Posted by: stetler735 | April 27, 2013

Robots Rule at Engineering Open House

No obstacle is too big or small for Navi, a student-designed robot that can find its way around without anyone telling it what to do.

Rutgers student Dave Patrzeba shows of Navi, a robot.

Rutgers student Dave Patrzeba shows of Navi, a robot.

“It knows where it is and it knows what to do without any human interaction,” said Dave Patrzeba, an undergraduate student in the School of Engineering, who helped build Navi.

The robot is  one of many science-related doings at the Busch Campus today, home of the Rutger’s Day Engineering Open House.

Whenever Navi, a robotic intelligent ground vehicle,  is dispatched somewhere, it’s programmed via computer and retains the information.

“It’s continually building a map,” said Patrzeba.

The robot is equipped with a GPS, which keeps it from getting lost. But it also has laser range finders that reflect off objects in its path and help it steer clear, said Patrzeba.

Navi  — its full name is Rutgers Navigator  — took eight undergraduates about 4,000 man hours to build over a span of  three years, said Patrzeba. That included a previous version with glitches that enabled students to avoid past mistakes and build a better robot.

“It’s a perpetual project,” said Patrzeba, adding that a third version will be built in the fall.

Navi’s construction involved students from three disciplines: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

Andrew Adams, 17, who is visiting from Marlton, was impressed. “That is so cool,” he marveled. “And I think it’s cool that undergrads built it.”

In eighth grade, Adams helped build a robot, so he knows how much work and problem solving is involved.

“I can appreciate the effort,” he said.


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