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An indoor Bocce game played by autonomous robots

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Experiential Learning Initiatives

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Lei Miao Middle Tennessee State University

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Lei Miao is currently Assistant Professor of Mechatronics Engineering at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his Ph.D. degree from Boston University, Master's and Bachelor's degrees from Northeastern University of China, in 2006, 2001, and 1998, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, he was with Nortel Networks in Billerica, MA. From 2009 to 2011, he was with the University of Cincinnati. From 2011 to 2014, he was with NuVo Technologies/Legrand North America. From 2014 to 2015, he was with the State University of New York Farmingdale.

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Jamshid E Farzidayeri Middle Tennessee State University

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Jamshid Farzidayeri is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of Mechatronics Engineering and a Ph. D. student in Computational Science at Middle Tennessee State University. Jamshid’s current research is the application of the energy principle to material segregation in rotating cylinders and his interest are energy systems, robotics, and space science. Prior to commencing his graduate studies, Jamshid worked as a Field Service Engineer for Beckman Coulter and has received Bachelor’s degrees in Mechatronics Engineering and Business Administration. He grew up in Hays, Kansas, and enjoys camping, gaming, and cooking.

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Walter Boles


Ahad S. Nasab P.E. Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. Ahad Nasab received his PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1987. He then worked as a research scientist at the Center for Laser Applications of Physics Research Group of University of Tennessee Space Institute. In 1991 he joined the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University where he is currently the coordinator of the Mechatronics Engineering degree program.

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This paper presents a course project assignment in an upper-division engineering course: Controls and Optimizations. Students were divided into groups to build robots which are capable of navigating autonomously indoors. It is a perfect vehicle to integrate electrical, computer, and mechanical knowledge into a mechatronics system. In particular, after the mechanical and electrical design were finished, the students wrote control software to use feedback from ultrasonic sensors and Wi-Fi modules to enable autonomous operation. Each powered by a Raspberry Pi, the robots competed against each other autonomously to play an indoor Bocce game. The jack of the game was a wireless router, and the goal of the robots was to get as close to the jack as possible while not hitting any obstacles. This project and the Bocce game also have practical implications in real-world applications. For example, robots with similar capabilities may be able to rescue people who carry wireless device, to navigate in factories or warehouses to retrieve items, and to lead customers to certain items in supermarkets. In this paper, we will present the electrical, mechanical, and software design of the winning team of the Bocce game. The bill of materials and details of the Bocce game will also be included.

On the educational front, we discuss a couple of efforts we made to help the students build, program, and test the robots: (i) we design an introductory LAB to introduce Raspberry Pi to our students and (ii) we utilize project-based learning techniques to encourage the students to learn new things along the way.

Miao, L., & Farzidayeri, J. E., & Boles, W., & Nasab, A. S. (2017, June), An indoor Bocce game played by autonomous robots Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27565

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