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University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
Recently a few Robotics and Embedded Systems students have adopted a dog!
Well, actually, Kenneth Vorseth and Andrew Weisenberger have been working in the Robotics Lab to program and bring a robotic dog to life. If the robot were a real dog it would be considered to be highly trained in that this robot is autonomous, designed for the Autonomous Object Tracking Vehicles class at UAT.
Just last week, I was walking by and saw student Kenny Vorseth (Robotics and Embedded Systems/ Game Programming) training the robotic canine how to fetch in the UAT Commons. Please watch the video to see for yourself.
An update since the video was taken..
“We have made significant progress since this video regarding the AI’s ability to predict the moving target, which allows it to intelligently seek out the ball when it has left the camera view frustum. We are also working on using the pixel data, when the target is centered, to fire and ping the ball with sonar, as to allow more accurate calculation of distance to the ball than using pixel scale. Using this data and the accurate uController’s clock for deltaTime between frames, we can calculate the velocity of the ball-robot system. That is, the velocity of the ball related to the concurrent velocity of the robot, not the surrounding world. Using velocity, and monitoring the sign change of it’s delta, acceleration, we are working on fine-tuning the robot to maintain velocity to the ball. If the ball’s speed increases, the robot will increase, and vice versa. We recently did a test outside near Founder’s Hall, and the robot worked very well on rough terrain and the camera maintained tracking in bright sunlight on the concrete/grass/rock surface.”
Hopefully in the next few weeks we can solidify really smooth drive capabilities, as well as develop simple games to play with the robot continually, without ever encountering a programming hitch that requires user intervention or reset.
The team, along with Professors Jill Coddington and Mark Fedasiuk, spent a fun day of competing for a chance to win a spot in the VEX U World Championship.
There were 12 University teams competing in this competition. Each team participated in six matches. The Southwest VEX U Tournament is the only regional tournament in our area.
How does the Southwest VEX U Tournament work? There are two parts to the competition – autonomous and skills. The autonomous portion is where the robot has been pre-programmed to compete and runs completely on its own without intervention.
The second part is the skills competition. Two students control the robots – one for movement, one for controlling the “shovel” which lifts the objects over the barrier. When objects cross over the barrier, points are scored.
How’d the team do?
“We made the finals! This is a big deal in the VEX U Competition so we were thrilled to get to participate in two more rounds of competition. Overall, we placed 8th,” said Coddington.
This was a good showing and we are pleased at how the team came together to compete. Congrats to the team for a magnificent effort!
The Southern Colorado Girls STEM group lead by Professor Jill Coddington, UAT Program Champion in Advancing Computer Science and Robotics, spent the weekend at UAT’s Tempe campus for a Future You University event during June 10-13, to offer these students a taste of the technology-infused innovation that surrounds our students each and every day.
These 17 middle school students won a STEM competition and their prize was a technology-filled experience at UAT. Over the weekend, the girls participated in workshops and seminars, campus tours, a weekend stay in UAT Founder’s Hall dormitory, Veggie car races, a 3D printing demo, Innovation Games, fun with Lego Robots, intro to Network Security, film screening and info session, time in the Maker Lab and movie night.
For many of these students, this was their first time flying on an airplane, visiting Arizona and living in a college dorm. It’s great to see teenage girls ages 13-15 getting excited about college and technology at a younger age than many typical college bound students.
Mark Chaszar, General Manager at UAT Founder’s Hall said, “The girls had an absolute blast! They were so excited to experience what it’s like to attend college and play with our awesome technology. I bet we’ll see some of them back at UAT as students in the future!”
Professor Jill Coddington who spearheaded this initiative said, “The Future You U was an eye-opening event for the STEM girls that participated. Living in dorms and having roommates they did not know was only the beginning of the “college life” experience. They learned about many possible STEM degrees at UAT and got a taste of each with hands-on seminars to learn and explore. It was an exciting and amazing opportunity for this group of Colorado girls!”
Thanks to Professor Jill Coddington for arranging this wonderful experience!
