Team Summaries – 2016

Cornell Cup Finalists

ASU IOT Education, Arizona State University

Visual programming languages have been fundamental computer science concepts and paradigms without bogging them down with syntax. The exemplar visual programming language for this purpose is undoubtedly Microsoft VPL [1], which is a robust, feature-rich visual programming language which supports a large number of peripheral hardware and technologies. By using Microsoft VPL to interface with and control robots, students in introductory engineering courses could, with little to no programming experience, begin programming robots. Recently, however, Microsoft dropped support for Microsoft VPL [4], leaving a void in the visual programming language market. ASU-VPL is a proposed successor to Microsoft VPL that seeks to act as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft VPL in introductory engineering courses. The combination of ASU-VPL with custom built Intel Edison-driven robots looks to replace the well-established duo of Microsoft VPL and Lego NXT/EV3 robots. Challenges involved with extending ASU-VPL with additional features, developing on-Edison software capable of interfacing with ASU-VPL, and assembling an Edison-controlled robot were all encountered and addressed during the course of this project. New features such as custom event callbacks and web service support extend an already robust visual programming language in ASU-VPL and allow instructors to intuitively explain these complex paradigms to first-year students that have very little experience. Bash configuration scripts for the Edison’s Yocto Linux operating system make deployability easy, and ensure that the ASU-VPL system can be scaled to a large number of students. Support for ultrasonic and touch sensors enables users to invoke simple wall-following algorithms to move a robot through a maze, a staple of the ASU FSE 100 engineering course. 3D printed mounts and chassis keep hardware cost
down and put an emphasis on scalability.


Baymax, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

The need for medical assistive technology has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade, fueled by the high cost and difficulty finding trusted in-home nursing services. More recently, growth in robotic technology has been expedited by intelligent computer vision, latest battery technology, and energy efficient parts. However, little has been done to bridge the field of robotics with medical assistance in a consumer-grade and economical manner. In this paper, we propose a small scale and affordable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (referred to as a Baymax) equipped with an Intel RealSense depth sensing camera to predict, detect, and even prevent impending risks against a non-critically injured stroke rehabilitating patient. Baymax will incorporate the aforementioned optimizations in the robotics field to provide the level of care comparable to an in-home registered nurse within the affordability of common household medical devices. In particular, this paper will discuss the process and materials required to build a quad-rotor drone for under $1000 that is capable of predicting, detecting, and even preventing an imminent stroke, and conclude by briefly discussing the potential use of this drone for other medical services offered by a professional nurse.

Biogaming Shoe, Johns Hopkins University

Johns HopkinsIndividuals with upper limb deficiencies such as amputations often have difficulties handling computer keyboards and mouses. While there are alternative methods to use these devices, they usually extend only to slow typing and basic use. We propose a system that allows for people with upper limb disabilities to retain additional control over the computer, allowing for participation in recreational activities, such as video games.

Current solutions and advocacy for the control of videogames by individuals with different types of disabilities is mainly provided by The AbleGamer Foundation. To quote the words of founder Mark Bartlet, “I believe that there is nothing more powerful for people with disabilities than the freedom that only videogames can provide. It is an art form that allows us to run, jump, and be
whatever we want to be.”

We propose the design of a simple, but very targeted device for helping the user move forward, backward, left and right along with jumping and crouching with the use of their feet. The design will consist of force sensors and a Intel
microprocessor that utilizes an algorithm to determine these various commands. This will communicate the desired inputs to the computer using a wireless interface. It will feature a user interface for customization and also a sleek simple mechanical design for maximum user comfort and ease of use.

