ECE 491 - Senior Design
ISE 491 - Senior Design

ME 492 - Senior Mechanical Engineering Design Project
Winter 2011

January 4, 2011

Winter 2011 Design Project Description:

For the Winter 2011 Senior Design experience, we will be designing, building, testing and competing with small, autonomous robots that can perform the following task:

The robots will begin at a starting position on a curved line of tape placed on a tile floor in Dodge Hall, move along the tape line to a set of stairs, climb the stairs to the next level, move onto the level, move along a curved line of tape leading back to the stairs, climb down the stairs and move along the tape line to the starting position. Two laps of this circuit will constitute one run. Approximately 2/3 of the lap will consist of following the tape.

Prior to the competition, the stairs will be selected from ANY set of stairs within Dodge Hall. Make sure that your robot can negotiate any of the stairs found in Dodge Hall - height, depth and number of steps. No modifications or alterations of any kind will be permitted to the stairs.

In order to successfully complete the task, the robot must ascend and descend the stairs and closely follow the line of tape. Small obstacles will be placed near the tape line, but no closer than 8-in (20 cm) to the line. Robots touching these obstacles will be assign a time penalty. The tape line shall not have a radius of curvature smaller than 20-in (51 cm).

During the course of the semester additional constraints may be placed on the behavior of the robots due to safety or fairness considerations. Updates will be made on this web page. Check back often for the latest information.

The competition will consist of 3 trials for each team´s robot, with the shortest of the three times taken as the scoring time. Each trial is limited to 5 minutes; trials that last longer than 5 minutes or in which the robot falls off the stairs or platform will be assigned a time of 300 seconds. The score for the competition will be the scoring time in seconds, plus 10 seconds for each obstacle touched by the robot, multiplied by the volume (in cubic centimeters) of the bounding rectangular box the robot fits into when it is in climbing configuration. The lowest score wins. Faster, smaller, more accurate robots will score better than slower, larger, less accurate robots.

Previous Competitions:

In the Winter 2010 semester, student groups built and competed with autonomous robots that could ascend and descend a set of deck stairs, while carrying a glass of water. Videos of the competition can be found here:

In the Fall 2010 semester, student groups designed, built and competed with autonomous robots that could ascend and descend a set of deck stairs and follow a tape line back to the stairs. Videos of the competition can be found here:


On Tuesday April 19, 2011 a competition will be held for all of the design groups from 10:00 am - noon.

Discussion for the final written reports:

For your final written reports, in addition to your technical discussions, you are to discuss applications of the technologies that you are exploring and developing in this project. For your final report, discuss various applications of the technologies, with specific emphasis on: