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Use Of A Low Cost Camera Based Positioning System In A First Year Engineering Cornerstone Design Project

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Software and Hardware for Educators III

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

14.1301.1 - 14.1301.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5632

Download Count

93

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Paper Authors

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Michael Vernier Ohio State University

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Michael A. Vernier is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the OSU Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program where he teaches the laboratory portion of the three-quarter FEH engineering course sequence and develops course materials. Mr. Vernier earned his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2007) from The Ohio State University and is currently a Master’s Candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University, researching control system design for autonomous vehicles.

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Craig Morin Ohio State University

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Craig E. Morin is a Design Engineer with MindWare Technologies in Columbus, Ohio where he develops medical research equipment. Previously he was a Graduate Teaching Associate with the OSU Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program where he taught labs and developed course materials. Mr. Morin earned his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2004) and his MS in Biomedical Engineering (2008), both from The Ohio State University.

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Patrick Wensing Ohio State University

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Patrick M. Wensing is a senior honors student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and has served as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the OSU Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program. He is also an undergraduate research assistant, working in the area of robotic locomotion. Mr. Wensing will graduate with his B.S.E.C.E. from The Ohio State University in June 2009.

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Ryan Hartlage Ohio State University

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Ryan M. Hartlage is a dual-major senior honors student in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Mathematics at The Ohio State University. He is also an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the OSU Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program for the three-quarter FEH engineering course sequence. Mr. Hartlage received the FEH Most Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award in June 2007. He will graduate with his B.S.E.C.E. in June 2010.

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Barbara Carruthers Ohio State University

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Barbara E. Carruthers is an Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering student at The Ohio State University and an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the OSU Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program. Previously, she has worked as a student research assistant at the Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Laboratory at Ohio State, studying engine test cell design. Ms. Carruthers will graduate with her B.S.A.A.E. from The Ohio State University in June 2010.

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Richard Freuler Ohio State University

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Richard J. Freuler is the Faculty Coordinator for the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program in the OSU Engineering Education Innovation Center, and he teaches the three-quarter FEH engineering course sequence. He is also a Professor of Practice in the Aerospace Engineering Department and Associate Director of the Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Laboratory at Ohio State. Dr. Freuler earned his Bachelor of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (1974), his BS in Computer and Information Science (1974), his MS in Aeronautical Engineering (1974), and his Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (1991) all from The Ohio State University.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Use of a Low-Cost Camera-Based Positioning System In a First-Year Engineering Cornerstone Design Project

Abstract

Although the concept of autonomous robot design projects has existed in engineering education for years as a tool for giving engineering students hands-on experience, in practice, the autonomy of these projects has been limited due to cost. Student programmers participating in these projects often have limited ways to interact with their environment autonomously, relying on low-cost sensors such as touch sensors instead of interacting with a high-cost camera-based positioning system. This not only limits the autonomy of the robot, but robs the student of valuable design and programming experience, since professional engineers often have access to tools such as the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Thus, it was desirable to build a low-cost positioning system that could be used to track the movements of student-built robots and to transmit position and orientation information. This system would not only aid in the autonomy of the student-built robots, but give the students hands-on experience interacting with such a positioning system, experience that would transfer to working on autonomous vehicles in industry.

Such a system was built, utilizing Nintendo Wii remotes as infrared cameras to track the movement of high-intensity infrared beacons mounted on student robots. Each of these Wii remotes tracked up to four LED locations in their field of view and conveyed the information to a C application running on a Linux machine. This application packaged the information and transmitted it to a Microsoft Visual Studio C# library, which grouped LED locations into robots positions. A National Instruments LabVIEW application transmitted the resultant orientation and position information to student’s autonomous robots via radio frequency communications. This system performed well and significantly improved the design experience for the students involved.

Introduction

For years, the education of engineering students has been supplemented with lost-cost robot design projects1,2,3. However, due to cost restrictions, robots designed by students are typically limited by the type of that information they can detect about their environment; although researchers in the field of autonomous vehicle design often have the budget to use elaborate camera-based positioning systems to track their robots, such systems are usually too expensive for student use. Instead, student robots often employ touch and on-board optical sensors for autonomous navigation along with stop-gap measures such as dead reckoning. Although teaching these techniques provides a valuable skill set to students, the application to the real world is limited, as professional engineers often have access to tools such as the Global

Vernier, M., & Morin, C., & Wensing, P., & Hartlage, R., & Carruthers, B., & Freuler, R. (2009, June), Use Of A Low Cost Camera Based Positioning System In A First Year Engineering Cornerstone Design Project Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5632

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015