BreakerBot, Boston University

Industrial 13.8kV, 800 pound circuit breakers at Consolidated Edison electrical substations are frequently removed from their housings for maintenance, replacement, or testing purposes. The current process requires human operators to physically insert and extract the breakers from the cabinets. Arc flashes (high temperature and explosive reactions) can occur if faults exist in the breaker; these flashes can manifest themselves when the breakers are removed from the cabinet, putting the human operators within the arc zone at danger of burns, electrocution and concussive injury without the proper safety equipment. Further maneuvering of the breakers is also difficult and labor-intensive due to their immense weight and design. The goal of BreakerBot is simple: remove the human worker from the equation. With BreakerBot, the worker is replaced by a semi-autonomous, remote-controlled robot. This robot is able to intelligently align itself with the breaker cabinet and extract or insert circuit breakers as needed, all while keeping people out of the arc zone and away from danger. Furthermore, the robot can carry circuit breakers and provide a platform for the breakers to assist in maneuvering around the substation floor, further reducing the workload and strain on operators.

DAPS, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

DAPS The goal of our project is to create an above-knee lower-limb prosthetic socket that is able to adjust the interior socket volume depending on the current activity of the user to optimize comfort, residual limb health, and lower limb control. Smart variable geometry sockets have shown promise in addressing volume fluctuations by lining the socket with fluid-filled bladders to increase or decrease socket volume dependent on limb size. Compression/Release Stabilized (CRS) sockets have shown that smaller areas of higher pressure produce a better fit and increased user safety. We will utilize key aspects of both prosthetic technologies to create a socket that is more supportive, responsive, and better fitting. The proposed device will actively monitor user activity with EMG sensors and limb volume with pressure sensors. Sensor information will feed into a microcontroller on a custom PCB. This microcontroller will control linear drivers attached to syringes. These syringes will be directly attached to the bladders. Bladder adjustment is fully automated except for some safety features. There are few commercial sockets with bladders due difficulty of retaining control in an emergency. During any emergencies, our manual fluid release valve will retain user control until a safe position is reached.

Scalable Robotic Exoskeleton and Tablet Gaming Suite for Hand Function Rehabilitation, Georgia Institute of Technology

 There exist many debilitating neurological disorders that reduce motor function; a few common examples of these disorders are cerebral palsy and stroke. However, patients who participate in physical therapy sessions, a common treatment for these conditions, may be able to regain or retain some motor function. Unfortunately, many physical therapy patients become bored with therapeutic exercises and, as a consequence, reduce their participation, which lengthens recovery time. This project will extend previous efforts of robotic assisted wrist physical therapy by increasing engagement and the population who could benefit from this technology. Our team created a scalable, light-weight robotic exoskeleton that functions as a video game controller along with a tablet gaming suite that facilitates therapeutic exercises. Our system has been validated with healthy subjects and has shown that engagement increased by a factor of four as compared with traditional exercises. Preliminary results also showed that exercise sessions are more productive when using a fitted, lighter weight exoskeleton.

E-FIRE, Boston University

In past efforts to measure electric fields in near Earth space, large, heavy, and energy-intensive tools have been deployed on satellites. This leads to exorbitant costs in both materials and fuel. Our project, Energetic Field Instrument using Radiated Electrons, or E-FIRE, proposes a new method of taking electric field measurements in a manner suitable for deployment on small satellites using electron drift. We will design a scaled-down, proof-of-concept model that will serve as the building block for a larger, more complete design. Using a radioactive Bismuth-207 source to emit electrons, our instrument measures the energy of radiated electrons using a diode array and a mixed-signal custom IC known as MIROC2. A user interface will be used to display information such as diode hit detection and electron energy. By using a passive source and small footprint, our system will be substantially easier and cheaper to deploy for near Earth missions. Exhibiting this functionality is crucial to motivate the creation of a full-scale system, which would involve eight MIROC2 chips, 128 diode detectors, and be capable of accurate electric field measurement in space.

Eggplant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Wireless IoT Laser Projector: Laser-based projector that can be remotely controlled and displayed from from any computer/internet connected device. (Notable features include wireless display and remote computer control.)

