Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brunswick Engineering Program Does Heavy Lifting

Posted by Greg Wright

Kepware recently visited the University of Maine's Brunswick Engineering Program. We were invited by Alex Friess, the director of the program, to attend the end-of-year project reports and demonstrations for their freshman class. UMB

The projects centered around a robotic system that had to locate metallic weights within a 3x3 foot area, approach the weights, pick them up, and then return them to their original position.

The students were required to employ multiple engineering disciplines and work together on small teams during a 6 week period to finish the project. Given the specific success criteria and constraints, they had to put together a project plan, analyze and select a mechanical design for a truss system, and predict maximum lifting capability. They also had to build the robot, design and write the software to control it, and measure the actual vs. expected results.

On April 25th, the teams delivered a presentation and demonstrated their robots to a small group of faculty, peers, and community members. It was great to see a project that incorporated so many disciplines and was directed by students in their freshman year in college. The teams did a great job with the presentations, and while there were a few technical difficulties in the physical demonstration due to some poorly behaving optical sensors, they were able to overcome the hurdles in real-time and successfully retrieve their weights.

UMB_Group

Standing, from left: Shawn Soucie, Aaron French, Colin Luce, Eddy Abbondanzio, Greg Smiddy, Caleb Taylor, Wendy Choiniere, Mike Choiniere, Lukas Brewington, Sam Stilwell, Greg Wright, and Chris Tupper.
Kneeling, from left: Mike Davis, Shane Cyr, Stephen Charbonneau and Chris Faulhaber.

Overall, it was very instructive and a whole lot of fun! We are looking forward to seeing what this group cooks up for projects next year.

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