Oryx at NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge

Oryx did not officially participate in the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge but was asked to share the stage with NASA’s Deputy Administrator (Lori Garver) and Chief Technologist (Mason Peck).  Oryx was also given an opportunity to search for the pre-cached sample through teleoperated after the competition was over and did very well!

Thanks to WPI Marketing and Communications for these pictures from the event!  There are many more that can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wpimarketing/

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Year’s End Celebration

Even though we still have tasks to complete and the competition itself, today marks the end of the academic year at WPI, which also marks the completion of undergraduate degrees for Joe, Jon, Tom, and Mike. To celebrate our teams accomplishments we all took the night off to go to Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a great chance to reminisce about the work we have completed as a team, so i felt this quote was appropriate.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
– Henry Ford


Here is a picture of everyone after having as many wings and they could possibly eat!

Rover Arm Module

I know some people have been asking how we plan to pick up rocks at Robo-Ops.  Until now that was a mystery but we have decided to unveil it….  Here is the CAD model with our arm module on the rover and another of just the arm module.  All the parts are being made right now and we expect to be testing it in about a week.  We were very temped to wait to pick up our first rock until 10 minutes before the competition as it worked so well for us last year…  just kidding… the honest story is that we have been very busy finishing up stuff for graduation and have been working on the arm steadily and just got to where we could start manufacturing in the past few days.  We look forward to several full weeks of testing with the entire system so we can get in some good practice.

IEEE TePRA Conference

We spent the last several days representing Oryx 2.0 at IEEE’s Technologies for Practical Robot Applications (TePRA) conference.  We presented a poster and had the robot with us at the conference.  There were alot of people very interested in it.  We also were able to see alot of potential applications that Oryx 2.0 could be used for besides space exploration.  Oryx 2.0 has been doing a lot of traveling to get ready for his big trip to the Johnson Space Center in about 1 month from now.

WPI Project Presentation Day

Today was project presentation day here at WPI.  This is the day that all the seniors present their projects that they have been working on the the last year.  We presented Oryx 2.0 to both the Robotics Engineering program and Mechanical Engineering department here.  Oryx 2.0 was received very well by everyone it was presented to.  We were awarded the Mechanical Engineering Provost’s Award, which is the highest award given by the department, which we are very excited about.  We will keep you posted as we hear about the Robotics Engineering awards.

Below is a video that summarizes the project that was shown during the presentations today.

Thermal Testing of Oryx 2.0

A few weeks back we were able to take the rover to Hologic (where I work) to use their FLIR Thermal IR Camera to do some thermal testing.  For tests the we ran the Ubuntu  stress test on the computer and ran all the drive motors at full speed for slightly more than 1 hour.  In addition to recording the thermal IR video we also logged the temperature from our internal temperature sensors.   The hottest components revealed by the thermal IR imaging are on the Mini-ITX motherboard and are rated to temperatures higher than what they reached during testing. Based of the data collected in extreme conditions we determined that the system will operate as desired under normal conditions without any temperature related problems.