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Showing posts from 2011

Robots and a Kinect

As part of MIT's 6.141 robotics course , we were challenged in teams to create autonomous robots that could navigate a space while collecting blocks and ultimately deploy those blocks to form some sort of structure (see: background and details ). The approach that my team took for the grand challenge was an ambitious one: create a fleet of diversified but simple robots that cooperate to gather and stack blocks. These “worker” robots are meant to be extremely simple remote-control vehicles that are commanded by a sensory “mothership” robot. The primary motivation was to develop a system that could parallelize tasks and capitalize on the agility of using smaller robots (for example, improved maneuverability in tight spaces). Our original design consisted of three “worker” robots: an agile gatherer that could grasp and carry a block, a dump truck that could carry multiple blocks, and a slow-but-precise stacker robot that could create block towers up to six blocks tall. The wo

Building a party lighting system

One of the coolest things about MIT is the wide range of opportunities to work on awesome projects outside of class. I'm on the executive board of a fairly new student group called Next Make . Next Make is a collection of motivated engineers in my dorm - Next House - with a mission of furthering Mens et Manus at MIT. We want to practice and teach hands-on engineering skills that build upon our collective past experience in order to learn and build really cool stuff! Over the past semester, and especially culminating at the beginning of February, I helped organize the design and construction of an amazing LED party lighting system for our dorm with Next Make. At the beginning, our goal was exactly that statement: "we want to build a really awesome LED party lighting system for our dorm." This was an admittedly broad goal, so during the semester we refined the idea into a detailed design that could actually be implemented. (On a sidenote, another cool thing abou