Robot strides among feats of engineering at Waikato design show

Robot strides among feats of engineering at Waikato design show

An autonomous biped robot seven months in the making will take pride of place as Waikato University engineering students show off their design skills.

Fourth year students Martin Lam and Gordan Wildschut created the bot as part of their Bachelor of Engineering research project, with Lam working on software and Wildschut on hardware.

They say they started with only a kit of aluminium links, which they arranged in a human-like configuration. Each joint is controlled by a servo motor, an actuator used in robotics to precisely control angular position, speed and acceleration. The servo motors are controlled by microprocessors.

The pair then used Cartesian co-ordinates to specify where and how far and robot goes.



Martin Lam (left) and Gordan Wildschut

"We would feed a set of co-ordinates to the system and it calculates all the required angles for the servos. This allows us to freely control the robot using only a simple set of co-ordinates,” says Lam.
 
The show runs from 15 to 16 October at the university. Students show their research and design projects in various disciplines of engineering, using posters, displays and seminars.