TIKE 2 - ISEF Winner! by Leonardo F. Urbano

I'm a 17-year old highschool junior in Ridgewood New York. 
I built this robot at home in my room to conduct experiments 
regarding robot learning and adaptation in small time frames 
on simple microprocessors. I documented my work and presented 
it at New York's Polytechnic University Science and 
Mathematics Expo and took home first place in Computer 
Science which was an all-expense paid trip to Philadelphia 
where I would compete in Intel's annual International Science 
and Engineering Fair. Polytech also awarded me an Intel 
"Best use of Computer" award valued at $200 and also $200 for 
"Best Project in Category." This May in Philadelphia TIKE 2 
and myself won a Grand Award at Intel's International Science 
and Engineering Fair (ISEF) valued at $500. I was also awarded 
a full five-year scholarship to Drexel University! And at 
the government awards ceremony, NASA presented to me an 
all-expense paid trip to their Space Camp in Huntsville 
Alabama for this summer. 

TIKE 2 was built from a Mekatronics Talrik Junior wooden robot 
kit. The brawn was purchased for about $40. Made of wood, the 
body was very light and surprisingly strong. Two Futaba s3003 
servos were mounted on the side directly at diametrically 
opposed points to enable differential steering in navigation. 
The circular bot stands about 4 inches off level ground and 
has a wooden circular plate hovering above it at 7 inches in 
diameter. It is controlled by a BASIC Stamp II microcontroller 
and has 8 sensors: 4 tactile sensors mounted around a floating 
"bumper ring" at positions center-left, center, center-right 
and aft; also 4 photoelectric cadmium sulfide photoresistors 
mounted at the bumper hardpoints to enable light readings 
about the environment. 

The title of my project was "A Simple Onboard Adaptive Robot 
Controller" and results concluded that my elegantly simplistic 
controller outperformed most traditional modern day approaches 
to robot learning and adaptation. 

TIKE 2 is a continuation from a past robot project called TIKE. 
TIKE is also featured on this robomenu. TIKE 2 operates under a 
subsumption controller (developed by Professor Rodney A. Brooks 
at MIT) that I have modified to induce adaptivity in each 
behavior finite-state-machine. The FSMs are looping infinitely 
until the batteries die. Each loop adapts by reflecting changes 
in the environment and all FSMs together performing this 
function contribute to the robots overall adaptive behavior. 
It supports the common theory that complex behavior is composed 
of several smaller simple behaviors and that complex behavior 
need not a complex controller but is merely a reflection of a 
complex environment. 

I had a few problems with the little guy. The bumper ring 
would somtimes fall off and i had to resort to gluing it in 
place by fixing the mounting screws with hot glue. Also, the 
wiring is a bit hectic and I was too lazy to implement nice 
and neat connectors. This really backfired when debugging. 

You can find details about TIKE 2 at my homepage

The robotics section is yet to be updated. Bear with me and 
if you're really interested, please drop me a line. We all 
know how fun it is to get mail from fellow hobby-roboticists.

My next robot is a 6-legged insectoid powered by a BASIC Stamp 
II and 5 strechers totalling 90 I/O pins! It'll have tons of 
sensors. =) 

Thanks for reading! 

Email: stiglie@aol.com

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