Archives for: June 2008


Permalink 08:50:58 am, by Martin Davis Email , 231 words, 980 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Its been a while ...

To update my progress further, the smURVs can follow one another around the halls about 11:00 am everyday.

So lets talk about my next project. Basically, Prof. Jenkins wants to see if I can set up an XO-1 laptop on a roomba and have it run player client programs because that will create a robot platform for $350. So not only will the every child with a latop program grow, but now robotics can start to be done for half the cost of the platforms we have here at Brown. He had the laptop configured to run playerjoy. I have tried to connect to the laptop remotely, and no luck. The connection times out, but the transmission speed is only 2 mbps. So now I have to run the client locally. I transfered over a simple client and still no luck.:( Jesse mentions I might have to learn python in order to get the roomba moving with a client. I found that interesting because I though all language code was transformed into machine code, but I guess some languages won’t run on some linux distros. So now its time for me to learn another language and hopefully have the roomba running. Also the laptop has a built in camera, so hopefully I will get that working with player as well.:D

More is definitely on the the way, so I will keep you posted.


Permalink 04:11:51 pm, by Jessica Jones Email , 21 words, 44100 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Just a quick question....

How do you upload a picture onto your profile? I’ve been looking, but maybe I missed it.

Thanks for the help!

Permalink 11:34:29 am, by Alvin Barton Email , 302 words, 1120 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Learning What "Trying Your Best" Truly Is

Well, now I’ve getting to the point where I’m getting to do some actual python coding. Last Thursday I “busted my head” for 11 hours straight. Pardon the term, it’s just a saying that me and guys back home use for whenever we get a little too immersive. I only stopped for food, which took me about 10 minutes to finish, then I went right back to it. After finally going to sleep, I awoke early Friday morning (more like later Friday morning) just as determined. A lot of people in the dorms thought that I never went to sleep, because I was in the study room when they turned in, and I was in there when they got up. I hate to say that my body gave out on me that afternoon, and I still never reached my goal, even through the weekend. I don’t like not being able to finish what I start. I realize that it’s a part of being human, but it still makes me feel like a failure. Some say as long as you tried your best then your alright. I was brought up to always finish, even if your last, just finish. You might not make it as fast as the first, but you made it just as far. As crazy as they may drive me, I like challenges that maybe just a little out of reach. They show you what you really got under the hood and they give you a peak into your own soul. In that sense, I guess that really was my best. All I can do is take it as a learning experience, and use it for the future so that I’m that much more prepared for the next task at hand. Then, I’m already that much closer to already finishing that one.

Permalink 09:21:56 am, by Jessica Jones Email , 84 words, 63840 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

My first week

Hi! I’m Jessica, a rising sophomore. Im doing my summer REU at Carnegie Mellon University working in the People and Robots Program on the behaviors of the SnackBot. Since I arrived, I have learned the basics of the Python programming language and have applied it to writing a simple behavior for a robot. Although I started out slow, I think I am catching on. Now, I’m going to begin working on buttons and the like.

Well, hit the books….. rather the online tutorials!

Permalink 12:23:07 am, by Aaron Jones Email , 126 words, 962 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Additions for last blogs and update

Hello again! I am very late with the video I talked about uploading in my last blog. Lately, the research has been coming fairly well. I am now able to write code to have the robosapien do tasks autonomously. The hardest portion of this now is getting it to do things related to health and child care, that will be beneficial for others. There isn’t much time left but I hope to make significant progress over the next few weeks as I prepare for my presentation. The robosapien, because of the way it is built, has very limited ability and many things that could be done, can’t be done because of it.

Check out the video on youtube:


Permalink 07:03:34 pm, by Glenn Nickens Email , 164 words, 925 views   English (US)
Categories: General


Hi everyone! My name is Glenn Nickens. I am a graduate student a Norfolk State University, majoring in Computer Science. I did my undergraduate work a The University of the District of Columbia. During the summer of 2006, as a rising senior, I was introduced to Tekkotsu, a robotics programming platform. And I have been working with it ever since. Last summer during my internship at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute Dr. Touretzky, Ethan Tira-Thomson and I built a prototype robot named ‘Regis’ ( ). The need for Regis was primarily due to the fact that Sony had stopped creating the AIBO Dogs, which is what Tekkotsu was initially developed for. Now Tekkotsu supports various robots, like Regis, and some others like the Qwerkbot+. This summer I once again have the privilege to working with Dr Touretzky and Ethan. We are working on developing path planning algorithms for a 3 link arm. At least that is where we are starting.


