Last summer, Glen Chiacchieri, 22, of Somerville, along with seven other computer and electrical engineering students, worked on building a WiFi-extending robot designed “to be operated remotely in hazardous areas where network infrastructure is scarce,” according to his blog post earlier this month.
Almost a year later, the team had custom-built from scratch the entire 40-by-28-by-16-inch, 150-pound “monster,” as part of Northeastern University’s senior capstone design program.
“We are all very proud of our accomplishment in building this robot,” wrote Chiacchieri. “It performs near flawlessly exactly as we intended and is utterly badass.”
Chiacchieri wrote that knowing that there was a need for a WiFi deployment system, and the idea of controlling a robot through the network it uses, helped them kickstart the project.
“In my previous robotic project, my partner and I happened upon a few research papers and calls for proposals to build WiFi-deploying robots for use in military applications,” he wrote. “It turns out that having ad-hoc WiFi networks can really come in handy in military operations and in disaster-affected areas, where physical network infrastructure may have been damaged.”
The intricate design consists of the WiFi deployment system, the physical robot and the robotic controls/operator interface. With the WiFi deployment system, any device with a WiFi card can connect to the robot’s repeated signal and “communicate with other devices in the network.”
If this all doesn’t already sound incredibly impressive, a 200-pound person can sit on the robot as it moves eight to 10 miles per hour. The team thinks that with a more powerful motor controller, the robot could climb a set of stairs. Can you believe that there was not one mechanical engineer on the team?
To experience some of the robot magic, check out the team’s video below, complete with trance music from Blank & Jones.