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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

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 19001RLA5@psu.edu

objectives
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.
mini grand challenge mgc
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.
sample path waypoint layout
Sample Path/Waypoint Layout

WP #4

WP #3

WP #5

orange cones

WP #6

Path width = ~8ft

Waypoint (WP) diameter = 20ft

key equipment list psu robot
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

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
key software
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
vision processing
Vision Processing
  • Edge detection
vision processing19
Vision Processing
  • Example Edge detection
pilot study student solutions
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.
results
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
results conclusions
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
future directions
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
references
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

robotics in second life
Robotics in Second Life
  • Exploratorium Second Life site (Mars rover)