FRC Team 3711 Robot Autonomous Demo for 2013

I just got home after another busy weekend of working on our robot in preparation for Ultimate Ascent, this year’s challenge. This was the final weekend of the 2013 build season for the FIRST Robotics Competition and I am convinced we’ll be fielding a great competitor this year. The video below shows off our autonomous mode, fully tweaked and dialed in. After I filmed the video I learned that we do have two additional days left before we’re required to crate up the robot. This is fortunate since we still have to finish the climbing mechanism and fine tune a few unpolished bits of code.

FRC Team 3711 Disc Launcher Demo

Whew, what a weekend of progress on our FRC robot! I think between myself and my student, we put in about 30 hours over the last two days. As of right now, we’re caught up with programming everything on the robot, but we still need to add code to drive the lift mechanism when it gets bolted on in a few days. This year we’re using C++ for programming so the entire process is much easier now compared with Labview. I shot a video at the end of the day to demo what we’ve accomplished:

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FIRST Team 3711 Robot Basketball Dunk

Logo motion piece

She would not let go of this thing!

I’ve spent the past few weekends mentoring a FIRST team at our local high school. FIRST is an international competition aimed at inspiring high school students to consider a career in science or engineering by exposing them to the engineering process from design to functional prototype. Every year the rules of the competition change with the common element being the use of an autonomous/teleoperated robot working cooperatively with other robots to achieve a goal. All FIRST teams are given the rules of the game in early January and are given only six weeks to design, build, program and ship their robot. This year the game is Logo Motion.

For a rookie team, I think we are well on our way to fielding a compeitive robot. We set a goal to have our robot dunk a basket at the final game of the season in order to demonstrate the arm and claw mechanism we designed. During the actual competition our robot’s arm will be used to manipulate and place the inner tubes to score points in the game. As you can see from the video we set and met our goal – Team 3711 for the win!

My Masters Thesis is Finally Done

My MSEE thesis is now complete and I’ve satisfied all of my requirements for graduation from the electrical engineering department. My thesis is entitled “Design of a Reliable Embedded Radio Transceiver Module with Applications to Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Systems“. Well, I guess this concludes my edumahkayshun, and now I gots ta git me a reel job.

University of Washington Robofish on You Tube

My lab’s robotic fish are now on You Tube:

This video demonstrates robot fish schooling

Underwater camera view of our fish

The comments on YouTube about this video resmble the same questions and comments we received at our open house demo – especially the one about laser beams. LOL. Two comments were notable though:

ThunderStormV5000 writes:

Robot Fish for president! They have more brains than the current candidates!

Well, at least in the case of His Holiness the Liberal Savior (Barack Obama), I agree. A PowerPC processor clocked at 40 MHz would do a much better job of running our country.

zharbulfin writes:

thats really kewl. the people who made those r geniuses ^^

Yep, I agree with that one too! :D

Lots of Media Interest

I found out what happened. Our research was originally detailed in an article at UWeek (the University of Washington’s News Site). This article was started all of the media activity and was quoted at Ocean Lines, EurekAlert!, and Slashdot.

This was followed by a news cast at King 5 (Local News for Seattle).

Our work was also featured at ZDNet and Science Daily. Very cool. Today I learned that the Mumbai Mirror also wrote an article. In the Mumbai article, we’re referred to as “boffins” – apparently British slang for “scientists”.

All of this activity isn’t surprising – robots are cool. Robotic fish are even cooler. We’ll be doing some more demos for reporters wanting to show video of coordinated maneuvering of the robotic fish. When this is posted, I’ll let you know

ZDNet Article on the Fish

Located here:

Robot Fish on King 5 News

My lab’s work was featured on our local Seattle News station. I designed the radio transceivers that the robotic fish use (you can see a green wire antenna sticking out of them while they swim). Ben designed the actual fish and its unique swimming mechanism (fin actuation). He’s got a sweet CAD model that I’m using in my thesis. Dan built the camera tracking system featured in the broadcast. We used that tracking system to enable autonomous swimming for our open house demonstration that I described a few posts ago.

Video here: King 5 Video on Demand

UW Engineering Open House – Little Red Hen’s Take

My husband's labTime for my take on my husband’s robotic fish and Engineering Open House. I had a really good time today! If Friday was the day for field trips, then Saturday was the day for families. I came to the open house today, Saturday, and got a kick out of observing the family dynamics of those who came. Some parents seemed to have engineering in their genes and wanted to share their interests with their children. Others were clearly bewildered by the technical questions their children were asking volunteers but were being good sports trying to feed the minds of their little Einsteins. I enjoyed watching Patrick field questions from adults and children alike, and my favorite interaction was between a father and Patrick. It went something like this:

Dad: So do you like video games? [Read more…]

Robotic Fish at the UW Engineering Open House

Close up swimming fishMy lab hosted another successful engineering open house exhibit today at the University of Washington. I’ve been working in the Nonlinear Dynamics and Control Lab at UW for two years now and I’m close to completing my masters degree. My thesis is based on a radio transceiver that I specifically designed to enable underwater communication between our three robotic fish. Today, my transceiver was used to demo our work to the UW community and visitors to the university. [Read more…]