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    Many thanks to all who applied for the Teacher's Pet Students' Robotics Challenge - there were a great many ideas from all over the world for innovative robotics projects.
    However, we could only have 20 competitors - and in this instance we've selected:
    Mohamed Barakat | Mark Beckett | Benjamin Bonnal | Megan Bryant | Joel Buttars | Quan Do | Spencer James Elliott-Manheim | Mohaned Essam | Kit Fuderich | Rohit Gupta | Alexander Jacques | Faizan Kazani | Sam Khalandovsky | Abel Sebastian Santamarina Macia | Alexander Nathanail | Lokesh Rao | Surendhar Reddy | Yuri Tikhonov | Sai Nikhil Vishnubhatla | John Wallace

    Mohamed Barakat
    Egypt
    Project: Tooling Arrangement Robot Arm
    Synopsis:
    This proposal introduces using recurrent neural learning machine network as a substitute for teacher’s role during arranging his/her desk tools from the teaching tools such as books or even from teacher's breakfast using a hand robot arm, so the teacher will be able to save and dedicate more time for the students at the beginning of each class. The network algorithm will be using multilayer perceptron and Hopfield network based on the fact that a global feedback is a facilitator of computational intelligence. The network will be trained on optical images and patterns of different objects used by the teachers at the beginning of their classroom, and the arranging pattern and order of different learning tools.
    Read Mohamed's project blogs (tag tooling_robot_arm)

    Mark Beckett
    New Zealand
    Project: Easy to Use Robot
    Synopsis:
    My intention for this challenge is to develop a program that others can easily use and follow. Including instructions that don't assume the reader knows how to do xyz is better than them having only half the instructions. Including working examples that readers, teachers or instructors can use is paramount. Including the necessary information and links to allow extending this is also a requirement.
    It is my intention in this challenge to show that the process doesn't have to only involve the programmers, but the designers and the decision makers as well. There is not a single item on the planet that hasn't had input from many disciplines in order to provide the finished product. (and software is no exception)
    Read Mark's project blogs (tag easy_robot)

    Benjamin Bonnal
    Switzerland
    Project: Automatic Exercise Sheet Sorting Machine
    Synopsis:
    If I get selected for this contest, I would take the Raspberry Pi kit to build an Automatic Exercise Sheet Sorting Machine.
    It would take one by one each finished exercise sheet and with the camera and OpenCV I would detect some kind of color blob on the sheet to update a file which store the amount of work left to do.
    The system would also have a mechanism which would sort all the subject in the appropriate shelf.
    Read Benjamin's project blogs (tag exercise_sheet_sorter)

    Megan Bryant
    United States
    Project: Assistance Robot
    Synopsis:
    My proposal is to use build an assistance robot for students with disabilities and students for whom English is a second language. I am a graduate student at the College of William and Mary studying in the Computational Operations Research Master of Computer Science program. I also teach Calculus I labs as a part of my stipend. Traditionally, students with documented disabilities can receive accommodation from the college. This accommodation can often take the form of designated note takers (assistants that attend classes with the students). These assistants have varying skill levels, which can have a major impact on the quality of work received by the student. I propose using the Raspberry Pi 2 to build an assistance device that can increase the mean quality of these accommodations. I envision a device which will not only record the visual and audio of the lectures, but will also use existing algorithms to transcribe the recorded audio for review. This will utilize the camera module for recording, a mic module for audio, a battery pack for portability, and a custom built case. This will also have applications for English as a second language students who can use the device to not only record their lectures, but to also translate the spoken audio into their primary language for later review.
    Read Megan's project blogs (tag assistance_robot)

    Joel Buttars
    United States
    Project: LectureCam
    Synopsis:
    Using the camera I would build a base that would aid in video chat (ex, Google hangout, face time, Skype) The camera would be put on a two axis tilt and pan unit. The camera would use image processing to keep the person in the focus of the camera. This would be helpful if you were walking around while talking at home. Another use of this would be for students to record lectures to watch later (pending professor's approval of course). The auto track would keep the professor in view and allow the student to pay attention in class and have a source to review the lecture latter. A follow on to this project would be to swap the camera and control to a device like a phone as well as a battery pack so the tracking unit can be used on the go.
    Read Joel's project blogs (tag lecture_cam)

    Quan Do
    United States
    Project: TABot
    Synopsis:
    What I am proposing is a cheap affordable Arduino robot that moves around the classroom and acts as a TA, or TABot. The TABot will be a new and more effective method of communication between the teacher and the students. Each time the students find the teacher going over the material too fast, and want him or her to repeat, they just press a button on the TABot, which will alert the teacher and remind him or her to slow down. If a student has a question, instead of raising their hand and hoping the teacher will see it, they can just press another button on the TABot, which ring an tone that tells the teacher that there is question. Plus, during exam period, the TABot can go around the classroom and hand out quizzes to students. Additional function of TABot will be its ability to detect whether a student is paying attention in class or not.
    Read Quan's project blogs (tag tabot_project)

