The goal of the class was to design, build, and program a robot so that it would autonomously (without operator control or intervention) be able to seek out waypoints and retrieve targets. Photo 1 shows Tink in pursuit of a target. Tink's "brain" is a Compaq iPAQ handheld computer (ordinarily used as a calendar/addressbook device). Programs are stored on the iPAQ which send commands to motors and sensors through a custom-built interface designed by MASLab's Ed Olson. Photo 2 shows this hardware in detail.
More information on the contest and course may be found at the MASLab page. Photos of all the student teams' robots are also available.
Closeup of robot components
(Counter-clockwise from upper left: iPAQ 3650 running Familiar Linux, custom compact flash adaptor, ORC board, 12V/4AH battery, rotating sensor stalk with ultrasound and infrared sensors. Motors with optical encoders are mounted between the layers of plywood)