F1/10 Autonomous Racing, University of Pennsylvania

Driverless Cars have been around for quite some time, however they tend to operate at slow speeds when in complex environments, limiting their utility in high-tempo applications. We are developing a platform that will serve as a base for competitions on autonomous race cars. We are working on 1/10-scale model F-1 race car (with 10 times the fun!) capable of travelling at max speed of 40 miles/hour. The algorithms developed will surround real time perception, control,planning and response to fast changing environments. The performance will be evaluated on the basis of speed, agility and power efficiency – the three core challenges that even the full size driverless cars are constrained by. The car will be equipped with several sensors such as LiDAR, IMU, and Camera.The platform and the algorithms developed as a part of this project will be made accessible to anyone willing to contribute to the work with an aim to make highspeed driverless cars a reality.

Girodicer (Ice Dam Drone), Boston University

The goal of this project is to create a drone capable of autonomously scanning a slanted residential roof to detect and alleviate ice dams. The drone will utilize thermal image processing to detect “warm spots” where ice dams are likely to form downwards from that point. In addition, the drone will take pictures of the perimeter of a roof, process the images to look for icicles (a sign of a forming ice dam), and make note of the problem area. The drone will be capable of distributing calcium chloride (a non-corrosive salt) within a porous fabric sleeve onto an ice dam to prevent further damage to the roof. A smartphone app will serve as the interface for the user, displaying information such as rooftop images and battery life. The drone provides a safer and cheaper alternative to removing ice dams compared to the dangers of manual removal or expensive roof heating solutions.

HabTech, University of Pennsylvania

Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the United States. Each year approximately 800,000 people will suffer from a stroke; 80% of whom do not regain full motor control and 35% will ail from the effects of muscle spasticity.To remedy this, the HabTech Upper Body & Arm motor-driven system that will allow patients with limited range of motion, due to nerve cell damage, to regain motor control. HUBART will be focused around the elbow joint and provide an isokinetic resistance to the patient until the patient can no longer complete the range of motion. This means that the HUBART system will automatically adjust the resistance, allowing the patient to perform the range of motion exercise at a constant speed. Once a range of motion limit has been reached, HUBART will begin to provide assistive torque allowing the patient to achieve a more complete range of motion. This has been proven to be a successful treatment to help reconnect neural pathways among stroke patients. HUBART will be an at-home, space-efficient device meant to promote continued physical therapy after patients leave the hospital.

HAMR, University of Pennsylvania

HAMR is a low-cost holonomic robot platform based on a unique drive mechanism that is simpler and more robust on uneven terrain than
conventional omnidirectional systems, such as powered casters and omniwheels. By providing maneuverability for other robotic systems like manipulators or robot-human interfaces, HAMR can enable research and lower the cost barrier for consumer robotics.

HERO Glove, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The Haptic Exoskeletal Robot Operator (HERO) Glove is a system that is used to teleoperate robot manipulators whilst providing realistic, accurate haptic feedback. Our system consists of two parts: the master glove and the slave module. The master glove achieves intuitive tactile and force feedback through use of soft pneumatic actuators at the finger tips and joints, that stiffen correspondingly to the interfaced manipulator’s interactions with its environment. Accurate finger joint angle measurements are obtained through curvature sensors that were developed by the WPI Soft Robotics Lab. Positional control is obtained through a 9-DOF IMU. An electronic control module allows for an easy add-on via USB to existing manipulators. The module receives the glove’s 3D position, and passes it to the robot software for position control. Tactile and joint sensors will be stuck on the manipulator connected to the electronic control module, which will then transmit this data back to glove. To achieve predictable bilateral communication performance, the wireless system is optimized for high speed and low latency with error handling protocols. A concept of operation is having a user control a manipulator to open a door remotely.

Mooove, Boston University

00Mooove is a suite of sensing devices that work together for the ultimate goal of making lives better for cows and their owners. Anklets worn by the cows exchange information with one another, creating an efficient mesh network. Information such as temperature, sound, and location are tracked and sent to the cloud. Through the use of an interactive web UI, users can easily access the processed data of each of their cows. What’s unique about Mooove compared to existing products is that not only does this keep the location and analyze the health of the animals, it also utilizes a complex algorithm to figure out what the animals’ social lives are like. Studies have shown that cows have best friends, and will get stressed if they are separated. Stress in turn may lead to lower milk production or health issues. By using Mooove, cow owners can take tracking to the next level, allowing them to increase increase production and the quality of life for their cows.