The UAT Robotics Team (The G33K Squad) competed in its second Southwest Regional VEX-University (VEX U) Championship on Saturday, March 5, coinciding with the commencement of Spring Break at UAT.
Five dedicated UAT Robotics students who took the VEX Competition class during the fall semester, formed the core team, built the robots and competed in the VEX U event. The team consisted of Daniel Carpenter, Garrett Tidd, Alexander Gregory, Daniel Molnar and David Hendrix.
Despite a rough beginning due to problems during robot inspection, as well as missing two of our six matches due to reasons beyond our control, The G33K Squad provided a strong showing with the third highest points overall in the preliminary matches (despite not having scored points for two matches).
This was a monumental accomplishment showcasing the hard work, dedication, determination and downright will to win from The G33k Squad.
Because the competition was held over Spring Break, students already knew their grades, yet went above and beyond what was necessary to put in countless hours of hard work designing an impressively accurate shooting robot nicknamed “Sharp Shooter.”
The overall concept of the game was to construct robots that can shoot 5-inch foam nerf-like balls into large netted targets on opposite ends of a 15 x 15 square foot field.
Each match was 1 minute and 45 seconds in length. During the last 30 seconds of the competition, there was an opportunity to score extra points and The G33K Squad gave it a shot! If one of the two team robots could successfully lift the other robot into the air, an additional 50 points is scored. Each ball that landed in the high basket is worth 5 points – so one single successful lift is equivalent to 10 baskets.
The G33K Squad, coached by UAT Robotics Professor Mark Fedasiuk, developed a game winning strategy to make one static robot without wheels that never moved during the match. The robot was designed to shoot VEX balls with near perfect accuracy and repeatability. It was also able to sink about 95 percent of its shots from crosscourt at more than one shot per second.
It turned out that The G33K Squad’s strategy was highly successful and yielded results far beyond expectations. In one match we scored 138 points out of the maximum of 148, only missing two balls and successfully accomplishing the lift.
“Much was learned at this competition,” said Professor Fedasiuk. “We will use our new found knowledge in developing our strategy for next year. Our sights are set to win the finals and advance to the world championship.”
Rest assured the G33K Squad is anxiously awaiting their next competition in 2017.
Congrats to the G33K Squad!
“Inhuman: The Next & Final Phase of Man is Here” is not fiction or a mockudrama but a new investigative documentary from Defender Films and Raiders News Productions.
Inhuman travels the globe to unveil for the first time how breakthrough advances in science, technology and philosophy—including cybernetics, bioengineering, nanotechnology, machine intelligence and synthetic biology are poised to create mind-boggling game changes to everything we have known until now about Homo sapiens.
As astonishing technological developments push the frontiers of humanity toward far-reaching morphological transformation (which promises in the very near future to redefine what it means to be human), an intellectual and fast-growing cultural movement known as transhumanism intends the use of these powerful new fields of science and technology as tools that will radically redesign our minds, our memories, our physiology, our offspring, and even perhaps—as Professor Joel Garreau, Lincoln Professor of Law, claims—our immortal souls.
The technological, cultural, and metaphysical shift now underway unapologetically forecasts a near future dominated by a new species of unrecognizably superior humans, and applications under study now to make this dream a reality are being funded by thousands of government and private research facilities around the world. As viewers will learn, this includes rewriting human genetics, combining human and animal DNA, and interfacing our brains with strong artificial intelligence systems.
As a result, new modes of perception between things visible and invisible are expected to challenge bioethics in ways that are historically, sociologically and theologically unprecedented. Without comprehending what is quickly approaching in related disciplines of research and development, vast numbers of individuals could soon be paralyzed by the most fantastic—and far-reaching—implications.
The destiny of each individual—as well as the future of their families—depends on their knowledge of this new paradigm, an unprecedented time in earth’s history already being called the “Hybrid Age.”
