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Robots

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Intelitek Sponsors NH Cyber Robotics Coding Competition

New Hampshire Department of Education and Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF) Join Forces to announce the NH Cyber Robotics Coding Challenge.

Oct 17, Derry, NH – Intelitek are excited to announce co-sponsorship in the launch of the New Hampshire – Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (NH-CRCC). Open to all middle schools and high schools in New Hampshire, this virtual robotics competition gives  students the opportunity to experience coding and robotics first hand.
The NH-CRCC recognizes inclusiveness and diversity in STEM education, capitalizing on this opportunity and get as many students involved as possible.

“This event perfectly complements other work being done in NH to promote and support K-12 STEM education, including our Robotics Education initiative and our work to broaden participation in Engineering and Computer Science,” said Frank Edelblut, Commissioner. “We are excited to work with a NH-based company that is doing so much for K-12 education.”

“Robotics and coding is a pathway to industry in the 21st century,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek in Derry, NH. “The CRCC Competition, combined with the gaming like interface of CoderZ makes coding and robotics fun. We expect to see the New Hampshire students loving this new approach to learning math, science, technology and engineering and are proud to work with our local schools on this event.”

Schools can sign up all grades and the competition will kick off on October 30th with a Webinar / PD session.CRCC-NHPic-03

The main competitive event will be an online competition taking place during Computer Science Week (December 4-10). This will all culminate on December 19th with face-to-face finals to compete for the Governor’s Award and award ceremony for all category winners.
For school registration and additional information please visit: http://iscefoundation.org/nh-crcc


Purdue College of Technology Enhances Curriculum with Competition

Extra-curricular robotics challenge enhances cross-disciplinary curriculum at Purdue University

Purdue Kokomo

What happens when you take a little inspiration mixed with some competitive challenge, add some vendor support, then toss in some motivated students? It’s a recipe for success in engineering programs as proven by Purdue College of Technology Kokomo. What started off as an extra-curricular robotics challenge has evolved into a full-blown multidisciplinary engineering course that will debut this fall.

A Challenge for Faculty and Students

The seeds of this initiative were planted when members of Purdue Kokomo attended an ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conference. A demo at the conference gave the faculty the idea to design a student activity based on a robotics football contest.

They discussed the idea with Paul Copioli, President of VEX. Realizing the potential of the idea, VEX contributed a variety of Vex parts to help initiate the project. Thus the challenge was issued between Purdue College of Technology Kokomo and University of Notre Dame to design and build a team of football-playing robots and compete in an NFL style “combine”.

The combine would test specific robotic “skills” by means of individual events, testing the robot speed, agility, strength and robustness. The skill events would be followed by the teams competing in a scrimmage designed after American football.

The challenge appealed to students on various degree pathways, including Computer and Information Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

The challenge would be achieved using the VEX robotics platform and EasyC programming software as tools. Students held weekly meetings to discuss designs. They were required to develop design specifications and justifications for the design they chose. After a couple of months of training and design meetings, the students completed a working prototype.

Purdue Kokomo Football Prototype

Game Day

The big event was held at the University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center in April 2014. Five teams participated: Purdue-Kokomo, The U.S. Naval Academy, University of Notre Dame, Purdue-Calumet, and Purdue-South Bend.

Purdue Kokomo Football Combine

Purdue-Kokomo won both the speed and the agility tests, while Navy won the strength test. The scrimmage featured Purdue-Kokomo and Navy teamed up against Notre Dame, with the Kokomo/Navy team defeating Notre Dame 14-0.

Purdue Kokomo Football Speedtest

Read the game story at Purdue website!

A Course is Born

The real winners resulting from the event were the current and future students at Purdue. Since this extracurricular activity was so successful, it has given birth to an entirely new class: “Design of Robotic Systems”. This class will help prepare students for the activity by covering the design principles involved. Topics will include designing mobile robots to accomplish specified performance objectives, developing robotic subsystems, and robotic programming. Throughout the course, students learn the system development process, including planning, documentation, prototyping, testing, and analysis.

The course will be taught by faculty from all four academic areas and will be offered in fall of 2014. This is an excellent example of the value of extra-curricular activities in motivating students and enabling them to take ownership of their educational experience.



Mike Rowe and Mobile Robotics at SkillsUSA!

2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2360

SkillsUSA is calling this years National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever – and we would have to agree!

