.

The deadline for artwork submission is April 15th. If you have questions or ideas on who I should contact to help spread the word, please let me know.

Thanks for your time.

Chason
RobotArt Team
robotart.org
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www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkcKaNqfykg ... See MoreSee Less

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Join WestRock on March 2, 5-6 p.m., Sloan 233, to learn about career opportunities for Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Engineering students.

Position:
Engineering Intern – 2 Junior/Senior positions (1 Electrical or Mechanical and 1 Chemical) AND 1 Sophomore position (Electrical or Mechanical)

Job Location:
WestRock Tacoma Mill
Pulp and Paper Mill
Tacoma, WA

General Description:
The WestRock Tacoma mill operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week employing 310 hourly employees represented by 7 separate unions, and 90 salaried employees. Hourly employees work day shift as well as 12-hour rotating work schedules.

The Intern will work a 40-hour work week, Monday thru Friday, but extended hours and week-ends could be necessary on a rare occasion to resolve issues. This position will require a significant amount of field work (approx. 50%) in the mill.

The internship will last approximately 3 months during the summer, with the potential for returning the following summer.

Qualifications – Required:
• Pursuing a degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical, Electrical, or Chemical Engineering.
• For Junior/Senior Intern - Completed Junior courses (or higher) by the end of Spring 2017 Quarter or Semester
• For Sophomore Intern – Completed Sophomore courses (or higher) by the end of Spring 2017 Quarter or Semester
• Successful completion of employee background check and drug screen

Qualifications – Preferred:
• Previous manufacturing experience preferred, but not required
• Solidworks drafting experience
• 3.0 cumulative GPA


Technical Skills:
• Ability to collect, organize and summarize numerical data.
• Ability to perform detailed work with minimal number of errors.
• A working knowledge of basic software programs: ie. Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Process and Management Skills:
• Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks
• Establish and maintain project schedules
• Strong presentation skills

Interpersonal Skills:
• Effective communication and interpersonal skills - proactive nature, with a proven track record of working with others.
• Ability to work either independently or as part of a multi-disciplinary team to achieve results and meet project schedules.
• Excellent problem solving skills and a passion for achieving goals.
• Interface effectively with operational, maintenance and management personnel to assure continuity of efforts.

WestRock is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Send your resume directly to jim.barnett@westrock.com and/or apply directly at the WestRock informational meeting at 5 PM on 3/2/2017 in Sloan 233
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LATE ADD - HP Inc. will be hosting an information session today at 3:30 p.m. in Carpenter 102 (food provided). They are recruiting ME, EE, ChemE, MSE, and CptS majors. ... See MoreSee Less

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