BLOG: First Meeting!

Wednesday, June 6, we kicked off the Ramen Club with our first official meeting!  This meeting was attended by Esha Umbarkar, Bobby Youstra, Dimitri Saliba, Matthew Cirimele, and Viansa Schmulbach.

Meeting Goals:

  • decide on an issue to design a robot/device around
    • Outcome: creating a guide dog for the blind*
  • create a basic design for our device
    • Outcome: a square framework with a drivetrain and “head” containing computer vision and NLP devices*
  • decide on a theme and dates for our hackathon
    • Outcome: our theme was increasing accessibility for those with cognitive disabilities, dates July 13-15
  • talk about more details regarding hackathon
    • Outcome: all coding platforms available, opening and closing ceremony

Meeting Breakdown:

The meeting opened when Esha and I (Ansa) met at the meeting venue (Ansa’s house), and they both started brainstorming what kind of robot the group would be building this season (a battlebot, a robot that answered a certain challenge, or a robot that helped solve a world issue).  We mutually decided that it would be best to channel our robotics knowledge and enthusiasm into creating something with a humanitarian basis.  We began to brainstorm ways that we could help certain issues through technology (ex. creating a portable shelter for the homeless, creating a robot that can farm through harsh conditions) as the other members (Bobby, Matthew, Dimitri) began to trickle in.  Ultimately, though, we decided on creating a robot guide dog for the blind and visually impaired.*

We all walked out to get ramen for lunch and discussed ideas for our design.  We decided on a square frame (as it is easier to machine and attach with bar stock, L brackets, and flat gussets) with a “head” that contained the “brains” of our system (likely a Raspberry Pi).  The head would be mounted on a pan-and-tilt system so that the cameras could get the entire scope of the environment.  We also discussed different NLP and computer vision resources (for more information, contact Bobby Youstra or Dimitri Saliba).

After lunch, we additionally discussed details regarding our upcoming hackathon.  First, we decided on a theme for our upcoming hackathon (we chose from human trafficking, organ donations, and cognitive aid).

*After listing pros and cons of this design, this goal later changed to creating gloves as a remote set for the blind.

Post written by: Viansa Schmulbach