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18 Butter Passing Robot
Yu Jie Hsiao
Yuchen He
Yuxiang Sun
Xinrui Zhu appendix
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.

Amphibious Spherical Explorer

Kaiwen Chen, Junhao Su, Zhong Tan

Amphibious Spherical Explorer

Featured Project

The amphibious spherical explorer (ASE) is a spherical robot for home monitoring, outdoor adventure or hazardous environment surveillance. Due to the unique shape of the robot, ASE can travel across land, dessert, swamp or even water by itself, or be casted by other devices (e.g. slingshot) to the mission area. ASE has a motion-sensing system based on Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and rotary magnetic encoder, which allows the internal controller to adjust its speed and attitude properly. The well-designed control system makes the robot free of visible wobbliness when it is taking actions like acceleration, deceleration, turning and rest. ASE is also a platform for research on control system design. The parameters of the internal controller can be assigned by an external control panel in computer based on MATLAB Graphic User Interface (GUI) which communicates with the robot via a WiFi network generated by the robot. The response of the robot can be recorded and sent back to the control panel for further analysis. This project is completely open-sourced. People who are interested in the robot can continue this project for more interesting features, such as adding camera for real-time surveillance, or controller design based on machine learning.

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