Tour with TigerBot III

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A. Sue Weisler

TigerBot III 
was developed by the engineering senior design project team of Chris Atwood, Graeme Buckley, Rachel Lucas, Nick Towle and Sasha Yevsitifeev, with mentoring by faculty advisers Ferat Sahin and George Slack.

The 3-foot-tall technology wonder walking the halls of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering is TigerBot III, RIT’s humanoid, autonomous robot. He’s small in stature, but big in robotics technology. A creative take on a tour guide, guests to the college could one day be greeted by TigerBot and escorted through the college’s halls, labs and classrooms to see firsthand how the engineering students have built and applied today’s technology.

TigerBot III mimics human movements with synchronized arms and legs and range-of-motion at its shoulders and hips. Wireless technology and sensors help it move and right itself after a spill. It also has improved mechanical systems including inverse kinematics—the algorithm needed to orient the proper angles of movement. 

“It was great working with the other engineering majors on this project—the most important thing I learned was how to work with them to get the design we all needed, says Rachel Lucas, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student from Charleston, S.C. “For instance, we mechanical engineers had to make sure the design had enough space for the electrical engineers’ components and wiring, and enough room for the computer engineer to put in his components to get the motors going and the robot walking. We were able to get something that worked well after a number of iterations.”

The technology the students incorporated into the design can be adapted for use beyond manufacturing to the development of modern limb prosthetics. Understanding the human body’s range of motion is also essential for developing some computer animation techniques. And robots have the capability to serve with rescue teams at sites considered too dangerous for humans.