SAR Lynx (HazardnAssessment Fleet), University of Colorado Denver

Manmade and natural disasters, civil unrest and violence, call into light the increasing need for technological innovation in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). Before USAR personnel can enter a site to rescue victims, they must have critical information regarding (a) number, location, and condition of survivors, (b) maps of the scene, and (c) environmental conditions. This information is assembled by USAR operators into a “hazard assessment” which will guide USAR operations on that particular scene. The creation of this hazard assessment must be done, and cannot be neglected or shortened even if it is suspected that prompt rescue could save more lives. The Hazard Assessment Fleet (HAF) is a cooperative team of robots, deployable by first responders, that will autonomously provide a real-time 3D environmental map, live video, two-way communication, and environmental data. In this manner, the hazard assessment will be complete upon the USAR team’s arrival, significantly shortening the time from arrival on scene to active search and rescue. The robots will then also team with USAR personnel to monitor the scene, provide real-time updates, and assist in search operations, as directed by USAR personnel.

SCUBAssist, University of Pennsylvania

SCUBAssist is a semi-autonomous underwater vehicle that aims to be the ultimate SCUBA diving assistant by performing three main functions: scouting dive sites; autonomously following and recording video of a SCUBA Diver; and serving as an underwater navigation aid. Currently there is no single or economical solution that that assists divers with these tasks. To scout dive sites, the vehicle will be tethered to a surface controller that allows divers to view live underwater video. Divers can then determine dive conditions and whether the site is worth exploring. Once a dive site is selected, SCUBAssist can be un-tethered and used as an semi-autonomous videographer. The vehicle will triangulate the diver’s location and follow the diver via an acoustic beacon attached to the diver’s air tank. SCUBAssist will be compatible with a GoPro camera and will use a gimbal to stabilize the recorded video. A wrist controller will allow the diver to both control the vehicle’s relative position and camera. SCUBAssist will also be a navigational aid by referencing a pinger on the dive boat or start location to lead the diver along a route or back to the start location.

SHAF team, Portland State University

Having a device that can help individual maximizing the benefit gain from doing exercise and minimizing the probability of doing harmful exercise is very helpful and important in our modern life. Our team plans on creating a device that can be attached to parts of a user’s body to test the muscles’ activity level. Since doing a specific exercise can cause specific muscles on a human body act intensively, by looking at the measurement, users can know if they are performing the exercise correctly or not and if that exercise activates the correct muscle that they want to activate. In addition, if users are in a bad physical health condition and there are some muscles they are not allowed to be activate, the device can alert the users so that they can avoid doing harmful exercise. In order to alert users, LCD display and audio feedback would help the users know when they’ve done exercise correctly and if the exercise is right for them.

Suit Up!, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Mastering a new physical skill currently involves visual or verbal instruction and hours of practice; however, physical feedback could expedite this process. Our goal is to create a system that incorporates motion capture and real-time haptic feedback to streamline the learning process and give individuals more autonomy in physical training. To achieve this, we will develop Wearable Action Guidance (WAG) bands, which will be worn at strategic points along the hands, arms, and torso. Each of these bands will communicate its position and orientation to a central computer for processing and recording to a motion capture file. This file can be edited and then uploaded to a centralized library for further sharing. Later, another individual can choose an existing motion capture file and use the WAG bands to receive haptic feedback indicating deviations between his or her motion and the selected motion file. The software accompanying this device will include playback controls and basic editing capabilities, as well as a visual display to simulate recorded motions. We see our system being used as a teaching tool for those wanting to learn new physical skills.

TED – Translating Educational Device, Boston University

Modern communications have made the world a smaller place. Geography is not a limit to contacting people living in even the most remote places. One barrier that still exists, however, is the language barrier. T.E.D. (Translating Educational Device) seeks to address this communication barrier by promoting and fostering a generation of multilingual children. TED is a teddy bear toy with the primary function of teaching another language to children ages 3-5, the age at which children are most adept to becoming multilingual. TED is composed of custom hardware for sensing and imaging, natural language processing software for translating, and complete integration with the cloud. Additionally, a smartphone application allows the parent to change settings and view metrics tracking the child’s progress. Ultimately, TED is intended to teach children ages 3-5 another language by mirroring multilingual communication usually only provided in families with bilingual parents or guardians.