Watch the movie trailer here:
For more information on “Inhuman: The Next & Final Phase of Man is Here,” visit: http://www.inhumanthemovie.com/
UAT was the last stop on AZ Tech Beat‘s #ExposeTheAwesome Tour, where they had a neat idea to interview cool companies in various technology fields throughout the summer. We had a busy day planned for AZTB Editor Tishin Donkersley, Community Manager Ryan Loebe and Film Intern Xavier Smith, but we knew they were ready for it!
First, they sat down with Provost Dr. David Bolman to find out why UAT is unique and how access to great technology molds our students into innovators for the future. Dr. Bolman had no trouble expressing his enthusiasm for technology and how important UAT is to filling the STEM career pipeline in Arizona.
As suggested by Dr. Bolman, we gave Network Forensics Professor Diane Barrett a phone call, as she lives remotely and teaches online classes, to inquire how different the reality of cyber forensics is from how it’s portrayed on television. Interestingly enough, most TV shows tend to exaggerate the time it takes to conduct these type of investigations. They are never solved within an hour like Hollywood would have you think.
Next, the AZTB crew was led on a tour of campus, having a chance to peek into each classroom, lab, workshop and office; asking questions, snapping photos and broadcasting to periscope along the way.
We decided to check out the Maker’s Lab and speak with Digital Maker and Fabrication Professor Spencer Nelson about all of the tools available for students to use. There is a 3D printer, a laser engraver, vinyl cutter, Roland CNC Mill, vacuum former, foam cutter, various hand power tools and more! Everything you need for building models, making signs or designing props. Just ask Professor Nelson if you want to use a tool, but don’t know where to start.
While wrapping up an interview with Professor Nelson, we were able to catch Professor Vesna Dragojlov to ask about wearable technology. Professor Dragojlov thinks that women could have some influence on wearable tech if it’s fused with fashion.
Next, we took a moment to talk film production with Professor Paul DeNigris and film students Jordan Wippell and Brandon Scott. Tishin asked what trends are hot for filming special effects and believe it or not, the audience has struggled with feeling that CGI looks real for some time now, so film sets are looking back to techniques from the 70s of building small models to make the environment appear more realistic. They also got to explore the Green Room and Film Production room see where all the editing magic happens.
The tour continued on to the Robotics Hardware Lab where Professor Mark Fedasiuk talked about the Robotics and Embedded Systems degree. He also demonstrated a Harry Potter location clock, built by a robotics student and talked about upcoming trainings with VEX Robotics.
With back-to-back interviews all morning, the AZ Tech Beat crew was famished, so we had lunch in the campus cafe among tech students who were refueling before an afternoon of classes.
Our last stop for the day was to the New Technologies Lab to speak with UAT Game Studios Professor Derric Clark to find out the latest news in video game creation. Professor Clark described the types of gaming degrees we offer, what our game students are expected to do, how gaming is shaping the landscape in Phoenix and also gave a short teaser about a cool project the game students are working on to bring the Hohokam Ruins and Canals to life with a simulated map.
We really enjoyed showing AZ Tech Beat around our campus and can’t wait to see their video footage from the tour!
Photo above: Professor Mark Fedasiuk working with a student during the robot demo.
The first annual Great Arizona Code Challenge took place at Infusionsoft Headquarters the weekend of July 24-25, offering 38 high school students the opportunity to attend coding seminars taught by UAT Professors, where they could ask questions and discuss their ideas.
The Code Challenge started off with an ice breaker in order for the programmers to get acquainted and to inspire collaboration within the group.
Infusionsoft provided attendees with a comfortable and fun work space where they could code around the clock to create an original game for the coding competition. Students who did not have their own technology were able to borrow laptops from Infusionsoft.
Students stayed fueled over the weekend with sodas, snacks, pizza and Jimmy Johns delivery. It’s not all work and no play! They even had a chance to relax by playing fussball, ping pong or shooting pool in the beautiful office space.
Students from all over the Valley participated in the 36-hour hackathon. Many of them didn’t take a break for the night and pulled all nighters like true programmers who tend to find themselves in the zone!
Two of UAT’s professors taught seminars that really impressed and inspired the participants, ranging from 9-12th graders.
