R&D Case Study: Developing the OptiGap Sensor System

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Update: You can follow the discussion of this article around the web on HN, Adafruit, Hackaday, and Hackster.io!

This article explores the research and development journey behind my new sensor system, OptiGap, a key component of my PhD research. I’m writing this in a storytelling format to offer insights into my decision-making process and the evolution leading to the final implementation. It should hopefully provide a glimpse into the sometimes-shrouded world of PhD research and may appeal to those curious about the process. For a deeper dive into technical specifics, simulations, and existing research on this subject, my dissertation is available online here.

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Designing an Advanced Autonomous Robot: Goose

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Update: This article was featured on Hackaday.com and on SDP/SI’s “Featured People and Organizations” page.

Goose is a mobile autonomous robot I designed and built over 6 months in my spare time for a robotics competition. This was a fully custom and challenging build that tested my competence in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, control systems, and computer science.

Instead of focusing heavily on the competition, the goal of this article is to briefly go through the system design process. I’ll touch on my various design choices and discuss how I chose to address some of the common issues in designing an autonomous robot. This is not a tutorial (those will be coming later) but more of a case study.

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ModBot: A Modular Robotics Test Platform

Reading Time: 4 minutes

ModBot is a simple robotics platform created for testing sensors, algorithms, vision systems, and everything else in between. I designed this platform with modularity in mind (thus the name) which requires the compartmentalization of behaviors and functions into discrete and, ideally, interchangeable modules. Since this is an experimental platform I opted not tie it to ROS (even though it still uses a Linux environment so ROS can be used) and created a very simple ASCII protocol for communication between modules. Lastly, I added teleoperation capabilities using a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller.

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