Permalink 11:32:27 pm, by Jonecia Keels Email , 31 words, 1482 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Servo Problems

June 17-21

Well I decided to change things up and make a video to better demonstrate and explain what I am doing so far with the Manoi AT01.


Permalink 04:00:17 pm, by Michael Price Email , 218 words, 782 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Next time....week 2

Overwhelmed with anticipation and excitement I smile through my first week. They have already taught me how to wire the robotic responsive flowers that run using the querk robot controller. They also showed me how to wire, solder and build the supporting cases for the canary robots. To most that would sound exciting, to me it felt more like busy work compared to the next lesson topic, PROGRAMMING. The first day of programming almost reminded me of my first day at college. While skimming through the massive lines of codes a few lines had familiar topics. The admiration for the authors of the code filled my eyes and the excitement of the challenge filled my heart as I began the tremendous step in my knowledge of writing and understanding code. After instructions on how to compile and load the firmware on the canary circuit boards I began learning how the program worked. I asked questions, played around with the different code structures till I built a familiarity with the program. I knew that the PHD students had begun to have faith in my talent when they gave me my first programming assignment. The new style canaries had a different type of button which wasn’t working with the old program. Curtis, find a solution. So until next time…..


Permalink 03:33:49 pm, by Martin Davis Email , 84 words, 901 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

All the pins are lining up ...

Here is an update to what I have been doing.

This is Pic 1. This is Pic 2. This is Pic 3.
This is Pic 4. This is Pic 5.

As you can see from the pictures that they are starting to follow one another quite well. Granted their tacking ability isn’t perfected yet, they still loose the leader in darker areas. I will keep working at it until I get it right, though. Also, If you want to see a larger pic, just click on a picture.;D

Until later, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer thus far. I know I am.

Permalink 10:05:20 am, by Charlston Manning Email , 78 words, 44514 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

For the past few weeks. Me, my advisor David Touretzky and Ethan Tira-Thompson have been design a robot that will be produce.While building this robot I see that it is a cross between a carb and spider. Now I am here to show the near final stage of design, but is still a work in progress. Using Solidworks to design the new parts for the robot and then cutting out these parts on a laser cutting machine.


Permalink 07:45:43 pm, by Eric Kirby Email , 84 words, 930 views   English (US)
Categories: Summer REU 2008

Received ASUS Eee PC with linux to control the roombas. Need to install compiler and supporting libraries to test ultrasonic drive code.

Ultrasonic driver complete with comments. Reads all sensors and pushes data. Beginning research reading papers on area coverage techniques and obstacle avoidance.

**************** Learn from my mistake **************
Have learned that code to control USB ports in Fedora and XP does not run under Mac OS X. I spent much too long learning this lesson. From now on I am only working in Fedora.

Permalink 03:35:54 pm, by Jazmine Miller Email , 288 words, 1081 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Further notes

hey everyone!

Jazzy here again, I’d like to go further into detail into what we are doing in ARTSI at the famous GA Tech. I’m working specifically with Jonecia Keels (aka jkeels12) on a Manoi AT01 model robot here’s a picture of this awesome robot.

Manoi Robot

so it started as a kit with like a couple thousand pieces stashed in bags that we had to build from scratch.(picture on jkeels12 blog) After staring like this 88| at the numerous pieces that we had to somehow turn into a robot, i proceeded to look at the 102 + page manual that was only available in Japanese!

link to the video is here in case it doesn’t work.

So we began our arduous task, slowly translating what we needed to do from the manual and each others intellect to build the robot. Lol, it was a journey in which i found out i don’t follow instructions as well as i thought, but in the end we finally built a fully functional robot.

Me n the Bot
here is a pic of the Robot in front of my beautiful Halo 3 T-Shirt :P

So whats left for us to accomplish are the auditions we will be making. First off the camera integration to the robot, research as to which software we will be using to integrate the camera with the motor manipulation, and the outer shell. of course we have to make a nice robot so we are planning to paint the outside shell so that it would look more like the top picture rather than the bottom one here:

So thats the update for now, until next time ^_^


my sig

The wonders of technology is where I find my joy.


