Robot Building Project

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 October 2016

I am currently taking a class for my major called mechatronics (ME 4550). The class focuses on the combination of electronics, programming, and mechanical devices.

We were tasked to create a mechatronic device for an individual project that has all of these features and has some practical application. For my project I decided I wanted to build robot! I love star wars and so my mind quickly thought of BB-8. At first I thought it would be too complicated or hard for the project, but I went for it anyway.

I ordered all my parts a couple weeks ago and began construction as they came in the mail. I used a 10” hamster ball for the round shell and a 2-wheeled robot for the drive system. A servo is mounted to the bottom of the robot that will shift a weight back and forth leaning the sphere as the wheels drive forward or backward simultaneously. To make a weight heavy enough and the right size, I melted down a bunch of lead fishing sinkers and attached that to some K’NEX then glued that to the servo arm. I broke the first servo but I’ll get another one.

The bot will be controlled through an Arduino UNO microcontroller mounted to the center robot. The only physical simplification I made was to leave out the BB-8 head.

Mechatronic BB8

This project so far has been a ton of fun! I love building things and being hands on, so the construction phase has been a blast. It feels like something I could be doing just as a fun hobby project, yet this is for a class required for my major. I guess that means I chose the right program for myself.

I can’t wait to get the programming loaded up and see the little guy moving around. After graduation I think I will continue the project and possibly add remote control and some feedback control through motion sensors.

National WERC Competition

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 October 2016

As a senior, I decided to get involved in a few new student organizations within the Russ College of Engineering. One of these is the National WERC Competition, which challenges collegiate teams to develop viable solutions to real-world environmental/energy-related problems.

The competition has a few prompts to choose from, and teams can also choose to make their own project related to a current environmental problem. This year, our team of six chemical engineering students is creating a passive solar distillation process to treat acid mine drainage and turn it into clean water, while recovering the dried salts that remain. Our innovative design is entirely passive, using no electricity and requiring little to no human interaction.

Teams will not only plan how to carry out this process on a large scale, but they are also tasked with creating a bench scale model to represent how this process works on a small scale. In April, my teammates and I will spend a week in New Mexico, and go to New Mexico State University to present our design with our bench scale demonstration. Judges will grade the project based off numerous factors and give out awards to the top teams in each prompt category.

On the trip, students from OU also get to stop and do some sightseeing in New Mexico and Arizona, including hiking in the Grand Canyon. For more questions on about the WERC project, feel free to contact Dr. Ridgway.

Participating in the Robe Leadership Institute

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 29 October 2016

This semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to be selected into the Robe Leadership Institute. The purpose of RLI is to supply a group of selected graduating seniors in the Russ College (all engineering and technology majors) with leadership insight and techniques. Dr. Bayless (Mechanical Engineering Professor) facilitates and teaches this course.

Throughout the semester, we have successful Ohio University grads come in and speak to us about their leadership experiences and career advice. As a student, this is an incredible experience that most students don’t get. I am making sure to take advantage and to ask the speakers every question I can. To hear about a successful person’s career path, accomplishments, and failures and to ask them how they utilized different leadership techniques has been a great experience for me, as I approach graduation in May.

Also, I admire how excited the speakers are to give back to Ohio University Russ College students. An added bonus to this course is a trip to San Diego for Spring Break to further expand our leadership.

At the beginning of the course, our professor had us participate in a Challenge Course at the Ridges.

Challenge Course

The purpose of this event is to have our whole class participate in problem-solving activities. By doing these activities, I found out more about my peers in the class and their leadership techniques. I am excited to see how all of us make a transition as leaders by the end of the semester. I am so excited that I have decided to take this course and transition into a great leader in what ever I do.

Cru Fall Retreat

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 18 October 2016

Last weekend I took a break from my industrial engineering studies and spent a few days at the Scioto Hills camp site with CRU. CRU is a college campus ministry that I have been involved with since my freshman year.

Each fall a group of about 200 students who are involved with CRU at Ohio University and a few other small schools in southeastern Ohio, travel about an hour from campus to spend time together learning more about Jesus, deepening our relationships with one another and playing fun games like ultimate pumpkin, shown below. (I’m in the red shirt on the far right.)

Ultimate Pumpkin

Ultimate pumpkin is an annual fall retreat event that is similar to ultimate Frisbee, but played with a greased-down pumpkin. There are three teams composed of students that live on the three main greens or sections of campus, South Green, East Green and West Green (which is also home of the engineering buildings).

Since I lived on South Green my freshman year, I played with the South Green team. In 2015 South Green suffered their first lost since the tournament began in 2009, but I am glad to report that I helped bring the trophy back to South where it rightly belongs.

Saturday night, there is a large bonfire. This is a time for students to reflect on what they have learned and experienced during the retreat. (In the picture below, I am on the far left side in the black T-shirt with the bear.)

