Posts Tagged ‘RHIT’

Dear Old Rose

Posted: May 28, 2012 in News
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My 4 years at Rose-Hulman have come to an end. While saying good bye is always hard, it is also an exciting time. This fall my brother, Anthony, will begin at Rose and I will begin work on my Ph.D. at the University of Florida.

As you may know, this spring the Rose-Hulman family suffered a great loss. Matt Branam, the President of Rose-Hulman, passed suddenly on April 20th. As you might see from the picture above, the degrees were issued with Matt’s name. This is a great memorial to his life. In addition to all the degrees, all the seniors wore pins that said “Make it happen. Make it fun.”

In just under a week I head out to Microsoft in Redmond, Washington to work on Xbox this summer.  I will never forget my time at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and I look forward to coming back on homecoming!

This project has kind of been a secret, but it seems to be nearing completion and I really want to share it. For Christmas my parents got me an iRobot Create. I am a huge fan of the Arduino and wanted to get a shield for it. I soon discovered that there were no good shields for the Create so I set about making my own. After several revisions (and some magic blue smoke) I finally have a working board. I have not populated all the features of the latest revision (Rev. C) yet, but I do have status LEDs and basic serial communication working. What does my shield do? This board provides power LEDs for all major power supplies coming from the Create, it also allows the Arduino to monitor the battery level. There are header’s for the Create’s built in I/O as well.

While the board is working correctly, it is not quite perfect. The big issue is that there is a ton of heat coming from the Arduino. This is from the voltage regulator. I am well within tolerance, but linear voltage regulators are known to put off a ton of heat. I plan to add some voltage regulation to the shield so it does not put so much strain on the built in Arduino regulator.

So now for the bad news (or good news depending on how you look at it). Tomorrow I leave to go to Australia. I am going to Rose-Hulman’s Oakley Southern Sky Observatory in New South Whales, Australia. That means I will not be working on this shield for a about a week (or other NXT projects). I will be blogging some of the images from my trip. Another hobby of mine is Astronomy. Last year I wrote some software to control our observatory. Think of it as a really big (super expensive) robot. In addition to doing some work at the Rose-Hulman Observatory, I will also be visiting Siding Springs Observatory, located just a few miles away.

My senior design project has made some great progress. Besides all the software we have written, we have now officially mechanically integrated our robotic arm with our NI DaNI base. There are still some minor issues to work out, but the majority of the work is done. In the new year, we will be working on creating a demo to show off the robot’s flexibility. We will be posting a video with the new, integrated system working after classes resume in January. Since we have a fair bit of time (about 2 months) remaining, we plan to go hog wild on this project. If its worth doing, it worth over-doing, right?


We are entering the final stages of robot assembly and test. Last week, DaNI got a line following sensor from Parallax. This sensor is much like the Mindsensors Line Leader for LEGO MINDSTORMS. It has 8 IR light sensors that see the difference between the ground a line. We have a PID loop running on the FPGA on the NI Single-Board RIO to control out line following. Basically a PID loop helps us correct for not following the line correctly by using the error of our sensor measurements to determine which direction we need to move. To learn more about PID, wikipedia has a great article!
Also, Jason, one of my teammates, has finished the Inverse Kinematics for the arm. I have integrated the arm control into the motor drive train. The arm is scheduled to be mounted by Monday. After that we just need to physically validate our software drive model and we are done! Check out our video below!

My Senior Design Project at Rose-Hulman is integrating a kinematic robotic arm on the National Instruments Robotics Starter Kit (DaNI). DaNI is small mobile robotics platform based on NI SingleBoardRIO and Tetrix. We are working with the arm and DaNI as two separate systems right now and plan to integrate it in December. We spent the last few weeks working on constructing and controlling the arm. All software done in LabVIEW! Check out the video below to see our progress!

This is a busy time of year for me. I have a few major events in the next few weeks! First, if you are in Terre Haute, this coming Saturday is the Rose-Hulman Homecoming. The LEGO MINDSTORMS Space Shuttle and some other bots will be on display at the new Student Innovation Center. The very next day those bots will be paying a visit to the Terre Haute Children’s Museum to celebrate their first birthday in the new building!

If that wasn’t enough, Brickworld Fort Wayne is only a week away! You can come by and check out all my robots. If you want more information on Brickworld, check out! There are a few more in late October and November so stay tuned for more details!

On the road again…

Posted: August 21, 2011 in News
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This past week and next week I will be transitioning back to RHIT. However, once things calm down I will have a few posts to share. I have a completed NXSheild video, new NI myDAQ projects, reviews of the HP Touchpad and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. In addition, I have almost completed a new LEGO MINDSTORMS project and have some cool Beagle and Panda board projects. Wow thats a lot. It has been a busy summer!
I will try to post some things over the next week. Sorry for the lack of activity!