Computer System Design
Spring 2006





Gallery of movie demos from (some) previous projects


Gallery of pictures from (some) previous projects

Visual servoing. The goal of this project was to develop a human-robot interface that would allow a user to explore a remote environment with a mobile robot. The system consisted of a small wheeled robot with a wireles camera and a wireless PDA, and a workstation with a webcam. The user would receive live feed from the robot camera, and would control the robot movements by making prespecified head movements (see figure) in front of the webcam. Right/left head shakes would command the robot to make right/left turns, up/down head nods would command the robot to move forward or stop. A watchdog safety thread ran on the robot's PDA to stop the robot if communications with the user were disrupted.  


Robot control with EMG signals. The goal of this project was to develop a human-robot interface based on physiological signals. The system consisted of an array of electromyogram (EMG) sensors, which detected electrical activity in different muscles of the user, a DSP board that performed pattern recognition on the EMG signals, and a small mobile robot controlled via RF. The user would train the pattern classifier on a subset of hand gestures which, when expressed at a later time, would serve as individual commands for the robot.



Coff-e-mail. The goal of this project was to develop a low-cost embedded web-server that would keep logs of coffee consumption in the department’s student lounge. The system contained photocells for measuring current levels of coffee, motion sensors for detecting when coffee was being poured, and a low-cost camera to capture an image of the coffee mug. The system kept statistics on-line and also informed registered users when a fresh coffee pot was being brewed.  

Motion tracking with infra-red imaging. The goal of this project was to develop a motion capture system based on IR imaging. The students designed a head-mounted frame to allow recovery of 3D head rotations (roll, pitch and yaw), developed a graphical user interface, automated a number of otherwise time-consuming tasks (e.g., initial detection of markers in the face), and integrated the audio-visual capture system with an MPEG-4 compliant facial animation engine.

Omni-Directional Vision System for Mobile Robots. The objective of this project was to design and integrate an omni-directional vision system (ODVS) for a mobile robot. The ODVS consisted of a CCD array (based on the CMUCam) coupled with a spherical mirror (a chromed light bulb), that generated a 360-degree view of the surroundings of the robot. The students were able to integrate the ODVS with a miniature mobile robot, and track a color moving target in real-time.  

 Acoustic Navigation for Mobile Robots. The goal of this project was to develop a microphone array to allow a miniature mobile robot to detect acoustic beacons. The array consisted of eight miniature microphones in a ring configuration to provide 360 degree sound localization. The students designed a custom printed circuit interface board for the microphones, which also contained a programmable filter bank that allowed the robot to “listen” to eight different center frequencies.

Dead-Reckoning System for Mobile Robots. The objective of this project was to design a dead-reckoning system for mobile robots based on odometry, inertial navigation and a digital compass. Odometry was achieved with optical encoders attached to the wheel axles of a miniature robot. The inertial navigation consisted of a 2-axis MEMS accelerometer and a MEMS gyroscope, which allowed the robot to measure linear and angular accelerations. These two dead-reckoning modalities were complemented with information from a digital compass. The students also investigated sensor fusion strategies to combine information from all these sensors.