The MATE ROV competition has often been one of our biggest and most intense projects, and this year came out in full force. The team really pulled together to make a fantastic experience happen, overcoming a technical hurdle and getting a great trip out to Seattle for the competition.
The entire process was challenging, at times stressful, and overall a lot of fun. Many thanks to the following people that made this whole thing possible:
Aaron Carpenter, WIT EET
Alexander Bockman, MIT Lincoln Lab
Benjamin Waltuch, Raytheon, WIT Alum
Carissa Durfee, WIT ProDevo Grant Handler
Chris Sledziona, WIT Architecture
Connor Boris, Zipline International, WIT Alum
Denise Smith, graciously provided her pool
Elizabeth Astle, Draper Labs, WIT Alum
Hydroid, allowed use of Anderson crimp tool
Ian Aucoin, WIT Student, manufacturing assistance
James McCusker, WIT EET
James O’Brien, WIT Physics
James O’hare, WIT Engineering Projects Lab
Joseph Stauss, WIT Interior Design
Joshua Smith, MIT Lincoln Lab
Kelly Parrish, WIT EPIC Grant Handler
Kenneth Curran, WIT Manufacturing
Paul Szczombrowski, WIT Architecture Master’s
Peter Rourke, WIT Manufacturing
Ryan Bakinowski, WIT Manufacturing
Simmons College, provided athletic center
This week was a good week for the ROV team! They made use of the break to manufacture just about all the pieces for the ROV based off of their mechanical designs. It won’t be long now until it’s ready to be in the water!
Take a look at some of the other photos from this week:
The electrical team has some schematics planned out, and now it’s time to test them before having them manufactured. Some new designs for the sensor board were discussed, and they got solenoids working!
Next week, Wentworth IEEE will be visiting Wentworth’s Computer Science Society to talk about the radio telescope project. This project aims to create a radio telescope that will be used by our physics department to track the moons of Jupiter. Their talk will discuss the technology of radio telescopes, the problem to solve, and how they’ve gone about solving it. The project gave their presentation to us for us to check out.
The ROV team has been hard at work putting together the prototype. They’ve printed all of the parts that allow for a very modular testing unit. Doing it this way allows them to quickly and easily swap out broken parts and change the configuration, so a large number of chassis configurations can be tested.
With a mechanical sprint planned soon to deal with the upcoming project design release, a significant amount of progress has been made that allows for the team to jump right into things when specifications are released.
Our ROV team is hard at work with all aspects of design! With the custom boards that recently came in, the mechanical team of the ROV project is able to show some 3D renderings of what the internals of the prototype looks like. Visible are the custom power distribution board, the custom sensor board, and more. This all stacks together nice and small so that it can be compactly inserted into the main PVC compartment of the prototype.
With this in hand, the ROV team continues to 3D print out parts of the prototype, solder everything together, and write the code to control everything. It’s almost ready to put in the water!
The ROV team has been hard at work on its prototype for the MATE competition. This prototype requires some custom PCB’s, so the team has designed, developed, and had printed a board that can mount onto a Raspberry Pi and give connections to all sort of sensors. Having these boards really pushes the ROV to the next level!
The ROV project made some technical decisions for the first time this semester at their most recent meeting. The big meeting point was picking out a basic thruster configuration- the competition requires mobility, but given that only so much current (and therefore thrusters) are allowed, what is the best possible configuration?
The team has set the limit of thrusters to be 6. Vector drives were discussed but eventually dismissed, because the added complexity didn’t seem to have enough of a benefit to be worth it.
The final decision for the configuration was to have 2 thrusters to move up and down (one at the front, and another at the back), and to have the remaining 4 thrusters be mounted on the side- 2 to control forward and backwards movement, and 2 to control strafing. By intentionaly offsetting the height of the strafing motors from each other, the chassis can also strafe normally while still being able to perform rolls. This would be used mostly as a corrective feature.
Due to issues regarding scheduling, it’s been a rough start for the most recent take on the ROV project. It’s not the first time the IEEE has taken on this challenge, but this is a very new team, with veteran members graduating and new members taking over. Thanks to that, and thanks to scheduling conflicts, it’s been hard to continue progress, and the ROV team has agreed to not rush to compete in the upcoming challenge. Instead, they’ll be prioritizing basic functions like control, movement, and object manipulation, ensuring that these tasks (which are universal aspects of each year’s challenges) will be well designed and operational. This should allow for a well designed machine, rather than one that is assembled last minute (as would have been the case if the deadline for this competition was met). The ROV project has typically been one of our most intensive and demanding projects, so although this re-framing of goals is not particularly glamorous, it is a necessary part of engineering the best design.
Earlier in the spring semester, we had a group approach us who wanted to get access to our resources so they could work on one of their in-class design projects: creating a device that could harness radio waves for power. They knew it wouldn’t be much, but were hoping that it would be enough to power small electronics like a sensor network.
They pitched their goal in a general meeting and showed some research that demonstrated that this was a technically viable project. It looked interesting and like there was a lot we could learn from it, so we were happy to give them some materials and access to the lab so they could work on their project.
In early April, they had completed their project and were ready to present. They shared their schematics and how it worked over a lecture with pizza, and showed that the voltage they received was more than they had anticipated, to the point that they are confident that this could power low-powered electronics like sensors, as they had hoped.
Overall, it was a successful project, and one that the IEEE is happy to have been a part of. We wish all members of this project the best of luck and hope that they return next year!
The official website for the Wentworth student branch of the IEEE, the largest association of technical professionals worldwide.