Engineering Design Projects (ES 100), the capstone course at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, challenges seniors to engineer a creative solution to a real-world problem.
Teleoperation of Multi-Robot Systems Using Gesture-Based Control
Darrell Huang, S.B. ’20, electrical engineering
In an effort to create a more intuitive method for users to control multiple robot systems, Huang developed a wristband that enables the use of gestures to teleoperate mobile robots. Through the use of visible light communication between the wristband and the robot, a user can point and select which robot to operate. Once a robot has been selected, the device captures a user’s muscle movements using electromyography (EMG) sensors. These movements are classified as specific hand gestures and then translated into commands to be executed by the robot. This allows a user to immediately put a robot under his or her control. For Huang, the biggest challenge of the project was staying on track as he overcame unexpected bugs and system failures. With so many components to build and test, unforeseen errors were particularly frustrating, but he persevered.
“I learned a lot of new technical skills, from building visible light communication channels to designing LDA classifiers. And I definitely learned a lot about what it takes to complete a large, independent project, in terms of grit and mental fortitude,” he said. “Also, I think I’ve gotten much better at communicating technical ideas to people with or without an engineering background.”
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