Professor Mark Fedasiuk presented “Robotics and Robot demonstrations” and sparked interest with a robot that does facial recognition in a crowd or from an image.
Professor Hue Henry presented “Game Engines and Scripting” which opened the students eyes to the wonders and power of game engines.
During the closing ceremony on Sunday, the winners of the Great Arizona Code Challenge Arianna Sokolov and Laura Lu were awarded partial scholarships to attend University of Advancing Technology upon graduation from high school.
A huge thanks to the UAT Professors involved as well as the many volunteers from Infusionsoft, high school teachers, engineers, software developers and parents in the community for being part of this awesome event preparing local high school students for a future in technology!
Click the link to learn more about the technology degrees offered at UAT: www.uat.edu
Television has recently shined a light on two exciting majors offered at University of Advancing Technology: Robotics and Embedded Systems and Network Security. You heard me right! Hit the DVR and let’s see what these shows are all about.
The premise: The homemade robots will battle against each other, in a single elimination tournament style format, until there is just one champion.
The new series promises to wow viewers with next generation robots—bigger, faster and stronger than ever before.
The show will have a greater emphasis on the design and build elements of each robot, the bot builder backstories, their intense pursuit of the championship and the spectacle of the event. Separate weight classes will be eliminated so that robots of all sizes will battle against each other.
State of the Art Onboard Technology and Cameras will provide audiences with enhanced viewing and combat analytics. There will be cash prizes for winners in the Championship Rounds.
See a video clip from episode 1: Nightmare vs. Warrior Clan: Qualifiers
In BattleBots, 24 of the best robot builders on Earth have set out to compete in the most epic robot competition of all time and our robotics students won’t want to miss it!
BattleBots relates to the Robotics and Embedded Systems Degree offered at UAT.
In MR. ROBOT, Elliot, a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night, is recruited by a mysterious underground group to destroy the firm he’s paid to protect. Elliot must decide how far he’ll go to expose the forces he believes are running (and ruining) the world.
“Sometimes the only way to change the world is to tear it down.”
Mr. Robot has themes similar to UAT’s Bachelor of Science Network Security or Bachelor of Science Network Engineering degrees. Elliot probably took an ethics class to keep him on the straight and narrow, which is offered as part of the curriculum in these majors.
Find your place in technology at UAT!
For the last several years, PayPal headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been celebrating World Usability Day, with a series of events, networking opportunities and prizes. This past November some of the local companies, such as PayPal themselves, Pearson and 29th Drive Design Studio have shared some of their out of the box strategies to increase customers engagement.
PayPal’s design team gave a presentation that showcased how customer engagement is at the core of every change they made in their online environment. Pearson publishing company gave an inspiring presentation about the incorporation of their weekly co-design sessions with children ages 7-12 into the product development process. 29th Drive Design studio conducted a brief brainstorming session/workshop about how to build the fastest airplane using provided basic material.
Molly Satterfield, our HCI alum, was part of the planning committee for the event as also and active member of IxDA Association. Seven of my students from HCI program and Digital Media attended the event which gave them a great opportunity to compare knowledge they have gained in a classroom setting with the real world design thinking at play in big successful companies such as PayPal. Some of them also won good prizes, which made the event even more worthwhile for them.
Companies such as IBM and Kydak came to recruit new young designers and our students had the opportunity to talk to them and to possibly set the stage for their internship and future job placement.
Our Human Computer Interaction (Interaction Design) major maybe still be small, mostly due in part of the reason is still being relatively young at UAT), our HCI graduates immediately secure jobs in their fields of study as soon as they graduate.
Jaylyn Dawson, our HCI alum, was offered employment by Dish Network out of Denver, Colo., as soon as she graduated, as a junior interaction designer.
Molly Satterfield, also HCI alum, had a great opportunity to do her internship at a medical office as a user testing expert. As soon as she graduated, she has been employed by KV Consultants, Inc. as a UI designer.
Josh Vargas, current HCI student, took an opportunity with a software company for a paid internship.
