Demobots is one of RAS’s non-competitive committees, where RAS members can get involved in a variety of student led robotics projects. This semester we have made progress on our long term projects and set up some interactive demos for outreach events.
One of our long term projects, the moving couch base, is in the final stages of a redesign. The couch will run on a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and we will include both a physical controller and a bluetooth app to control the movement. We have designed the mechanical and electrical components in CAD, created our parts list, and finished a draft of the software for the motor drivers and user controllers. Next, we plan to construct the moving base and begin testing.
Couch Base CAD
We have also been working on our IoT projects, a polargraph drawing machine and small dancing robots. These projects include some form of motor control and a wireless user interface. We have been using these projects to look at different forms of IoT control, and this semester we worked on systems that involve HTTP communication and web servers. In the past, the drawing machine has been an HTTP client connected to a device manager web server hosted on another machine. This semester, we used ESP32 microcontrollers with FreeRTOS to host the web server and WiFi access point on the device itself, to make this more portable for RAS outreach events. This allows us to turn on the polargraph or dancing robot, connect to the access point, and access a control interface from any browser without additional setup.
Polargraph Circit Diagram
Dancing Robot Web Interface
In addition, we have continued work on the IGVC (Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition) robot from last year, which is an autonomous vehicle that can move outdoors. We are working on software with ROS (Robotics Operating System) and the vehicle uses image processing, lidar, and GPS to navigate. We have finished the overall design and started construction.
Author: Cole Thompson