    Spencer James Elliott-Manheim
    United States
    Project: Attendance Automator
    Synopsis:
    As many teaching colleagues would agree, one of the most difficult challenges to a teacher in the public education system is classroom management.  Students are not always seeking to misbehave, but the behaviors required of students in today's schools are usually pretty oppositional to what they might experience at home.  As always, students must give up much of their Bill of Rights just to come to class, but now they are also being asked to part with every-day objects (i.e., smartphones) when they join a classroom.  Anyone who has used a smartphone understands the addictive, habit-forming trends they encourage and it's very difficult to ask a young person to break such habits all on their own.  It's a drug like anything else.  Also:  actual drugs are a problem too.
    My proposal for this project is two-fold, a one-device and software package to automate attendance for a classroom instructor.  One of the biggest time-sinks in a classroom session is the first five minutes of taking attendance and logging it into whatever system the school setup back in '94.  It would be a huge convenience for a system to automatically detect if a student were seated at a particular time (first fold), and to cause an alert when a student was out of their seat (second fold).
    Read Spencer's project blogs (tag attendance_automator)

    Mohaned Essam
    Malaysia
    Project: Book Carrying Robot
    Synopsis:
    In the proposed project, a robot is used for the application of carrying specific objects (books for example) to a dynamic target point. Image processing will be used to differentiate the objects (special labels on the books for example) based on their colored labels and the target point or target points based also on a specific set of colors or shapes (circular for example). then the distance to the target point can be specified either by analyzing the target size or using the distance sensor.
    Read Mohaned's project blogs (tag book_carrying_robot)

    Kit Fuderich
    United States
    Project: Arduino Teachers Pet
    Synopsis:
    At my school I am leading efforts to teach robotics; the most apparent has been through our LEGO robotics team which had unprecedented success this year during the First Lego League Championship. As a result, enthusiasm and interest in robotics is at an all time high among the student body and I believe that the opportunity to test the Arduino robotics kit with some of my middle school students with further boost the profile of technology classes.
    Read Kit's project blogs (tag arduino_pet)

    Rohit Gupta
    United States
    Project: Question Sensor Robot
    Synopsis:
    Lot of times when a teacher is teaching a big class, some students raise their hands to ask a question which are sometimes very helpful to other students who might share similar question but are reluctant to ask in the middle of a running class. Teachers love to answer such questions because it keeps them updated on how much the students are understanding the study material and he/she can pace up or down if needed. So, these questions are providing both ways feedback which is very helpful for the overall course structure and the class.
    Now, in reality lot of these raised hands go unnoticed and students don't want to shout in middle of the class or keep their hands up for longer time. Sometimes, they think that it is might be a trivial issue as no one else is asking it which might the thinking of several students. Overall, an important point is missed which might be crucial for understanding that topic and hence this is an important issue.
    To solve this very important issue and help teachers get all raised hands/doubts, I suggest a simple static robot camera which would be sitting on top of the white board high up where it can see every student. If a student raises a hand, it could issue a small beep sound (or maybe something different) to notify the teacher that someone has a question.
    Read Rohit's project blogs (tag question_sensor)

    Alexander Jacques
    United States
    Project: Test-Taker Authentication
    Synopsis:
    My project will use a Raspberry Pi 2 and a camera board to provide positive authentication for test-takers in large survey courses.
    In a large enrollment course of 100+ (usually in the freshman year) professors hardly get the chance to know all the students.  These can also be some of the most difficult courses as students are adjusting to life away from home as they are hit with much more difficult schoolwork.  The combination of these can, unfortunately, push some students to cheating.  Instead of taking a calculus test oneself, a friend or compensated classmate from a different section can merely put a different name on the test and hand it in.  My robot aims to remedy this possibility for an unfair advantage.
    Read Alexander's project blogs (tag test_taker_auth)

    Faizan Kazani
    Canada
    Project: Note-Taker Robot
    Synopsis:
    My idea for this challenge is to develop a "Note-Taker" or a note taking robot that will enable students to only listen to the lectures in the classroom while the robot will take care of writing down everything that is written on the lecture board. My objective with this project is particularly to cater the needs of students who are visually impaired and who face with learning disabilities. Due to these problems, students are not able to concentrate during the lecture and often gets carried away when they are trying to manage listening and writing at the same time. With my proposal, I aim to create this robot which will help the disable students to be on the same standards as the normal students.
    Read Faizan's project blogs (tag note_taker_robot)

    Sam Khalandovsky
    United States
    Project: The Note Assistant
    Synopsis:
    This proposal is for a robot that would assist students in note-taking during lectures. Specifically, it would allow them to extract important information from their notes in an easier way, and record additional information that a note-taker might miss for later retrieval. The robot would collect and process data from each lecture, and present it in an easily searchable and accessible way.
    Read Sam's project blogs (tag note_assistant)

    Abel Sebastian Santamarina Macia
    Brazil
    Project: Mobile Robot Control
    Synopsis:
    Background and state of the art: The autonomous navigation is one of the hardest skills in the field of mobile robotics. The successful development of this ability depends on four important features:
    • Perception: The robot must interpret the information provided by its sensors.
    • Location: To determine the position of the robot in the environment where it is located.
    • Cognitive: The robot must decide what to do to reach your goal.
    • Motion Control: The robot must guide their movement to the desired trajectory.
    The planning, generation and path control are key tools for autonomous navigation of mobile robots due to the need for a clear path of obstacles.
    Read Abel's project blogs (tag mobile_robot_control)

