Recent Projects: Industrial Design and Automation
Bottom Bots Marine Bio-Fouling Removal Tool
Team: Kayla Davidson, Laura King, Thomas Mattimore, June Shangguan, Laura Woodman
Sponsor: Matt Strand
Advisor: Christopher Levey
Bio-fouling on submerged surfaces increases drag, reducing the speed and maneuverability of boats and increasing fuel consumption. Current cleaning methods are expensive, harm the environment, and are being banned or outlawed in an increasing number of areas. The Bottom Bots aims to fulfill the need for a less costly environmentally friendly method of preventing fouling buildup with an automated cleaning robot. The Bottom Bots adhere to the boat hull, cleaning the hull while collecting the extra algae through suction. They are remote controlled and portable. They target early, easily removed bio-fouling growth before barnacles and more mature growth can occur.
Feature Data Extraction For Use With SLAM
Unmanned vehicles present the possibility of autonomous operation but are limited by their dependence on GPS. The method of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) is a viable solution to this problem but requires real-time feature data about the vehicle's environment. Our sponsor has developed an unmanned micro-aerial vehicle called the InstantEye that will operate autonomously with SLAM. However the SLAM algorithms do not have access to robust information about the vehicle's surroundings. Our project was to develop an integrated hardware and software solution compliant with the specifications of PSI's InstantEye. Our solution had to incorporate a robust algorithm that is capable of detecting, extracting, and tracking critical features and is computationally efficient enough to run on their limited resource microprocessor. Our project had five components: hardware, device drivers (hardware support libraries), image capture software, feature detection and extraction software, and feature tracking software.
Manufacturing And Business Process Optimization
Graphicast needed a model capable of measuring its production capacity and determining when and what changes will be needed to meet future customer demand. We constructed a current-state value-stream map to quantify the path of an average part through casting, machining, and packing. We determined that machining was the constraint in part production and that the labor utilization rate had the largest impact on capacity. We concluded that standardizing cleanup at the end of each machining shift would be the most effective change. We developed and implemented a chart outlining four scenarios with unique cleanup instructions. After implementation, Graphicast collected four weeks of data and found a projected increase of 1,300 parts per year. We also developed a robust value-stream model in Excel that will allow Graphicast to easily perform similar analyses in the future.
Spatial Data Extraction System
Spatial data mining captures diverse but coherent spatial data from the Internet and organizes them into relevant spatial output. Currently Maponics manually collects spatial data for new products and needs an automated data collection method. We decided that developing customized automated software is the best solution. The software is a complete working prototype that allows users to specify any venue type and attributes, automatically scrapes information from the DBpedia database, and fills in missing information by a hybrid of reverse geocoding (finding city and state information from latitude and longitude) and natural language processing. The software outputs a data table with associated attributes, which could be used to create map files. In all test cases provided by our sponsor, our software achieved the specifications with considerable time saved.
Spectro-Scatter Testing System For Optical Filters
Chroma Technology Corporation needs a device to measure transmitted scatter through its optical filters as a function of wavelength. The system needs to obtain the spectrum within an hour. We assembled a spectro-scattermeter that can gather scatter signal even in blocking regions of the optical filter. The spectro-scattermeter also features new exit and detector port peripherals with improved background signal reduction. The project has proven the feasibility of a spectro-scattermeter that is sensitive enough to meet all the sponsor's specifications.
Torch Height Control For Robotic Plasma Cutting
The requirement that a plasma torch must be maintained at a specified distance (torch standoff height) from the work piece is problematic when the work piece is non-planar. Our sponsor wants to make torch height controlled plasma-cutting systems compatible with multi-axis robotic arms. We designed and fabricated two prototype iterations capable of producing quality cuts with a live plasma arc. Testing showed that the device meets the sponsor's requirements, and the team expects that, with minor adjustments to the design, the torch height control mechanism will be ready for manufacture.