Permalink 10:57:49 pm, by Jonecia Keels Email , 338 words, 1202 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Screwing && Unscrewing...another Hardware Mistake

June 14-16
Ok so this past Saturday my colleague pointed out that the right arm on the robot was flipped upside down causing one of the arms to be higher than the other :-/. If you look at my last posting and the picture of the robot you can see how the right arm is lower than the left….yes robots are very TEDIOUS….I think that is my quote for the summer…anyways so I had to unscrew the whole arm in order to get to the base of the servo and switch it around. This surprisingly went quite well and I was able to fix it. Now it looks better than ever ;D. The next day I reconnected the wires to the appropriate pins on the motherboard. Afterwards I installed the Manio’s software, called Heart to Heart, so that I was able to connect and assign channels to certain servos (limbs and joints) on the robot. The Heart to Heart software only runs on Windows and I have a MacBook. So I installed Parallels with Windows XP and it runs smoothly. There is 17 degrees of freedom on the Manoi. It is very flexible. It can even do a split. Our next task is to assign a ‘home position’ for the Manoi. Every time we turn on the Manoi we want it to automatically go to a certain posture, which is the ‘home position’. We want the Manoi to automatically stand up. The software is not really user friendly but we hope to understand it fully by the end of this week.

Fixed Manoi…Check out the Even Arms =)

Heart to Heart Software…Notice the channels and the slide bar…this will eventually control the servos and joints on the Manoi

This is the Motherboard. The wires that are connected to the servos are all connected to certain pins on the motherboard. If you look closely there are extra pins for adding your own features. We are going to utilize this to add a camera to the Manoi.

Permalink 09:03:15 pm, by Jazmine Miller Email , 161 words, 1348 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

My First post

:D May 30- June 16th

Hey everyone ^_^ Jazzy here. I’m off on my first ARTSI program internship and already having a blast! I came here with my friend Jonecia Keels who I call NeeCee, however I already found so many more friends to hang out with that are really cool and chill. I knew I would enjoy this trip but I never expected to feel so at home here. So far so good.

I’m working over at Georgia Tech with a lady named Ayanna Howard and am currently being supervised by Douglas Brooks. I met both my advisor and my mentor and I have to say they are very cool people. I was grouped with two other people besides Neecee, Aron Jones and Jude Desti, and our first tasks involved a robot by Wow Wee called a Robosapien. I’ll tell you more about that thing in my next post. Until then laters!

Photoshop Queen

The wonders of technology is where I find my joy.


Permalink 10:14:11 am, by Martin Davis Email , 88 words, 926 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

smURV's do not have eyes in the back of their heads

Yesterday, I finally fixed my color detection problem. Now that the smURVs can see and follow one another, here comes my next problem, turning around blind corners. I am working on that problem today. I believe I can use the Roombas internal odometry to fix this problem, since I know the distance at which the smURV disappeared and the following smURV’s odomerty. I just have to think it out and work it into my code. After that, I can’t foresee another problem, not to see there won’t be.


Permalink 10:59:39 am, by Eric Kirby Email , 104 words, 923 views   English (US)
Categories: Summer REU 2008

The Objective

The objective for the summer is to develop and algorithm for object avoidance using iRobot Create Roombas and external sensors. The available sensors are analog and digital ultrasonic range finders and infrared object detectors.

Breaking the objective down into small task will provide a measurable road map to success. At the outset these task are high level questions that develop into hypothesis that require research based on trial and error to determine the best methodology to accomplish the task.

The task list will develop as task are completed.

How many and which sensors are needed?
Develop drivers for sensors
Quality test sensors


Permalink 11:15:03 pm, by Jonecia Keels Email , 304 words, 1264 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Robots are Extremely Tedious!

June 2-13

The first step in building the Manoi AT01 is to connect the servos to certain wires (depending on length). Eventually all of the wires are going to be connected to the motherboard. My collegue and I labeled the wires with stickers which indicate which servo a specific wire is connected to. For example the wire with servo #5 will have a #5 sticker placed on it. We do this so when it is time to connect the wires to the appropiete pins on the motherboard, it will be easier to identify. Even though the Manoi manual was in Japanese, there were pictures on each page so it was possible for us to understand each step in building the robot. If I got stuck, I used a translator online to try and understand what the next step was. I ran into a few problems. We accidently screwed in the foot backwards. While trying to unscrew the foot, the screw head became stripped :(. The screws that came with the Manoi is not exactly of good quality. So our building was delayed for about 5 days and we spent that time trying to get the screw out. We finally managed to unscrew it and we continued bulilding. We finished building the legs, body, arms, and head. We then started attaching all of the limbs together. And here comes problem #2: we screwed in the legs backwards 88|. Imagine your knees bending the opposite way….yea that’s what our robot did. So we had to carefully unscrew the screws to turn the legs around. Imaginary beads of sweat were running down my face while I slowly and steadily unscrewed the legs. Thank goodness I got the screws out with minimal difficulty. For the meantime we are about 75% done with the hardware aspect of building the robot.

