Thursday, 14 January 2016

My Bio - Luke Byrne

My name is Luke Byrne I am an Electronic Engineering student in my Final year. I have always had an interest in electronics and my Final year project is in relation to social robotics. A bit about myself. I am an avid Computer's fan (built my own and all) as well as a Movie Fan. I Kayak, but have been unable to recently. 

My Technical Interest I suppose extends to Electronics itself. I have a fascination with robotics in general and have always enjoyed building them. The reason I love Robotics so much is it is a happy joining of coding and electronics both of which I enjoy. Although I have primarily worked with C code, VB Script and more recently VHDL, I have done work with Arduino's, MBED and Intel's Galileo Board and the Codes associated with them. For my final year project I will also be looking at developing code on the Raspberry Pie 2 board and as such will be developing my Linux capabilities as well as my Python coding skills.

In third year of the BEng Ordinary Degree I was part of a team responsible in developing the BENGiE Project here in WIT. Last year my work experience (with ARLabs in WIT) developed my robotics skills. I worked on a number of different projects:
  1. uGo the Telepresence Robot - I worked in redesigning the Project applying a new computer and updating the software.
  2. Heavyweight Sumo Bots – part of the team of 2 (myself and Philip O’Connor) that developed a larger version of the sumo bots that can be bought in the shops using the Intel Galileo Boards for a competition hosted by Intel.
  3. Lambotics – I worked, with Philip, parallel to the final year students last year to develop a workshop for secondary students using Roborealm.

Overall I think my previous experience with robotics in general; my previous experience with the Lampbotics project itself as well as my final year project directly relating to social robotics would make me a valuable addition to any team.

From working on the project in a smaller form and from viewing the reflections upon the Blogger page, I can see that the project itself has much room to expand. The first iteration of the project was a starter. I know the core values of the project would be to keep the general look of the Lamp intact. This idea still stands but I think the current iteration is too limited.  The use of fishing wire is a good idea but it doesn’t allow for a rotation at the base which limits its movements. This unfortunately is a trade-off of sorts. It hides servos under the desk and adds a bowing motion to the Lamp. If we are willing to add a bit of chunkiness to the project, the extra rotation of the Lamp could be achieved.

Another issue to be tackled the basic premise of a Lamp. This is the lighting issue, all desk Lamps have the ability to light up an area for reading or other work, however our Lampbotics project deviates from this going for a more comical facial feature. Understanding this need to add value to the lamp I believe two approaches could be made to solve the issue.
  • NeoPixle LED’s can be bought in ring format of various sizes. This could be arranged around a centre point(see image) that could be a camera or more LED’s, all of these set for a white light brings back the Lamp’s functionality.
  • Vast array of RGB LED’s can be programmed on and off at different colours or areas that will allow for the eye movements of the old design as well as turning into a Lamp of variant colour and intensity.

These issues aside I think there can be more added to the projects. As mentioned above the addition of NeoPixles would allow for mood lighting as well as a neat design. Having these lights circling a camera I believe a cool addition, this would implant the camera in the lamp itself rather than have it on the desk in a coffee cup. This feature I believe could bring a massive difference to the project. Robert Burke in my third year of the course worked on a vision system for BENGiE. Part of his project was to have the Camera on BENGiE’s head, the problem with this was when BENGiE’s head moved the camera moved as well and code was needed to counteract this effect. Although this was written in Roborealm I Think it should also be possible to port to OpenCV.

Another addition I think could be added is the development of swarm like technology or a hive mind. An example of this would be to have face tracking software on all Lamps. The first lamp that is tracking would be known as the master, if the Lamps are all in a line and the face comes in on the right then all Lamps look to the face dictated by the master. As the face moves down to the next Lamp, Lamp two takes over master and dictates to the rest where to look and so on so forth. A simple way to determine who is master would be the Lamp that has the largest area of a face (the closest face) would take control of the Master program. In order for this to work however each Lamp must know where it is in relation to the rest in order to tell the rest of the Lamps on the Left or Right where to look.

In relation to what was discussed in class about adding noise to movements. In the PIXAR intro that has LAMPY the PIXAR Lamp, along with the squeaks of the springs when LAMPY moves he actually speaks as well. Making “hems” and “haws” sort of like WALL-E or EVE rather than actual words. This adds a personality to the Lamp that could be beneficial to the project.

The Final part of this short Bio was to supply a Motto that sums up my approach to stuff. There are many that could be chosen, Keep moving forward, always do what you’re afraid to do, do it with passion or not at all etc. but I think for me I would have to say my Life motto. Certavi Et Vici. This is Latin loosely translated to mean I have fought and conquered. By this I do not mean to fight whoever is in my team but simply that any task I am required to achieve I will succeed at doing.

Luke Byrne. 1

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