Terminator Arm, Howard University

This project seeks to create a relatively inexpensive 3D printed prosthetic arm that is controlled by electric action signals from the brain. The process of capturing these signals and translating them to hand motion is to be carried out by a Myo armband (using electromyography) and an Intel microcontroller board. We seek to create a prosthetic arm that can mimic basic hand gestures including finger extension and contraction, fist clench and palm spread. We also wish to design a prosthetic that is sensitive to unfavorable heat conditions and alerts the user of conditions that could potentially damage the prosthetic arm. Furthermore, we wish to build a prosthetic arm that gives a heads-up to its user about a low battery and is also easily removable for maintenance/comfort when sleeping etc. Finally, we wish to build a prosthetic arm with a higher degree of functionality than regular prosthetic arms in the market.

The Pyromaniacs, Purdue University

To commemorate the historic bicentennial anniversary of the statehood of Indiana, Purdue University has been contracted to develop a Smart Torch for the event. Our team is responsible for the development of a robust electronics system within the torch. The state-defined goals for the electronic functionality of the torch require inclusion of a flame control and safety mechanism and an ability to take pictures and videos, using a simple and elegant user-interface. The torch should also be able to communicate real time data about traversed location and send high definition picture/video across the World Wide Web to a server dedicated to the project, which will collect, process, and store the data in a central location. Our design implements the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) by utilizing the Intel Edison computing module as the core controller of the torch. This design is unique, as never before has a torch been developed with “smart” features. Additionally, due to the statewide exposure of the project, this project will have the opportunity to excite and inspire future generations of engineers and scientists throughout the state of Indiana.

Tufts Robotics, Tufts University

In the wake of an earthquake, the goal of first responders is to find and secure as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Our goal is to improve the effectiveness of rescue teams at rescuing earthquake survivors. We will accomplish this by designing and building an autonomous robot that will aid in the search process by finding and marking the locations of survivors in the area. Then rescue teams will be alerted of victims’ locations so that they can render help. In this way, the robot expands the possible search radius without any additional effort from the human response team. Robots that aid in search and rescue have been developed before, but none to date have been autonomous. Preexisting solutions require the attention of a human driver who might otherwise be aiding in the rescue effort. The main benefit of these kinds of robots is that they allow the exploration of hard to reach areas, whereas our robot is primarily concerned with increasing the efficiency of the search for survivors.

UCD UAV Team, University of California, Davis

Wireless sensors and sensor networks show a great potential in agricultural and environmental applications where persistent and pervasive sensing and monitoring are needed. Although technology development in this area has resulted in ever smaller and more capable sensors and processors, the limited battery life of unattended sensors remain an open challenge to practical implementation of wireless sensor networks over large areas. Adding to the problem is the requirement to transmit and received the sensed data over long distance. Autonomous and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide a promising solution to the above challenges. Low flying UAVs can be used to read data from a remote sensor within short distance therefore saving precious battery energy on the sensor. Our team intends to integrate a quadcopter with a data receiving system. The quadcopter will also have improved situational awareness and collision avoidance through on-board distance sensors.

Team Vispi, University of Pittsburgh

We offer a completely autonomous solution to the logistic challenges of parcel delivery in a residential setting. Our project seeks to minimize delivery time as well as eliminate human operator involvement. We seek to accomplish this through a fleet of drones that are deployed from a self-driving vehicle. The drones return to, communicate with, and get resupplied by the central vehicle, analogous to planes on an aircraft carrier. Similar solutions under development use only one drone, rely on a human pilot to control the drone either from a distant communication station or the central vehicle. By enabling the drone to autonomously determine its relative location and subsequent flight paths, we eliminate the need for a pilot. Combined with an autonomous vehicle capable of navigating through city streets and finding optimized delivery sequences, we arrive at an efficient delivery system requiring no manual human operation. Such an efficient system would increase the number of deliveries per hour by an order of magnitude, leading to the possibility of multiple runs to a residence in the same day. Once our proposed system becomes fully operational, the cost and time of deliveries will also be reduced to a fraction of the current system.