Progress of Manoi thus far

Permalink 08:58:54 pm, by Aaron Jones Email , 162 words, 599 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU


Hello!!!B)I am Aaron Jones, an undergrad student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. It’s not a very big school, and yes we do have an HBCU in Arkansas:)My research experience this summer is held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta seems to be a pretty nice place to be and the school here is fairly nice. I am currently working under Dr. Ayanna Howard this summer, in The HumAnS Lab and I am analyzing the capabilites, the RS Media Robosapien holds when it comes to assisting the elderly in healthcare and the role it plays in helping children. Right now it is a bit challenging and I guess that’s what I am here for, but it’s been fun for the most part I guess I should say. I have some photos and I plan to upload perhaps a video as well from one of the experiments in the lab but this is all for now…Adios!

Permalink 11:03:32 am, by Phillip Hayes Email , 63 words, 906 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Introduction to Me

Hello my name is Phillip Hayes. I recently graduated from Norfolk State in Norfolk, VA. I will attend graduate school at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN in the fall. I am working under Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh at Carnegie Mellon this summer. We are working on several projects but our main focus is to get ready for a Robotic Festival coming up soon.

Permalink 08:53:15 am, by Martin Davis Email , 216 words, 1009 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Of Cities ane Bots ...

The city of Providence, RI is not so overwhelming to me anymore. I remember when I first got here and being from a small town, how I thought I would never get used to it. Now, it doesn’t intimidate me anymore. This place and campus is really beautiful.

As far as night life, this place is alive almost every night and everything is so close you can walk from club to club, or pool hall to pool hall. Don’t get me wrong, its about the learning experience on an internship, but its good to experience the new surroundings as well. I have also been told Providence has eight of the ten best restaurants in the New England area.

Now on to the project currently at hand. I am still continuing to work on the follow the leader project they have given me. So far I have had success with a smURV following another one, which was controlled by a wii remote. Granted the movement towards the leader is still a little choppy, I was told how to fix this. Basically, I have to run my client on board versus remotely from a PC. This also has the benefit of setting the client and the server to starting up with the smURV when it is powered up.


Permalink 10:59:22 pm, by Dave Touretzky Email , 49 words, 1068 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Google Research Awards $25K to ARTSI

The ARTSI Alliance has received a $25K Google Research Award in support of the group’s work promoting the African American robotics community. The money will be used to fund additional HBCUs to join the Alliance, to purchase equipment for robotics education, and to hold summer workshops for ARTSI faculty.

Permalink 12:21:57 pm, by Jonecia Keels Email , 213 words, 1153 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Robotics @ GA Tech

May 26-30
Hello fellow ARTSI colleagues. My name is Jonecia Keels but everyone just calls me NeeCee :D. I am a rising sophomore at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. I am a dual-degree Computer Science/Software Engineering major. This summer I am working with Dr. Ayanna Howard at Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech). Our main focus is to create robots to assist in healthcare. For example, a robot that can aid elderly people retrieve objects or a robot that can interact and play with autistic children. My specific task is to build a Manoi AT01 humanoid robot with another colleague and program it. This humanoid is extremely advance. It can run at high speeds, stand up when it falls, and can even balance on one leg 88|. This task sounds simple enough however it is not. The entire manual, all 112 pages, is in Japanese because the Manoi has not been released in America. Also the Manoi comes with a tremendous amount of tiny pieces and screws |-|. One mistake can cause the Manoi to not function. Despite the difficulty, this task is going to be fun, exciting, and intellectually stimulating.

Here are links with more information on the Manoi AT01:

Video Demonstration

Permalink 10:47:21 am, by Charlston Manning Email , 15 words, 87806 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

New version of the camera mount

This is the final copy of the robot camera mount.

This is three different pieces

Permalink 08:45:17 am, by Alvin Barton Email , 161 words, 1285 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

I’m currently a computer science major working as a intern at Carnegie Mellon University, yes CMU. In my field CMU is the place to be hands down. I thank god everyday for allowing me the opportunity to bump elbows with people who considered leaders in their field. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still representing the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions. I just know how to appreciate the chance I have to progress my education in ways that just aren’t possible where I come from. Speaking of where I come from, that would be Forrest City, Arkansas. I know most people haven’t heard of Forrest City, what’s funny (or sad) is that a lot of people around here don’t know where Arkansas is. Although, I should mention that if I pronounced it as Ar-kan-zas then that number would probably drop considerably, because they seem to know what I’m talking about when they figure out Ar-kan-saw is the same thing.


