A robot workshop in Sussex looking for students to teach


SUSSEX ROBOT PROJECT - Behind closed doors in the depths of deepest Sussex there is a dedicated robot workshop wherein lurks a vehicle that is mothballed waiting for engineers to complete the challenge to make a hexapod that is capable of carrying a human over rough terrain. This project is designed to help engineering students problem solve by thinking creatively, rather than expensively.


The Cleaner Ocean Foundation can dedicate four-six weeks of mentor time to this project - aiming for completion of this stage in four weeks if possible. You will have the services of a welder/fabricator to assist, and a stock of standard bearings and other machine parts, including radio control sets, Arduino and Raspberry Pi computers. Being AutoCad familiar will help, but we also have full size drawings to work from if you prefer to work from paper.



Lithium polymer battery with 48 volt 500 watt motors and speed controlleers


MOTORS - Starting with a two motor/controller (500w x 2 = 1kW) system, chain drive components and a 2kW/hr battery, you will make legs with suspension and perfect a transmission that allows reasonable walking pace. The aim is to test a basic system and to decide early on if it would be feasible to use six motors, one per wheel - and if so how to synchronize the walking gait. Once the theory is proven, from that point you may decide to refine the concept using belt drive or machined gears, though all of the parts should be available off-the-shelf allowing for engineering adaptations to our purposes. There is no point re-inventing the wheel.


1. In the first week you (your team) will re-position the drive banks to simplify the linkages. 


2. In the second week you will install the motors and make six legs from aluminium tubing.


3. In the third week you will wire up the battery and speed controllers and test the walking mechanism freewheel and then on the ground.


4. In week four you will incorporate any identified refinements and write up the project. You will also make moulds for a protective body.


5. If there is time in your schedule (and ours), in the fifth week you will fit the bodywork and paint to suit.


6. Again, time permitting, in the sixth week you will fit robotic sensors for safety and to equip the vehicle with cameras for the operators.


We will purchase all parts and materials in advance and host the project and provide meals and drinks during breaks. The above schedule of works is suggested. The student(s) will decide for themselves on the logical order of development.



Prototype frame for a giant hexapod robot


ROBOT HEXAPOD - Most robots are desktop models made of plastic - and there is nothing wrong with that. Engineering plastics have helped mankind achieve great things. The design principles are the same no matter what scale but as a robot increases in size it comes face to face with a harsher world. Most large robots use wheels or tracks for locomotion, but what if the terrain is not a smooth tarmac road, but an earthquake site strewn with demolition rubble and you had to rescue a wounded person? Then you might need an all-terrain vehicle to surmount the slopes and troughs from toppled walls and roofs. You may need to move obstacles to get to an earthquake casualty and for that you'd need a large manipulator. Finally, the casualty may be partly submerged - so, the robot rescuer would need to at least be water resistant.


Think Tony Stark, help the Cleaner Ocean Foundation complete this project and learn about practical engineering problem solving, while you learn about robotic applications - or if you prefer: Applied Robotics.


If you choose to accept this mission for 2018 (we may be late for that) or 2019, contact STEM Sussex and the coordinators will make the appropriate enquiries for you.






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