This year, Intelitek’s Automated Manufacturing Technology contest was made a closer replication of the industrial environment. Teams created virtual parts with our CNCMotion software before moving on to the hands-on production with our ProMill 8000. This modification to the contest received great feedback from the competitors and advisors.

The Robotics and Automation contest also ran smoothly again this year with the Puerto Rico team earning the High School Gold Medal and North Arkansas College earning the Post Secondary Championship.

At the Mobile Robotics field, we received a terrific surprise when Mike Rowe, a perennial supporter of CTE and SkillsUSA (also of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame), visited the Mobile Robotics competition!

Trevor Pope, Intelitek’s Product Manager and Mobile Robotics competition committee member spent over an hour with Mr. Rowe in the Mobile Robotics contest area showing him what we do. Along with help from RECF, we built him a robot and created a mini competition against the Massachusetts team, which uses EasyC. Mike named the robot “Micro / Macro” and autographed the shielding.
2014-07_SkillsUSA_Rowe_2218

Best yet, Intelitek will be featured on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It“! The program is expected to air on CNN in October. This will provide extensive publicity to Intelitek’s REC program and EasyC on a national news network!

Working with Mr. Rowe at SkillUSA was great fun, and were glad to be a part of the work he does in creating awareness of the awesome opportunities that exist for students in career and technology education!
See our Facebook page for more pictures!


VEX Skyrise – Lessons from Team 1103!

VEX Round Up Champion Team 1103 – Compound Chain Lifting Mechanism

With the release of the 2014 VEX SkyRise challenge , mechanisms and strategies for lifting are a hot topic among potential competitors! We have fielded many inquiries about the lifting mechanism from Team 1103’s robot which won the 2010 championship. 1103 is one of the most successful VEX robot designs and lifting mechanisms ever created! No doubt there are some excellent lessons and principles in the design of the 1103 robot that could apply to Skyrise.

Vex Team 1103 robot

Team 1103 is a rarity – a one man team. Joshua Wade – whom we interviewed in 2011 – is the sole team member. Team 1103 has won several regional contests and awards including the 2010 VEX robotics Programming Skills Challenge World Champion and the 2011 Vex Robotics National Champion for the 2010-2011 Round Up season.

Design

The 1103 robot uses a compound chained linear slide lifting mechanism reaching 40″ high. The base of the claw lifts to 23″ off the ground. Principles of this lifting design as well as other lifting concepts are available in Intelitek’s Robotics Engineering Curriculum (REC 2 Unit 11 – Lift Systems).

The purely vertical multiple-stage lift uses 17.5″ slides cut to 15″ and operates using a total of six 269 motors coupled in three sets of two motors. Each motor is linked to a single output shaft with a 1:1 ratio.
REC 1 Unit 3 – Gears and Gear Trains explains the physics principles involved in designing gears and gear trains. The output gearing is reduced with 2 sets of 1-1.5 reductions using 12, 18 and 24-toothed cogs. These motors and gears provide enough power to lift the entire robot off the ground.

VEX Team 1103 robot lift mechanism

1103 motors, cogs and chain drive

Programming

The exceptional programming was performed using Intelitek’s EasyC V4 for Cortex programming software. The intuitive environment of EasyC allows users to quickly learn skills needed to become an advanced programmer.

The 1103 robot program utilizes PID control giving the ability to hold the lifting mechanism using feedback from a quadrature encoder and limit switch which control the position of the lift. Wade wrote the program using the easyC sample file “PID Interrupt Service Routine” modified for the quadrature encoder. PID control loops hold the arm position at six different increments giving the operator quick and easy points to maintain elevation of the arm and hold the ring pick up position. This delivers the ability to score (and de-score) on both the floor weeble goals and wall goal posts, offering excellent application for the Skyrise challenge!

Team 1103 is a great example of the unlimited potential students have when engaged and motivated by their educational environment. The success shows that competitive robotics is the means of providing that environment for many more students.

You can check out the 1103 robot in person at our upcoming events, including the SkillsUSA National Championship June 25th and 26th in Kansas City, Mo!

Get your free trial! A full-featured 7-day trial of easyC V4 for Cortex is available here!

Try easyC!