2016 Semifinalists

EnTech, University of Houston

A self-sustained, water purification system that can be cheaply made and effective in getting rid of bacteria and other unwanted viruses.

Green C3, Pennsylvania State University

In an effort to create a greener environment, our project addresses the problem of recycling garbage found in areas after events such as music festivals, football games, and other popular assemblies. The recycling rates need much improvement; many environmental organizations estimate only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled. The goal of our project is to build a low cost prototype of an autonomous multi-system composed of a drone, a ground station, and rovers that work together to clean a designated area. Specifically, the drone will provide aerial images that will be used by the ground station for intelligent coordination of the rovers. The rovers will be equipped with the ability to identify and collect waste. Furthermore, the ground station will provide image processing computation, command control, and communication. Our unique approach, inspired by the division of strategic and tactical systems often found in the military, overcomes the limitations of each individual systems by exploiting its strengths.

GUAVAS, University of Florida

Autonomous Autopilot System for a quad-copter using Waypoint.

Hermes, University of Pittsburgh

The purpose of this project is to create an autonomous aerial drone capable of evaluating an environment to determine an optimal location to deliver supplies. This device fulfills the needs of markets ranging from commercial delivery to search and rescue (SAR) teams. Additional functionality can also be added to specialize the product for certain markets. One proposed piece of additional functionality is the ability to autonomously detect human life and mark the location of the detection on a map for further action, which would be especially valuable to SAR teams.

K. Dots, University of Pennsylvania

Braille is a tool for empowerment. Text-to-speech devices are incredible aides to the visually impaired, but Braille literacy is crucial for independence and success. Just as students with sight struggle to learn solely through spoken word, visually impaired students need tactile resources to progress academically. Currently, only 10% of visually impaired students are being taught to read Braille, holding the visually impaired community back from educational advancement. To encourage educators and young learners to tackle these challenges early, our team proposes a low-cost, kid friendly e-reader. Unlike cost-preventative solutions like piezoelectric crystals, electro-mechanical actuation will allow for high-accuracy and durability at an
accessible price point. While refresh rates may not hold to the standards of an advanced braille reader, young learners simply need a device that encourages their education through displays of letters and vocabulary. By minimizing total parts, the device can stay affordable for students of all financial means. Paired with a qualified educator, a reliable low character display with a
moderate refresh rate is all a child needs to start his or her path to educational independence. We plan to enable these students by giving them access to their first tool towards a life of equality.

NoLeak, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Water leak detector utilizes cutting-edge audio signal processing skills to listen to the water pipe in fire hydrant and predict the existence/severity of the water leak.

OSU-ASCC, Oklahoma State University

The excessive use of authority by Police has created nationwide controversies in recent years and has become a root cause for violence and civil disorder in some states. To the rescue, body-worn cameras are being integrated in the day to day operation of Police forces among other measures. While this appears to be promising, there remains a number of challenges to fully utilize the technology. These include, privacy of citizens being recorded, easier querying of video segments and early warning of use of force. This project is aimed at building a smart body-worn camera which could solve the above problems and maximize the efficiency of the system. Our body-worn camera can be operated using voice commands and has the features: to automatically start recording videos upon detecting emergency situations, to inform civilians that they are being recorded, to label activities from the video segments and to localize and map an emergency scene and the officer. The system will be built using intel Edison board, a stereo camera, microphone and speaker, motion sensor and a GPS unit. The real time detection algorithms will be implemented on the Edison and labeling of video segments and storage will be implemented using cloud servers.

