Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Meet the Newest Robot from UAT!

Kasey Norman, a student in the Digital Makers and Fabrication degree at University of Advancing Technology (UAT), newest robot had its first drive test recently. Take a look at the video for a first look at the semi-autonomous rover. Check back often for updates on this project in the near future!



Monday, January 6, 2014


UAT becomes First University in Arizona to open on campus Digital Makers Fab Lab
 
UAT Digital Makers Fab Lab
The University of Advancing Technology (UAT) becomes first University in Arizona to launch a digital maker fabrication lab on campus: the UAT Makers Fab Lab.

On the heels of the lab opening mid-October 2013, University officials are enrolling students into the nation’s first fully accredited Bachelor of Science degree in digital making and fabrication. The new degree will combine the curriculums and capability of UAT’s existing and respected degrees in Robotics and Embedded Systems, Artificial Life Programming, Advancing Computer Science, Virtual Modeling and Design and Human-Computer Interaction. 

Located on the technology University’s campus in Tempe, the UAT Makers Fab Lab is equipped with the latest 3D printers, maker bots, CNC cutters and the software and knowledge guidance that students need to bring innovative ideas to life. Modeled from the design of MIT’s first Fab Lab community, UAT plans to join together the student communities already leveraging the new lab from many other UAT disciplines to start the first student facilitated and University-sponsored Digital Makers Lab organization. The Digital Makers Lab is designed to foster creativity and challenge student innovators with a 24/7 environment for those who seek to lead the new industrial revolution driven by the convergence of advancing technologies

A groundswell that’s sweeping across the industry according to industry analysts, the Maker Revolution is a new way to think, design, conceive, prototype, test, manufacture and bring innovation to market. It is 3D printers, 4D fabricating, maker bots, robotics and embedded systems, engineering and hardware creation, digital design and animation, laser cutters, open-hardware and software, and desktop fabrication all combined and now taken to the industrial and consumer levels. This is an entire shift in the way we innovate and will change the way products and services are produced, distributed and used in everyday life.
“Anything that can transform the process of making stuff has tremendous leverage in moving the global economy. That’s the making of a real revolution,” states Chris Anderson in his recent book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

Already, UAT graduates are innovating and quietly setting the tone in the Makers Revolution. Since 2008, UAT has offered a bachelor’s of science in Robotics and Embedded Systems. The Robotics program is more focused on hardware development versus a balance of hardware and software design methods that are forming together to create the Makers Movement.
The UAT Makers Fab Lab, the development of a BS degree program with a major in the area of digital making and fabrication join the technology University’s series of firsts in advancing technology offerings.



4D Printing Shows Signs of Life

The fourth dimension is not just the things of sci-fi movies. The concept has been on the horizon for years, but now is moving closer to reality. Research is currently being done to explore the very real possibilities for its integration in our everyday lives.

The concept of 4D printers is this: to create objects that can transform over time and possibly even self-assemble.

Right now, we can print complex parts en masse, but it often takes hours of manual labor to actually assemble them. 4D printing seeks to develop materials and printing techniques that address the time issue.

The U.S. Army Research Office has issued a grant that will be divided among three research teams at Harvard University, the University of Pittsburg and the University of Illinois– totaling $855,000 to develop this so-called “4D Printing.”

It’s no surprise the Army is so keen on it. And the U.S. Navy too. They’re testing the possibility of 3D printing ammunition and UAVs onboard ship.

Imagine a 3D-printed textile that could adapt to camouflage a soldier in different environments (or hide them by bending light!). Or a metal that adapts to environmental conditions to improve the performance of a tank or truck. Skylar Tibbits, a leader in the 4D printing movement (who, as Core77 points out, was left out of the Army grant), has had luck printing materials that respond when they're immersed in water—for example, a flat piece of plastic that folds into a box, or the flexible chain that morphs into a rigid structure seen in the here


At UAT, you not only imagine what’s possible, you become part of a new generation of what actually will lead an entire shift in the way we innovate and change the way products and services are produced, distributed and used in everyday life. It’s the Maker Revolution, a new way to think, design, conceive, prototype, test, manufacture and bring innovation to market. It is 3D printers, 4D fabricating, maker bots, robotics and embedded systems, engineering and hardware creation, digital design and animation, laser cutters, open-hardware and software, and desktop fabrication all combined and now taken to the industrial and consumer levels.