Permalink 03:27:57 pm, by Michael Price Email , 154 words, 709 views   English (US)
Categories: General

My first

This is just a start up blog to see how this is going to work. Well my name is Curtis and I’m a senior from Silver Spring, MD. I currently attend Norfolk State University. I love programming and developing new ways to get around problems(Which has already been utilized this summer). I have currently been working at Carnegie Mellon University with a handful of very knowledgeable graduate students and professors. The first day was filled with learning all the different programs they were currently working on. It seamed almost impossible for the small group of around ten people to not only work on the technology of these programs but also their implementation for society. I was not only impressed but also anxious to see if I could measure up to the task of being part of the team. My next blog will start with my first week impressions, so until next time.

Permalink 12:10:37 pm, by Martin Davis Email , 305 words, 952 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

SmURVs? Small but not blue.


Hello, my name is Martin Davis. I am from the northeastern part of North Carolina, and am attending my first internship at Brown University for the summer. This is also the first blog I have ever written. What am working with is called a smURV, a low cost robot platform. The reason the smURV was created was to allow the average person to own and operate their own robot. There are other applications for the smURVs, such as using them to play robot soccer. :D

So far during my summer at Brown, I have learned how to use the sensors through Player software on the smURV robot platform. The sensors that they utilize are a USB camera, right and left bumpers, as well as IR sensors around the base, and a IR cannon. I am in the process of writing source code for multiple smURVs to follow one another in order by keeping a cylindrical piece of construction paper in sight. This program will be used when they demo their wii controlled smURV to add to the visual effects. The only two sensors left to learn are the IR sensors, and the IR cannon. The way I have coded the program is that the smURV searches for the colors in its configuration file. After it finds them, it filters out the unwanted blobs by finding the blob of the correct height, width, and position on the vertical axis. Also, I have learned how to optimize the speed of my program by utilizing switch statements where I can vs. the if-else that I tend to use. So far, I can get a chain of two, and will soon be able to go up to four.

In order to learn the sensors, I went through some assignments that Professor Jenkins gave to a class that he teaches.

Permalink 11:00:43 am, by Charlston Manning Email , 87 words, 68738 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

Auto CAD meet Solidworks

After resent discover of Solidworks I have found myself enjoy the overall program compare to Auto CAD it is a great deal better. After take a course in Auto CAD at Morehouse College it seems impossible to design anything on any CAD program. Now I came to CMU to design a robot using only a new program called Solidworks. I was learning by using Tutorials the program offer. After going a week I have been able to design new things for the robot I am working on.

Permalink 09:16:34 am, by Charlston Manning Email , 22 words, 42372 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

How has everyone time at Carnegie Mellon been including dorms and meeting neew people. Plus how is Pittsburgh city life to you.

Permalink 12:11:23 am, by Phillip Hayes Email , 81 words, 550 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Minority Interest In Robotics?

The reason I accepted this REU experience was because I was fascinated with robotics and how they benefit society for the good. I would like to expand the interest to more minority students especially at Historically Black Colleges and Universities because they think when they major in Computer Science/Engineering, then all the can do is just become a programmer. ARTSI Alliance is just one step to help out this issue but we need other options to help improve this matter.

Permalink 12:02:22 am, by Phillip Hayes Email , 119 words, 853 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Loving The Team- Long Live Robot 250

I love the team that I am working with this summer. Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh and Dr. Dennis Bateman are the coolest research advisors I have met since my past summer research experiences. They do not put any pressure on their REU’s, but want them to get the best experience with robotics at Carnegie Mellon. The crew members that I work with are very friendly and easy to talk to and get along with. I bug them a lot if something does not goes right but they assist me with a smile on their faces. A lot of times it gets TOO QUIET in the lab and it is scary!!! All and all, I love my team. LONG LIVE ROBOT 250


Permalink 11:50:38 pm, by Phillip Hayes Email , 93 words, 817 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Will The Friendly People PLEASE STAND UP!!!!

Hello everyone, I have been here for three weeks now and if I get lost or just want to be friendly around my area, I see a person always in an ill mood or run from you like they are going to steal your purse or something. I am a nice person, so I like to speak however, some people act like they can not hear you when you acknowledge them. Well, I am going to speak regardless because that is what we do in Virginia. Not all of Pittsburgh, just certain areas!!

Permalink 09:39:34 am, by Charlston Manning Email , 16 words, 48296 views   English (US)
Categories: 2008 Summer REU

New robot program

I am at CMU now learning a new program called Solidworks. Can anyone help me further:?:


Permalink 01:42:11 am, by Dave Touretzky Email , 21 words, 1942 views   English (US)
Categories: General

Chiara prototype

Chiara robot prototype
This photo shows a partially assembled prototype for the Chiara, an educational hexapod robot with an arm and a color camera.


The latest postings from any of the ARTSI Alliance blogs.

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