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.


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.


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.


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).


Marcus soldering Kinect wires.


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