Cru Bonfire

I really enjoy CRU and many other student organizations that I have had a chance to check out since I began my time at Ohio University. There is truly an organization tailored to fit every type of student on campus regardless of background and interest.

Training for a Half Marathon

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 6 October 2016

This past summer, I started becoming more interested in running. I used to love running when I was younger. I ran the 4×400 m dash and the 400 m dash for track in middle school and high school. I also started running cross country in high school. Unfortunately, my running days came to an end due to very tight muscles in my knees. I had to go to physical therapy for a month in order to try healing them. The therapy did not seem to work, so I quit running for a year or so and my knees felt a lot better.

Last year, I decided to start running again since my knee pain was gone. It was a slow start and very hard to finish even a mile or two. This past summer, however, I had an internship at JPMorgan Chase in Columbus. A few of my friends from high school live there, so I was glad I got to hang out with them a lot. I decided to join a local gym with one of my friends so we could have something to do together after work. She not only worked out, but also ran a lot. She has actually finished a few half marathons in Columbus, which at the moment, I thought was crazy.

My friend, Marissa, motivated me to start running more. I stretch every day now, so the knee pain has not returned, thankfully. After I could run four miles pretty easily, I started asking her about the half marathon. She told me that I could find routines online that fit with my running level and how often I wanted to run, and there was one coming up in Columbus on October 16th 2016.

It took me a little while before I actually committed to the half marathon. I started my training in the middle of July, running three days a week: one easy run, one pace run, and one long run. Now, I am two weeks away from my first half marathon and feel very confident in my training. I finished ten miles last Friday and will continue to run for the next two weeks to work on speed. My goal is to finish in less than two hours. Training for this half marathon during school has been a pretty big commitment, but I am very excited that it will finally happen soon so I can feel accomplished.

SCOPE Laboratory

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 October 2016

Another research opportunity at Ohio University has brought me closer to the goals and aspirations I once had as a kid. I’d always wanted to be a doctor, so that I could help sick people get better; I’d always wanted to make the first true Artificial Intelligence, like Arnold in the second Terminator movie; and I’d always wanted to be a professional Athlete.

My research in Artificial Intelligence started during Spring Semester of my Sophomore year. I reached out to one of my professors at Ohio University to study machine learning, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence. The next semester, I was offered a research position in the Smarthealth Laboratory working with Dr. Marling and Dr. Bunescu, where we write AI programs to help patients with Type 1 Diabetes manage their condition. Ultimately the work will help these patients live more comfortably and safely.

It was here that I realized OU had given me the opportunity to apply my unique skills as a Computer Science major to help people. I’m not a physician, but I still have the feeling that my 8-year-old self is proud.

My latest research project was awarded to me by the Russ College Undergraduate Research Fund. I’m now able to research with Dr. Vigo in the SCOPE laboratory. Here, we work on the mathematical modeling of human conceptual behavior. In other words, my job is to help apply mathematics to computers to help them form concepts in the same way that a human would. It’s a long way from the science fiction AI, but I don’t think I’ve disappointed my younger self.

In short, Ohio University has taken what I thought was a decision to only be a computer scientist, and it’s opened my eyes to the cross-disciplinary work that will help me contribute to almost all of the fields I had once intended. Now, I just have to make a smart robot that can hit a 450ft homerun. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity, and I hope this isn’t the last time you read about my research.

Retail’s Digital Summit

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 27 September 2016

This past weekend I attended Retail’s Digital Summit in Dallas, Texas. They flew a few Ohio University students down there for free. The only thing I had to pay for was a ride to and from the airport, a lunch and a dinner.

I was informed about the event by our secretary here in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I saw “free” written everywhere, and so I figured I would apply. After a day they emailed me and told me I had been accepted to go to the conference.

One important aspect of the trip was being able to network with large retail companies like GSN, Ebay, and PayPal. They attend this conference looking to network and team up with other companies to brainstorm new ideas for selling their products. They also were hoping to show off their recent marketing schemes.

One thing that I did learn was how to communicate on a professional level with people that aren’t just strictly engineering. I got to meet some students from other schools. I also got to meet some students from Ohio University’s Russ College who I hadn’t known before this event. I also learned that although the marketing industry treats their members very nicely, I don’t think it’s a field that interests me.

While I was in Dallas, I was able to do some sight-seeing and enjoy some good food. I got to see where John F Kennedy was shot with the help of an unofficial tour guide. He pulled us out into the street to get a picture near the “X” of his assassination. The skyline was beautiful and so was our hotel. I tried one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, with some amazing peach cobbler. We got delicious free food at the conference events. Although we tried to diversify our taste buds, to save some money we stopped by a Subway to get an Italian BMT.