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ACM SIGCSE 2008 Workshop #8: Computer Vision and Image Processing: Accessible Resources for Robotics and CS Curricula March 12, 2008 Mini Grand Challenge Contest To Enhance CS Education Bob Avanzato Associate Professor of Engineering

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Mini grand challenge contest to enhance cs education l.jpg

ACM SIGCSE 2008

Workshop #8: Computer Vision and Image Processing:

Accessible Resources for Robotics and CS Curricula

March 12, 2008

Mini Grand Challenge Contest To Enhance CS Education

Bob Avanzato

Associate Professor of Engineering

Penn State Abington1600 Woodland RoadAbington PA [email protected]


Objectives l.jpg
Objectives

  • Design autonomous outdoor robot contest “Mini Grand Challenge” (MGC) to promote interest in robotics, vision and AI.

  • Partly inspired by DARPA Grand Challenge

  • Include vision and HRI component.

  • Contest should be accessible to advanced high school, lower-division undergrads (CS. Engr, IST) and beyond.

  • Availability of low-cost robot platform and development environment to improve accessibility to MGC contest.



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Mini Grand Challenge (MGC)

  • Autonomous, outdoor, electric ground robot

  • Follow 8-ft wide (unmarked) paths on college campus

  • Reach 6 waypoints (GPS longitude, latitude)

  • Avoid human obstacles on path

  • Entertain human spectators

  • Take off-road detour across field (with obstacles)

  • Payload: 1 gallon of water

  • Robot Speed: 1.5 - 5mph

  • (6) Waypoints disclosed 24 hours prior to contest event.










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Sample Path/Waypoint Layout

WP #4

WP #3

WP #5

orange cones

WP #6

Path width = ~8ft

Waypoint (WP) diameter = 20ft


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Key Equipment List (PSU robot)

  • PowerWheels™ platform $150

  • GPS (with serial cable) $100

  • Speaker/amp (15-30 watt) $60

  • Inverter (DC to AC) $30

  • Servo (steering) $50

  • Speed controller $60

  • USB camera (240 x 320) $50

  • Camera stand $30

  • Sonar and servo $50

  • USB to serial converter $20

  • Servo controller $50-$100

  • Battery $50

  • TOTAL…… $700 (approx.)

  • NOTE: Laptop, MATLAB costs not included in above list


Robot block diagram l.jpg

Sonar

Steering

Control

USBCamera

Pontech SV203

Controller

Drive Motor

Speed/Dir

Control

GPS

(Garmin eTrex)

Speaker

(30-watt)

Laptop Computer

Windows XP OS

MATLAB

Robot Block Diagram



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Key Software

  • MATLAB with Image Processing Toolbox

    • Grab image from USB camera

    • Edge detection

    • Read GPS text serial output (position, velocity)

    • Text-to-Speech

    • Send motor and steering commands to servo controller

    • Main control loop written in MATLAB

  • Drivers

    • MS Win32 Speech API (SAPI) (text to speech)

    • VFM (Video for Windows frame grabber)

  • Any Software/Hardware solution Allowed


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Vision Processing

  • Edge detection


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Vision Processing

  • Example Edge detection


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Pilot Study: Student Solutions

  • Background: Sophomore-level CS/EE students with no prior experience in vision

  • Students developed a heuristic, path-tracking algorithm in MATLAB (Image Processing ToolBox; Canny edge detection; non-optimal).

  • MATLAB environment promotes rapid prototyping and facilitates testing.


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Results

  • 2005 Mini Grand Challenge(April 2005)

    • 3 participants; no successful robots

    • Rain limited outdoor event (rescheduled in Dec.)

    • Robots on display indoors; same day as FF contest

    • Generated much interest for future events

  • 2006 Mini Grand Challenge(April 1, 2006)

    • 6 participants; one robot manages 50% of course

  • 2007 Mini Grand Challenge(March 31, 2007)

    • 8 robots registered

    • 1 high school team

    • 1 winner (50 out of 100 points); no robot completes course

  • 2007 Mini Grand Challenge(April 26, 2008)

    • Expect 10 – 15 robots


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Mini Grand Challenge Event(PSU-Abington PA; April 3, 2005)







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Results/Conclusions

  • Mini Grand Challenge (MGC) contest successfully promotes interest in robotics and vision for a wide range of participants (freshman college to professional)

  • Low-cost robot platform with MATLAB software allows freshman/sophomore undergrads to participate in sophisticated algorithm development.

  • Contest supports wide range of educational goals.

  • Outdoor contest has risks (example: rain!)

  • Larger robot --> more cumbersome for classroom integration


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Future Directions

  • Develop web-based resources and tutorials.

  • Develop K-12 outreach activities based on MGC

  • Assess (survey) student retention and recruitment.

  • Regional contests

  • Develop indoor extension to contest to mitigate weather problems. (Example: follow cones in gym)

  • Non-CS major student involvement – IST (Spr 2008)

  • Develop robot contest in Second Life 3D virtual world


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References

  • PSU Abington Mini Grand Challenge Website

    http://cede.psu.edu/~avanzato/robots/contests/outdoor/index.htm

  • YouTube video of MGC robot (2007)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVMxM7VVe8Y


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Robotics in Second Life

  • Exploratorium Second Life site (Mars rover)




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