# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
18 Butter Passing Robot
Yu Jie Hsiao
Yuchen He
Yuxiang Sun
Xinrui Zhu appendix0.pdf
Group Members:
Yu Jie Hsiao -- yujiejh2
Yuxiang Sun -- sun76
Yuchen He -- he44

Title: Butter Passing Robot


We want to make a butter passing robot, which can find the butter on the table and bring it back to a certain location. The robot will be able to move on its own, avoid other obstacles, and find the butter on the table.

We believe our project is appropriate for ECE 445 because it utilizes many aspects of knowledge we acquired here. For the hardware platform, we intend to build a vehicle similar to the one from ECE 110. It will have two motors(eg. ROB-11696), a thermal sensor(eg. SEN-10988) to detect motor temperature, an infrared sensor to detect irrelevant(non-butter) obstacles, a microcontroller(eg. ATmega328) to take all the sensors reading and output PWM signal accordingly to drive the motor. We intend to place all these circuits onto a PCB.

Aside from these sensors, we also intend to place a camera module(eg. OV7725) and a wireless module(eg. ESP8266) on our vehicle. The camera will take pictures of the environment the robot faces. And the pictures will get transferred via WiFi to a laptop, where we intend to run some python scripts to detect butter in the photo. We realize the time complexity of the code is crucial. However, since our target has a relatively distinct color and relatively fixed size, we think it’s possible to simplify the recognition process.

If we have enough time, we plan to implement basic speech recognition as add-on functions. The basic function would be for the robot to start operating once it hears a finger snap. We can use an audio sensor and some code on the microcontroller to realize that. For further improvements, we found some existing Arduino Modules that can recognize a fixed set of voice commands. With that, we can make the robot operate only under certain commands.

We found two similar projects by searching “Butter Passing Robot” on Google. The main advantage our project will have is the lower cost. Both these projects were built on existing robotic platform, which cost $70 and $170 respectively. Since we intend to build our hardware platform ourselves and focus on the core functionality of “passing butter”, our project will cost considerably less than the existing ones.

Prosthetic Control Board

Caleb Albers, Daniel Lee

Prosthetic Control Board

Featured Project

Psyonic is a local start-up that has been working on a prosthetic arm with an impressive set of features as well as being affordable. The current iteration of the main hand board is functional, but has limitations in computational power as well as scalability. In lieu of this, Psyonic wishes to switch to a production-ready chip that is an improvement on the current micro controller by utilizing a more modern architecture. During this change a few new features would be added that would improve safety, allow for easier debugging, and fix some issues present in the current implementation. The board is also slated to communicate with several other boards found in the hand. Additionally we are looking at the possibility of improving the longevity of the product with methods such as conformal coating and potting.

Core Functionality:

Replace microcontroller, change connectors, and code software to send control signals to the motor drivers

Tier 1 functions:

Add additional communication interfaces (I2C), and add temperature sensor.

Tier 2 functions:

Setup framework for communication between other boards, and improve board longevity.

Overview of proposed changes by affected area:

Microcontroller/Architecture Change:

Teensy -> Production-ready chip (most likely ARM based, i.e. STM32 family of processors)


support new microcontroller, adding additional communication interfaces (I2C), change to more robust connector. (will need to design pcb for both main control as well as finger sensors)


Addition of a temperature sensor to provide temperature feedback to the microcontroller.


change from Arduino IDE to new toolchain. (ARM has various base libraries such as mbed and can be configured for use with eclipse to act as IDE) Lay out framework to allow communication from other boards found in other parts of the arm.