In October 2013, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) became first University in Arizona to launch a digital maker fabrication lab on campus: the UAT Makers Fab Lab. The Digital Makers Lab is designed to foster creativity and challenge student innovators in a 24/7 environment for those who seek to lead the new industrial revolution—a revolution that will include 4D printing and beyond.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Animatronics and Cosplay

Instructables author Honus has posted this excellent tutorial on how he built an Animatronic Horus Guard Mask from Stargate.  The detail on his build is amazing - a fantastic blend of art and technology.  The heart of the build is an Arduino-based motion control rig, controlling 5 servos that move the bird head and the fans on the side.  The video below shows the mask in action.

Also check out Honus' other build: Predator



If you're interested in something a little... creepier, check out these animatronic babies:



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pop-Up Robotics

Researchers at Harvard have developed a set of new techniques for micro-fabrication of robots using principles of origami and pop-up books.  This article at Gizmag and the video below explains the details of the process.  


The capabilities of this technology are astounding, as the video below shows they can construct very complex shapes using this technology.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Torrent of Tesla Coil Tutorials

Photo by Flickr user Pekar [source]
Tesla Coils are a special type of transformer originally intended to broadcast electrical power without the use of wires.  These days they're primarily used for special effects in TV and movies, electrical testing (why wait for lightning to strike? Make your own!) and plain old mad-scientist style geeky fun.

Instructables has a couple of excellent tutorials on building the Basic Spark Gap Tesla Coil, and a more advanced Solid State Tesla Coil that can be modulated to play music.

Get Cracking Roboteers!

All about Arduino Timer Interrupts

The excellent author(s) over at EngBlaze have a great series of AVR / Arduino Tutorials running, with their latest article on the topic of using Timer Interrupts with the Arduino.  As usual, the article does a great job of describing basic concepts and how to apply them.  Be sure to check out their other tutorials, such as Interrupts and Low-Power Sleep Mode.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reached a max speed?

video 

So, this week's progress has been to update the software. I have gotten the software to a point, as seen in the video above, where it appears like it is running as fast as the software can go. We need to sit down and debug the system more, because clock speed settings and common sense say that we should be running it faster than it currently is doing. It is also a problem if this is running as fast as it can, because from here it can only get slower as we add more processing in the background.

I am presently thinking about moving the serial clocking out to the foreground again, having it update once with the serial buffer, and then using a boolean to track whether or not this data has already been clocked out. This would take lower precedence than incoming serial data, but it should make clocking out faster. I am wondering if, in the future, a faster board may be better, but one step at a time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Day Rest

This last week was a much needed break. I unfortunately couldn't make too much progress, but I did get a better start towards coming up with the PCB that will fit over top of the chipKIT. This needs to provide breakout jumpers for all of the panels. Since this is simply going to be headers and a couple of line drivers, it should be relatively simple. the only problem is that this board is going to cost a lot to make, since it has to at least sit over top of the chipKIT. I am designing the board to utilize more boards for expansion later, cutting down on the cost of redesign and reprinting.

I have also made some progress towards completed software. I have updated it with a new stretch of code, and have it compiled down into functions. Everything has compiled and is currently running on the chipKIT already, providing Serial feedback to ensure it's running properly. This Serial data will be removed soon when updated to a more final design in the next few days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Software Progress

The photo on the right will be explained at the end of this post. This is the culmination of a few weeks of struggle in dealing with timers.

In my time struggling and putting off in dealing with the timers, I decided to do some research on anyone else who had dealt with timers. The work that I had dine already did not reveal timers to work with interrupts. The link that I found led to this forum post. The post described someone who was using the capture and compare module, in conjunction with a timer, to invert a pin. I did some testing with the code provided, and it worked just fine. I fine tuned it to respond at a 500 kHz frequency, as seen in the bottom left corner of the display.

Now, the reason why there is a gap in the cycles is that I wanted to do a test regarding the ability to turn off and on the timer, and have it not affect the other parts. This worked beautifully, as seen in the photo above. What this means is that now I need to edit my code, with this new addition, to run the PWM cycling from the foreground to the background.