Friday, April 23, 2010

UNT Robotics Society

Recently I paid a visit to the UNT Robotics society. A Jolly group of engineering students and graduates who like robots. They showed me a bunch of things they were working on and even invited me to join!

Not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but definitely shows off the guts of the project

This is the Self-aware Coke-Mobile, as I've just now decided to dub it that. It's a work-in-progress autonomous remote control car. What it does is navigate through hallways and avoid objects by itself. Given the correct programming in a language called Spin - a multitasking high level computer programming language, it uses something called a Parallax Propeller Chip to interpret sensor data and Spin commands. At least, I think that's a pretty accurate description.

Today in particular was a pretty exciting day for the Robotics Society, as they've just received a golf cart:
It's so that new members can use it to run errands around Discovery Park for them...

Nah it's actually their newest guinea pig of sorts. They plan on hacking this thing apart and installing some new toys onto it. What they plan on doing with it is akin to DARPA's autonomous vehicle challenge. They're going to attempt to upgrade this thing to be totally autonomous, and be able to navigate Discovery Park, while avoiding obstacles, pedestrians, walls, polls, and what have you. It takes quite a bit of knowledge in computer science, but the feat is definitely worth bragging about.