Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Development of a Collaborative Robotics Platform for Undergraduate Research and Education

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Electrical Engineering; Computer Science

Minor

Math; Systems Engineering

Institution 22-23

Western Kentucky University

KY House District #

19

KY Senate District #

32

Department

WKU SEAS (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)

Abstract

To recruit and engage undergraduate STEM students in southern Kentucky, the WKU Center for Energy Systems (CES) initiated a new line of research on autonomous and collaborative robotics systems as part of the NSF KAMPERS grant. In the last four years, the Center has engaged over 25 undergraduate engineering students in the hands-on development of these systems. It has showcased its work on tours for nearly 800 prospective high school students. A strategic technology roadmap was developed and implemented using various educational mobile robots, incrementally increasing the size and scope for each robot every year.

The current research includes the development of a semi-autonomous item delivery robotic cart and developing algorithms that visually identify and locate objects in relative space, with the target application being the delivery of medicine and important items within a hospital. The autonomous cart utilizes SLAM, a LiDAR (laser) sensor system, to generate a map of its surroundings and locate itself within it to determine the best path to a specific waypoint and travel to that waypoint. The cart is also capable of identifying and avoiding obstacles in front of it using an RGBD (color and depth) camera as well as computer vision software. The object localization algorithm has been developed for a robotic arm while mounted on the autonomous cart. Using an innovative algorithm, the arm can determine the position, rotation, and additional information about an object in the field of vision of the camera at the end of the arm, enabling the arm to find and move specific items, such as medicine, regardless of orientation.

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Development of a Collaborative Robotics Platform for Undergraduate Research and Education

To recruit and engage undergraduate STEM students in southern Kentucky, the WKU Center for Energy Systems (CES) initiated a new line of research on autonomous and collaborative robotics systems as part of the NSF KAMPERS grant. In the last four years, the Center has engaged over 25 undergraduate engineering students in the hands-on development of these systems. It has showcased its work on tours for nearly 800 prospective high school students. A strategic technology roadmap was developed and implemented using various educational mobile robots, incrementally increasing the size and scope for each robot every year.

The current research includes the development of a semi-autonomous item delivery robotic cart and developing algorithms that visually identify and locate objects in relative space, with the target application being the delivery of medicine and important items within a hospital. The autonomous cart utilizes SLAM, a LiDAR (laser) sensor system, to generate a map of its surroundings and locate itself within it to determine the best path to a specific waypoint and travel to that waypoint. The cart is also capable of identifying and avoiding obstacles in front of it using an RGBD (color and depth) camera as well as computer vision software. The object localization algorithm has been developed for a robotic arm while mounted on the autonomous cart. Using an innovative algorithm, the arm can determine the position, rotation, and additional information about an object in the field of vision of the camera at the end of the arm, enabling the arm to find and move specific items, such as medicine, regardless of orientation.