The Matlab Toolbox for the Intelitek Scorbot (MTIS)

An open-source solution for robust integration of the SCORBOT-ER 4u in MATLAB development environments

Intelitek’s SCORBOT line of robots has dominated the educational scene for the past two decades. These versatile articulated robot manipulators for education include the intuitive SCORBASE programming environment. The ability to enable control in any programming language provides advantages, especially in post-secondary settings.

Visit the developers page to learn about and download the MTIS Toolbox!

To that end, Professors Joel Esposito, Carl Wick and Ken Knowles at the United States Naval Academy Systems Engineering Department’s RaVision Group recently developed the MATLAB Toolbox for the Intelitek SCORBOT (MTIS). This open-source toolbox enables user to control the SCORBOT directly using MATLAB®, a high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming used by millions of engineers in both industry and education.

A new study presents in-depth research and findings of the development and usage of the MTIS. The article describes the development process and the toolbox’s features, detailing how the toolbox was beta tested in an introductory robotics class and tested for capability with various projects.

The research included three benchmark tests to compare the old SCORBOT serial interface with new USB interface:

    • Encoder readings: the mean time was observed to measure the joint angles across 1000 trials.
    • Movement time: the mean time was recorded to execute 10cm vertical motion with a desired movement time of 1 second, averaged across 60 moves.
    • Sequences of motions: 100 random motion commands were sent to the SCORBOT and the number of missed commands were recorded (note: unlike with the older RS232 interface, there we no missed motions with the ER 4U).

Below: 3 projects highlighted in the study: Towers of Hanoi Puzzle, Defusing and IED, and Cup Crushing.

MATLAB SCORBOT projects

At the end of a semester-long class, students were asked to rate ease of use and stability of the toolbox. For ease of use, the majority rated “easy” on a scale of “very easy,” “easy,” “moderate,” and “hard.” For stability, the majority responded that the SCORBOT was “rock solid” or “stable after bug fixes.”

Excellent projects have been completed using the MTIS, like the example below:


See more projects completed with the MTIS on YouTube!

Ultimately, it was confirmed that the Intelitek SCORBOT-ER 4U could be successfully incorporated into the environment of the MATLAB toolbox. The toolbox can handle the low-level interfacing, allowing instructors with little expertise to integrate the SCORBOT-ER 4u into robust lab exercises. Being open-source, this capability is available to any MATLAB-licensed facility. This opens a whole new door to opportunities for post-secondary students interested in science and engineering, with market leading, widely available development environment like MATLAB.

Have an example of a MATLAB integrated SCORBOT project? Let us know – we’d love to show it off!


2011 SkillsUSA Recap

This year’s 2011 Skills USA Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, was very
exciting! The students were prepared, they were energized and proved to be
GREAT competitors. This year’s AMT (Automated Manufacturing Technology)
challenge was a five piece game based after the childhood classic Connect-4
game.

SkillsUSA Connect4 project

After drawing the part and generating the CAM (Computer Integrated
Manufacturing) CNC code, they then prepared blank stock and made the parts.
This year’s challenge included the 5 part assembly. Those students who finished
the 5 parts, turned them in and got a change order for the top (the sixth
part).

In talking with one of the teams, I learned they competed last year and were
coming back for medals this year. This team event tests the skills these
students have under pressure while competing with the best in the nation. These
student’s have the right stuff! They are going to work and on for more
schooling to keep America competitive. For those who haven’t been to a National
Skills Leadership Competition (NSLC), seeing is believing. Pictures are good
but do yourself a favor, get there. There are over 18 acres of competitions on
just one of the floors with students competing on skills challenges from
Carpentry, Household Wiring, Masonry, to Cosmetology, Nail Care, Culinary Arts,
Automotive Body Repair, Robotics and Automation and Automated Manufacturing.
These are the skills that keep America moving!

Intelitek was the primary industry sponsor at this year’s Robotics and
Automation competition at the NLSC, providing 11 ER 4u robotic workcells for
students to compete with over a two day period. “This two person team
competition is exciting for us to host”, says David Crowell, Regional Sales
Manager for Intelitek and National Chairman of the Robotics and Automation
Competition. This competition tests the students ability to design, layout,
wire, program and prove the best solution for a workcell project. This year the
teams implemented the use of a pallet system to move parts around the workcell.
Teams were interviewed and had to present to a technical committee their
designs. This was done in a design review process and we were assisted by teams
of engineers from Honeywell who are based in Kansas City.

For more information about SkillsUSA, please visit www.skillsusa.org