Autonomous Refueling Test Platform (Advanced Scientific Concepts)

 While working at Advanced Scientific Concepts I was given the opportunity to design and build a robotic camera platform.

The goal was to build a portable platform for a 3D camera to simulate an autonomous drone refueling mid-flight. To replicate this, the camera needs to have motion in the X (left-right), Y (forward-back), and Z (up-down) axis.

To control the Z-axis, I designed and built a scissor lift powered by a motor and lead screw. The scissor lift was mounted on top of a turret driven by a belt and motor. This allowed the camera to look forward while the base turned left and right, mimicking the effect of slight turns at high speeds. The turret paired with the drive-train giving the camera motion in the X-axis and Y-axis. The drive-train used two plastics wheels directly attached to motors for drive and two caster wheels for stability. 

The robot and an explanation of its functions was my contribution to the published paper found here:  

FRC Team 1717 (Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy)

Senior year of high school I competed in the FIRST Robotics Challenge where teams of high school students around the world have 6 weeks to design and build a 120lb robot.  Every year a new challenge is announced in the beginning of January and a brand-new robot must be built to play that specific game. Itching to be back in the competition, I came back as a mentor for the 2013 and 2014 team.

Both years I mentored the drive-train team with 6 students on my team. During the 6 weeks, I worked with the students to design fabricate, and assemble a custom transmission referred to as the omni-drive module. The robot was equipped with 4 drive modules with each containing a wheel capable of 360 degrees of rotation and independent drive power. Each transmission had a pneumatically power dog-gear, allowing the robot to shift between two speeds; one with low speed, high torque for pushing other robots and the other with high speed and low torque to move across the field quickly. After the transmission was designed, I worked with the students to create part and assembly drawings for machining parts, including gears, in house. All together 12 modules were built; 4 for the competition robot, 4 for the practice robot, and 4 for spares. Part tracking became vitally important as hundreds of parts were being made by different students at different times. Each made part went through quality control and the best parts were selected for the competition modules. Each subsequent year the transmissions were redesigned for the specific competition and improved on by reducing weight and size. It was incredible what could be accomplished within a public high school with 17-18 year old kids. The team’s achievements are easily traced back to the fanatical leadership of the academy’s founder, Amir Abo-Shaeer.

A video of the robot from 2014 showing off the swerve drive can be found here: 

Robot Testing and Recycling (Intouch Health)

I was hired at Intouch Health as a manufacturing engineer with the purpose of decommissioning old robots used for tele-medicine. At that point in time, old robots were being kept in storage and the office taking up valuable space. I worked through the Bill of Materials for the robot identifying which parts could be refurbished, sold, or recycled. Once the parts were identified I had the pleasure of tearing apart 40+ robots from various generations and sorting the parts. It was the idea college job for a kid that grew up taking a part mechanical objects.

Robo-Rat (University of California Santa Barbara)

After growing up playing with Legos favorite class at UCSB was obviously Lego robotics. In the class we built and programmed sensors, motors, and Arduino boards onto a Lego classis. Our final project was to make a "robo-rat" that autonomously navigated around a field looking for foam blocks aka "cheese". The main constraints were weight and size. The robot had to start in within a 1' x 1' x 1' box and the lighter the robot the more your cheese was valued. Lastly, placing the cheese on a wall was double points.

 My robot started in a folded-up position and once it moved forward the arms would unfold. Using IR sensors, the robot would avoid running into the walls while sweeping up as much cheese as possible. The intake gears were powered by a differential attached to left and right drive motors. This saved weight by using one less motor and the differential allowed the intake to run even if one of the drive motors weren’t. Once the cheese was collected the robot would find a wall, turn around, and back into the wall to dispense the cheese. A purely mechanical system would eject the cheese onto the wall not requiring sensors or motors. I was quite proud of that one.