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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.

RFI Detector

Jamie Brunskill, Tyler Shaw, Kyle Stevens

RFI Detector

Featured Project

Problem Statement:

Radio frequency interference from cell phones disrupts measurements at the radio observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Many visitors do not comply when asked to turn their phones off or put them in airplane mode.


We are planning to design a handheld device that will be able to detect radio frequency interference from cell phones from approximately one meter away. This will allow someone to determine if a phone has been turned off or is in airplane mode.

The device will feature an RF front end consisting of antennas, filters, and matching networks. Multiple receiver chains may be used for different bands if necessary. They will feed into a detection circuit that will determine if the power within a given band is above a certain threshold. This information will be sent to a microcontroller that will provide visual/audible user feedback.

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