    Alexander Nathanail
    United Kingdom
    Project: R4GV (Robot for Graph Visualization)
    Synopsis:
    My idea is for a robot for drawing graphs, it;s called the R4GV (Robot for Graph Visualization). It would be made using the Arduino kit, utilizing the "Parallax BOEBot Robot for Arduino Kit" as a chassis. The robot would be programmed to draw different graphs for example linear, quadratic and cubic as well as ones like logarithmic graphs and trigonometric graphs. All students would find it fun to see the robot drawing out the graph of the equation they had typed in. I have also come up with a few possible developments that could be made upon completion of the initial version. Firstly it could draw different types of graphs in different colors, to help differentiate them in the minds of particularly visual learners. Also different sounds, or patterns of sounds, could be played to help audiological learners. And finally, and probably most ambitiously, the drawing could be copied by students, and the copy would then be scanned by the robot, by following the line, and seeing whether, within a margin of error based on age group, it matches the real graph, this would be helpful for kinesthetic learners to differentiate different types of graph.
    Read Alexander's project blogs (tag r4gv_project)

    Lokesh Rao
    India
    Project: Cell Phone Radiation Detector Robot
    Synopsis:
    In this modern world everyone has a cellphone. By 2010 seventy-five percent of twelve to seventeen year olds owned mobile phones and in the past two years that number has increased. Despite what many teenagers argue, allowing cell phones during school would not be a good idea because of distractions to students and teachers, a new and easy way of cheating on tests, and enhanced social problems, including loss of social skills and cyber-bullying. All in all, schools will be a better learning environment and better prepare students for life in the outside world if cell phones are continued to be banned during the school day.
    The main aim of the project is to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by the teachers during the lecture i.e, usage of cell phones in class. To achieve this we have employed a cell phone radiation detector which detects the presence of cell phone radiation.
    Read Lokesh's project blogs (tag cell_phone_detector)

    Surendhar Reddy
    India
    Project: Reminder Robot
    Synopsis:
    I'm planning to design a reminder robot which will remind you to do thing unlike the regular bored app stuff. Everyday just enter what you to get reminded this robot will interact with with you from active artificial learning using wit.ai and open source tool from Facebook. It's very simple Arduino + Matlab ( Python Twitter library) + wit.ai and result is very stunning and interactive robot.
    Read Surendhar's project blogs (tag reminder_robot)

    Yuri Tikhonov
    Russia
    Project:  Schedule & Homework Robot
    Synopsis:
    My project: an Arduino robot that moves from the box at the end of lecture, tells homework, announces the end of the lecture, and lets the students go home, I think they will be impressed.
    Read Yuri's project blogs (tag schedule_bot)

    Sai Nikhil Vishnubhatla
    India
    Project: Virtual Eye System
    Synopsis:
    To implement a virtual eye system, wherein the surroundings in the range of 2-3 meters are 3-D mapped, using Raspberry Pi, Pi camera, a Sharp IR sensor with the help of MATLAB and Simulink software.
    This project aims to compare and better the existing and conventional method of 3-D mapping, i.e. projection of 3-D image by the use of multiple cameras placing at a particular spacing from each other, just like the set of human eyes, which help us perceive not only the color and quality of object but also the depth or distance of the object from the observer. Same way, this project also tries to perceive the 3-D characteristics of the surroundings via a camera(Pi camera) and a distance sensor(Sharp IR sensor). Having it done with Raspberry Pi, Pi camera and having it done in MATLAB and Simulink will only ease the process and thereby a better result. Compared to the conventional systems, I plan to obtain better performance from this proposal.
    Read Sai's project blogs (tag virtual_eye_system)

    John Wallace
    United States
    Project: ARMwrestler
    Synopsis:
    ARMwrestler is a demonstration and project robot is designed to teach students a variety of concepts from closed-loop control mechanisms to algorithms to hardware interfacing. The robot structure is rather simple: C-clamps hold the robot's main frame to a table or other flat surface. From the frame protrudes a structure modeled after a human arm and hand. This arm does one thing: arm wrestling! Through various actuators and mechanical systems, the robot simulates the mechanics of a human arm wrestler so that it can go face-to-face with a human opponent. Muscles could be simulated with standard DC or stepper motors attached to a mechanism that linearizes the torque. A more realistic and much cooler idea would be to use nitinol memory metal to actually make contracting muscles! Whatever the actuator design is (these could even be interchangeable), a set of high-current transistors or switches will allow logic-level signals to control all aspect of movement in the arm. Various encoders, pressure sensors, and other input devices will be distributed throughout the robot to give the exact position of all parts of the arm in real time. This will all be connected to a Raspberry PI, the brains of our beast! This provides a simple programming environment for students to interface with the robot's hardware.
    Read John's project blogs (tag armwrestler_project)