Robotics Challenge News
2017.01.14 21:09 Pilwon Hur Edit
Last Fall semester 2016, it was my third time in a row teaching the stacked course of MEEN 408 (Introduction to Robotics) and MEEN 612 (Mechanics of Robotic Manipulator) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M. MEEN408/612 usually covered kinematics and dynamics of robotic manipulators in the first half of the semester and nonlinear control of the robot in the second half of the semester. Also, students presented class projects at the end of the semester. Based on the observation and experiences of the two past years, I had two issues.
- Nonlinear control part was too challenging for the most of the undergraduate students and fairly large amount of the graduate students. Obviously, some graduate students were very keen on learning nonlinear control theory, though.
- The quality of the class project was not satisfactory since students had hard times in implementing what they have learned from the class into hardware control problem and they didn't have much time left once they barely understand how to play with the hardware. FYI, there are tendencies that undergraduate students wanted to play with hardware control with Arduino and graduate students wanted to do simulations.
At the beginning of the Fall semester 2016, I decided to change the course a little bit as follows:
- Some of nonlinear controller design part were dropped. I covered these in MEEN655 (Design of Nonlinear Control System) in Spring 2016 and, maybe, these will be covered somehow in a new (so-called) "advanced robotics" next year.
- The class project was more systematically managed.
I decided to introduce students something that can be used in any robotics fields (e.g., industry or academia). It is true that Robot Operating System (ROS) is becoming the stardard in both academia and industry. ROS is a robotics framework that can facilitate the integration of many heterogeneous robots over the networks. And Beaglebone Black (BBB) is a very small single board computer that is very powerful for hardware control. BBB has 69 GPIO, 8 PWM, 3 Enhanced Quadrature Encoder Pulse (eQEP) Modules, 2 I2C, 7 Analog Inputs, and any other usual peripheries. The problems I had with ROS and BBB were that almost all students had no experiences on these. BBB also has 512MiB RAM, 1GHz AM335x ARM with an FP accelerator, 4GiB on-board flash AND and external SDcard slot, Ethernet, USB-Host, HDMI, 2 on-board fast programmable microprocessors (the PRUs, 200-MHz, 32-bit).
- ROS: Installation of ROS in BBB with Ubuntu
- ROS: Hello World w/ ROS
- ROS: Topic Example
- BBB: Control of Built-in LEDs
- BBB: GPIO and using C++
- BBB: ADC and C++
- BBB: PWM and C++
- BBB: eQEP (Quadrature Encoder)
- BBB: Combining all C++, making your own library
- ROS: Network setting
- BBB: Servomotor and C++
- BBB: DC Motor and C++, Integration of BBB and ROS
- Linear Algebra
- Forward and Inverse Kinematics
- Velocity Kinematics and Jacobian
- Path and Trajectory Planning
- Joint Control including (Normal, Robust, Adaptive) Inverse Dynamics and Passivity-based Control.
And, there's what each team did. Even though not every team could accomplish the tasks, I can say that the Challenge was successful. Beginning from this, I can expect a lot more exciting and challenging "Robotics Challenge" in the following years.
Please appreciate each team's preparation.
Here are the pictures and videos from the "Robotics Challenge" on 12/7/2016 at ENPH 301.
The video is at the end of this page.
The video is about 20-min long.
Team4: at 1:10
Team2: at 2:45
Team1: at 4:00
Team3: at 7:40
If you don't have time to watch all, I recommend jumping to 7:40.