As the demand for UX/UI Designers in many high tech companies grows with high paying salaries we hope that this situation will give us the opportunity to recruit more HCI students as we grow the program in the next few years.
Aldebaran Robotics is hiring!
Aldebaran is recruiting the best engineering, talents to join it’s humanoid robots’ dream team!
What we are looking for?
Passionate and creative people, experts, ambitious, able to think “out of the box”, convinced that Robotics is the next big thing.
Are you searching for an innovative anf off-the-wall company, where we are building the future right now? You want to take up the challenges offered by robotics and shape the world?
Check out our roles and career opportunities, and join us!
Want to learn to build your own 3D printer with a 3D printer?
NextFab Studio has started training sessions on how to build your own “MendelMax 1.5″ 3D printer out of plastic, using a “RepRap” 3D printer that is essentially also made out of plastic.
The $2,000 weekend class includes your own printer, which is about the price of a RepRap 3D printer, as well as, the 3D modeling software MOI v2.
To build a 3D printer of your own you’ll need a laptop (recommended Mac OS X 10.6+ and Ubuntu 11.04+), Python v2.7+, the Arduino environment, and a few other bits. The weekend training sessions in Philadelphia are being held on Aug. 4, Aug. 11, and Aug. 25. The deadline to signup for the next August 11, training has already passed but there may still be time to signup for the Aug. 25 workshop.
AZ TechCelerator and UAT have partnered in offering a chance at a full year of rent and support at the AZ TechCelerator office in Surprise, Arizona.
UAT students are faced with the challenge of creating their own SIP (Student Innovation Project) by the time they graduate. This opportunity gives students even more incentive to innovate amidst competition from other students.
Students will present their projects in front of a panel of judges where they will be asked five general questions. The winner will get free office rental for one year, access to workshops, and support from incubator coaches and mentors.
Learn more at aztechcelerator.com.
Want to get a taste of what it’s like to burn through the atmosphere on a NASA spacecraft?
Xbox and NASA have teamed up to develop “Mars Rover Landing,” a skills game in which you use Kinect motion sensors to guide the rover Curiosity to land on Mars and successfully reach a target. The on demand game is available in 18 different languages.
Download it for free on Xbox Live. File size is a modest 496MB.
These tiny 3D Printed cars are 2cm long and have real moving wheels and doors! So tiny! So cute! You can download the design and order them from Shapeways. This is the mid size model — 2 cm long.
Watch the video below:
In celebration of Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, Google has a Turing Machine Doodle. Wired has a retrospective on Turing‘s influence on computing, and a discussion of the validity of the Turing Test for machine intelligence.
On a much more optimistic note, the Between the Lines blog has a great article on the near future of robotics and AI, with opinions by computing pioneers such as Peter Norvig and Judea Pearl.
The engineers at NoMi Design have just released a neat design for programming your Arduino wirelessly using only a handful of inexpensive parts. The design uses remote control infrared emitters and receivers to send the program to an Arduino.
The downside is that the target Arduino must use the SuperDuplex bootloader (which requires an ISP programmer), and the range is limited to a few feet of line-of-sight. However, this is a great solution for those times when you have to program a microcontroller in application, or hard to take apart.
Natan Linder, a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate researcher Alexander List have created a very clean, easy to use, user interface concept they call Swÿp–pronounced “swipe”—that allows users to drag files from the phone to the computer swiping their finger. It is an open source software, “cross-app, cross-device data exchange using physical ‘swipe’ gestures,” as they write on their website. It is such a cool concept that people wonder why it has not been invented before.
Swÿp gathers information from your phone and iPad’s approximate location and account details, then ties that information to a real-time gesture, the swipe (or Swÿp). If you hold two Swyp enabled devices next to each other, you can drag the files using simple physical gesture. Why do we care? Because it is so much easier to transfer files that way than using existing file-sharing technologies. The app is not available yet. There is more research to be done as they still need to resolve the spatial issues, and make other devices communicate with each other the same way, such as Kinect.