NI-ARC 2016

As the semester begins to wind down the students of the University of Melbourne are diligently preparing for the National Instruments Australian Robotics Competition. The compilation of 6 months work with all sorts of drama and mischief. There has been blood. There have been tears. There has been mild electrocution and of course there have been explosions. Never before has there been a project so easy to describe as a B-grade movie.

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Abhishek Renganathan (Left) ,Thomas Harper (Middle), Rui Wang (Right).

It has not been all fun and games. A huge thank you must go to the lead programmer Rui Wang for the ridiculous amount of time that he has spent in the mechatronics project lab working and chasing after the robot with his laptop precariously balanced in one hand as the robot scurries around the 4m by 6m track.

Also a major contributor to the team and working on the programming was Abhishek Renganathan. It is because of Abhishek that all those in the lab are haunted by the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack but also why the robot has progressed how it has. If not for Abhishek and Rui and their sheer determination to not give up the final milestone would not have been passed.

Thomas Harper was the leader/secretary had the task of designing the mechanical and electrical systems. Thomas enjoyed any excuse to use any CAD program he could or couldn’t justify using. Like everyone on the team enjoyed working with other enthusiastic students and could not recommend enough for people to working on similar projects. 

Another person who greatly contributed to the programming was Zhanhuai Huang. Zhanhuai Huang was instrumental in organising the structure of the Labview program.

Something should be said of the robot; fondly known to the team as the “Circular Healthcare Interpolation Robotics System” it is more or less a small tank weighing around 10 kg with high torque stepper motors and an FPGA based controller. The team knows that it will be an underdog at the competition, being barely 4 months old, but the team is keen to compete and learn everything that they can. μ-bot “MU-BOT” is already in the works as a venture between the faculty supervisor of this project Professor Jonathan Manton and the Melbourne University Electrical Engineering Club. Fear not, with everyone’s enthusiastic support (LINK), μ-bot can surpass any short coming of CHAIRS.

Most importantly everyone would like to thank Professor Jonathan Manton for taking the time to supervise the project. Always having time for meetings and having an incredible amount of patience, put simply the team could not have had a better supervisor and mentor.


BY Thomas Harper

Melbourne University Electrical Engineering Club

Vice-President 2016

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