Let’s Code A Robot
Spandana Ch | Staff Writer
On the 27th of October, 2016, two technical clubs of Manipal, IE Mechatronics and Robotics and Circuits collaboratively organised the event ‘Applied Robotics’ in AB5 310. Prior to the event a three day workshop was conducted by the organising team. The workshop, taken by the Robotics and Circuits club, was meant to teach interested students the various technicalities involved in building a robot. Twenty-four people registered for the workshop out of which around fifteen students attended it.
On the first day, participants were taught about the functionality of sensors and actuators. While a sensor converts a physical parameter to an electrical output, an actuator converts an electrical signal to a physical output. The interfacing of these devices to an Arduino was also taught. An Arduino is a single board microcontroller with an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software that are able to read inputs and turn them into an output.
The next two days covered the types of power systems used for devising a robot. The mathematical modelling of a system was taught as well, which involved topics such as forward and inverse kinematics. In layman’s terms, a mathematical model is a description of a system, in this case a robotic system, using mathematical concepts and language.
During the event itself, IE Mechatronics tested the participants’ knowledge, and application of what they had learnt during the workshop. A prototype, operated using an Arduino, was provided to the participants. The objective was to write a code that when run on the Arduino would move the robotic wooden arm of the prototype to specific positions over a color coded sheet.
Three students competed against each other to code and execute their code. One of the participants, Anuhya Katta, who later won the competition said, “The workshop was really informative, for starters, it was a really good experience to learn about where to begin and go about it. I learnt a lot from it.”
Judging was based on the execution of the program as well as the parameters that could be modified for a better model. Though off to a late start, the well-organized event ran smoothly, and ended being a great learning opportunity for all competitors.