A dunebot at the Cornell Cup USA (via Cornell University & engadget)


The Cornell Cup USA, which just wrapped up this past weekend in Walt Disney World, is an Intel sponsored event pinning the nation’s top engineering students in a competition to design the latest and greatest in embedded technology devices. This year’s competition invited 30 teams from 18 universities in the design of innovative technological gadgetry implementing the latest Intel Atom board to address real-world needs in a manner that would draw up some real interest from venture capitalists. As hosts, Cornell delivered with the design of an open-source laser tag dunebot well worthy of an honorable mention to serve as a resource and model for competing schools implementing Intel tech into their own designs.


The dunebots were developed by a team consisting of Cornell mechanical engineers, electrical and computer engineers, and computer science majors specifically for the Cornell cup event. The bot is fitted with active suspension and all-terrain wheels to maneuver quickly through (or around) challenging environments. A dustproof and water resistant chassis provides a solid foundation for the Intel board powered laser tag system that consists of a front facing camera, a steerable turret holding the laser-tagging device, and an additional turret-mounted camera.


To drive the vehicle, the Cornell engineers use two Xbox 360 controllers: one for maneuvering the vehicle, and one for operating the laser turret. Two dunebots are brought out onto a field full of obstacles and barriers (used for cover) where all the laser tagging fun takes place. Mike Dezube, a team member, explains that the GUI developed for the dunebots also allows for remote operation and remote camera viewing over WiFi connection.


As all other institutions were required to maintain an online blog of their design process - Cornell has made all of the dunebot’s documentation and coding information available for the public to use as they please. This, much like the Cornell Cup’s overall initiative, is done in an effort to continue fostering technological innovation.


A few notable entries to this year’s Cornell Cup include: UPenn’s VIOS designed to create an immersive and interactive television viewing experience, Worcester Polytechnic’s personal wireless biosignal sensing device, Howard University’s sustainable clean drinking water filtration system, and ASU’s intelligent and affordable speech recognition interface.


If interested in building your own dunebot, head on over to the Cornell Systems Engineering website for more information.




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