R2DR, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death for Americans over the age of 65. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 million people over the age of 65 are treated for fall related injuries each year. While there are many products for quick emergency response available such as Life Alert, Rescue Alert, and Quick Response Medical Alarm, these products do nothing to detect or predict a fall. However, recent advances in the fields of robotics and machine vision allow the detection of abnormal movements so that emergency services can be contacted before a fall occurs. The team proposes to accomplish this by developing a next generation, intelligent medical robotic system called R2DR – Robot to Detect and React to gait degradation. The team plans to utilize the iRobot Create 2 in conjunction with the Intel RealSense R200 3D camera to track and monitor the patient in their home. Data processing of patient movement will be handled on board the robot via the Intel NUC computer. By analyzing gait movement in real time, the R2DR will be able to accurately predict an imminent fall, and immediately contact medical or emergency services.

Roaming Spirit, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

With the rampant popularity of robots, more industries and individuals alike are entering the field of robotics. However, with a lack of funds and high level engineering knowledge/experience, many people will not be able to give life to robotic creations. Since localization and navigation are key aspects of an indoor mobile robot, we propose to create a sensor suite that abstracts the
hardware/software needed for indoor localization and navigation away from the developer.The sensor suite must be able to take in external information from its sensors, kinematic equations describing the motion of the robot, and a mission for the robot. This mission maybe to explore aimlessly, or to reach a certain point on a map. From the information, the suite must then process sensor data in context to the mission,and produce a series of moment commands for the robot.  Unlike other, similar solutions, this sensor suite must be able to process all gathered information on board, rather than needing to stream information to an external computer. This project will improve the capabilities of indoor mobile robotics in a lightweight, cost effective manner such that any development team – corporate or maker – can innovate.

Robot Mobility for Children, Georgia Institute of Technology

Toddlers with severe motor disabilities who are unable to develop the means to explore their surroundings may also be at risk for other delays or even impairments as a result of missing early learning experiences. Wheelchairs are not a viable solution for these young children as they are extremely expensive and insurance companies make it difficult for young children to be approved. However, research has shown that the navigation of a baby’s environment is crucial for brain development. Many times, children with motor impairments develop other functions more slowly (talking, learning, etc.) as a result of their lack of mobility. To fill this need, the team will be modifying commercially available, electric, ride-in toy cars with new control schemes and safety features that meet the special conditions of children with motor function disabilities. These control schemes will permit children with severe motor impairments to become mobile and explore their surroundings.

Smoke Sentinel, University of Rochester

A drone that will autonomously monitor an area for signs of a wildfire.

Thunder Dawgs, Southern Illinois University

In order to prevent potential power outages and to maintain expensive equipment, electrical utility companies spend millions of dollars every year on the dangerous and time-intensive labor needed to inspect high voltage power lines; however, with the proliferation of low cost, high quality drones and the miniaturization of both computer and sensor systems, there is significant opportunity for a market of products that will automate this process. The Thunder Dawgs seek to examine how modern automation technologies can be applied to power line integrity checks in the process of maintaining employee safety, minimizing cost, and maximizing efficiency. The proposed solution seeks to provide a configurable platform that can be mounted to a drone that includes a suite of visual and thermal cameras as well as a microprocessor-based development board that can be used in tandem to investigate power lines during a pre-programmed mission. In order to guarantee results by the conclusion of the project period, though, the scope of this proposed solution has been limited to the development of a set of algorithms capable of identifying
regions of power line degradation in pre-captured images and to the implementation of a small-scale test bench for the controlled testing of these algorithms.

Virtual Realty, Boston University

A revamped and reimagined version of the classic board game, Monopoly, where a single user is embedded in a virtual reality board game against computer players. The game includes not only the physical board which is traversed autonomously by robotic pieces, but also the virtual board, where the player can virtually explore the game board and surroundings. Both the physical board and the virtual game work in tandem to preserve all the
rules and components of the original Monopoly board game, while also giving the user the opportunity to explore the virtual world developed on the Oculus Rift through multiple vantage points. The virtual game will include visualization for the player’s properties, money, houses/hotels, and current board position. There will also be functions requiring user interface for rolling dice, reading Chance and Community Chest cards, buying properties, and exploring the game board through both a “bird’s-eye” view and a “walk-through” view.