Designing and building autonomous minirobots

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The paper describes the organization and technical details of an undergraduate project that culminated at the IJCAI robot competition in August 1995. As part of the project, a team of five undergraduate students designed and built an autonomous minirobot that was able to detect cups and cans, pick them up, and bring them to the appropriate trash or recycling bin. The robot was named Walleye, the state fish of Minnesota that is known for its voracious appetite. The limited size of the memory and the limited speed of the microcontroller have dictated most of the design choices. Walleye was, by far, the cheapest of all the entries in the competition, and performed well obtaining the third place. More important, working on the project has been a tremendous educational experience for the students in the team. This project is part of a larger effort aimed at exposing undergraduate students to a variety of projects in robotics, computer vision, and 3D modeling. We have chosen these topics as the sources of projects because of their interdisciplinary nature and because they provide a wide variety of problems where system integration, communication, and cooperation are important, and where the “fun” of building and programming a robot is a highly motivating force for the learning process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


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