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ABOUT UAT
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.

Learn More About UAT

    S#!T—Watch Your Language!


    Playing online video games is like running through a minefield of curse words. Watch Your Language is a tool kit trying to make the gaming experience more family friendly.   This Student Innovation Project (SIP), created by duo Rocky Vargas and Michael Shepherd, monitors what players are saying and flags...

    Playing online video games is like running through a minefield of curse words. Watch Your Language is a tool kit trying to make the gaming experience more family friendly.

     

    This Student Innovation Project (SIP), created by duo Rocky Vargas and Michael Shepherd, monitors what players are saying and flags inappropriate words. Rocky explains, “Our innovation claim is that gameplay is intensified by turning to foul language gamers use into a mechanic for punishment.”

     

    There isn’t anything for gaming that uses speech recognition this way. If Watch Your Language detects vulgar words, alarms sound and the monitor will display the word. This mechanic is meant to monitor in real-time and can be universally used because there is a coded element that can be written for any word.

     

    Because of the code, this technology can expand into more than just the gaming industry. Software and other technologies written in code can apply Watch Your Language if it’s compatible with a microphone.

     

    Rocky wrote the original code to detect specific words and activated the streaming portion of this SIP. Michael polished the code and hooked it all up.

     

    Do you want to drive the future of games? Check out UAT’s Game Programming degree.

     

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    Robotics Engineer to Software Developer


    Greck Santiago likes to build things—robots, circuit boards, microcontrollers. Naturally, when he came to the University of Advancing Technology to study robotics, he thought he would graduate and get a job as a robotics engineer. Then he discovered software engineering and embedded programming and realized...

    Greck Santiago likes to build things—robots, circuit boards, microcontrollers. Naturally, when he came to the University of Advancing Technology to study robotics, he thought he would graduate and get a job as a robotics engineer. Then he discovered software engineering and embedded programming and realized that building cool things didn’t necessarily involve hardware and wires.

     

    Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 3.34.31 PM

     

    “My original goal was to get a job in robotics because that was my major, but goals change,” Greck said. After talking to engineers, reading through job descriptions and applying to about 30 jobs—which he thought was “A LOT”—Greck decided to pursue a career in software development. He also encourages recent grads to “think outside of the major box” and most importantly, “Be flexible.”

     

    Greck eventually landed an interview at Astronautics Corporation of America. “They were more concerned about whether or not I was a team player and could follow processes than if I had all of the technical skills,” he said. And he found out that there are a lot of processes to follow. “Sometimes there might be a simple way to get something done, but because of certain guidelines, we have to find another solution.” These rules and restrictions have taught Greck a lot about critical thinking and problem solving.

     

    Greck’s primary role at Astronautics Corporation of America is verification. A team of senior developers works together to create a product or piece of software, and then Greck designs tests to make sure the product does what it is supposed to do. “It’s also my job to make sure that the product does not do anything that it is not supposed to do,” he said.

     

    Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 3.25.13 PM

    Astronautics Corporation of America

     

     

    Greck works with products such as electronic primary flight displays, engine displays, flight controls, mission computers, electronic flight bags and certified servers for airborne applications. Astronautics Corporation of America also provides services such as system integration and custom software for critical applications.

     

    “My degree provided an excellent base to build upon for my career,” Greck said. “It was a good mix of hardware, software and embedded systems programming,” he added. Furthermore, participating in VEX Robotics Competitions helped prepare him to think on his feet and solve tough technical problems.

     

    Want to study Robotics & Embedded Systems at UAT like Greck? Apply today!

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    Arizona's Fight Against the Tech Talent Shortage


    Right now, there are 7,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Arizona alone. Nationally, we need an additional 400,000 security analysts, network engineers, vulnerability researchers, pen testers and other professionals to fight cybercrime and protect data. The Obama Administration estimated that the US would have 1.4 million computer science jobs by 2020—but only 400,000 computer science...

    Right now, there are 7,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Arizona alone. Nationally, we need an additional 400,000 security analysts, network engineers, vulnerability researchers, pen testers and other professionals to fight cybercrime and protect data. The Obama Administration estimated that the US would have 1.4 million computer science jobs by 2020—but only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them.

     Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 9.21.46 AM

     “The AZ tech community, like the tech community at large, is facing a huge talent shortage gap,” Carine Dieude, an entrepreneur and Arizona tech community advocate. “It’s not an easy career. It is crucial to provide support to a wider demographic interested in tech,” she added. That’s exactly what she is doing at Girls in Tech Phoenix.

     

    Girls in Tech PHX partnered with a local Microsoft store to offer free YouthSpark Workshops for girls and boys ages 10–12. Students who attend these hands-on workshops learn about robotics, coding, public speaking, mixed reality and videography.

     

    Middle schoolers and high schoolers who are ready to dive deeper into robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things can check out Robot Factory. Robot Factory is an after-school program for students who want to break into the black box, build circuit boards, tinker with Raspberry Pi and learn real-world embedded systems programming skills with AZ Hyperloop Team Co-Founder Lynne Nethken!

     

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    Robot Factory

     

    Lynne works as a robotics engineer at 10 Imaging, a technology company that brings awareness to everyday devices. The 10 Imaging team recently moved into UAT’s on-campus coworking space Perimeter83. UAT Robotics & Embedded Systems students have the opportunity to help Lynne with Robot Factory's STEM classes.

     

    UAT also helps hundreds of Girl Scouts earn coding badges every summer. (And UAT faculty and staff buy all the cookies in the spring. UAT Bursar Renne Grauberger has the goods.) But how do we get more college students and working adults interested in computer science, keep them engaged and then get them ready for careers?

     

    {% video_player "embed_player" overrideable=False, type='scriptV4', hide_playlist=True, viral_sharing=False, embed_button=False, width='1280', height='624', player_id='7459835363', style='' %}

     

    Perimeter83 helps to close the gap between students and industry by bringing industry to campus. Insight Vice President of Global Business Transformation and IoT SME Curt Cornum just signed up for a designated desk space in the P83 Study. He brings an infectious energy to campus. 

     

    UAT professors proactively partner with industry on real-world projects, which students can often earn credit for as a special topics course. For example, Dr. Jill Coddington’s computer science and artificial intelligence students are collaborating on an AI transcription project with a neurosurgery organization. “There are fun challenges as some of the medical terminology is not standard mainstream English words used every day,” Dr. Coddington said.

     

    Carine and the rest of the fabulous Girls in Tech PHX team do a lot to engage and support the next generation of devs while they are in school and after they graduate. “Mentorship is not an everyday activity…it is a support system we can call on when we need help, advice or a new skill set,” Carine said. Girls in Tech PHX makes it easy for young developers and computer science students to connect with professionals who are already killing it in their fields online and in person.

     

    University of Advancing Technology Provost Dr. Dave Bolman has also been thinking about adults who want to get into tech (or would be a good fit and don’t even know it) but already have degrees in business, communications, history, biology or psychology. “If you have a degree, you likely already know how to think, problem solve and bring ideas together in ways that make sense to people. You simply need the technical skills involved with securing information and writing software,” Dave said.

     

    Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 3.39.00 PM

     

    UAT’s innovative graduate and certificate programs address the lack of education options available to individuals who have degrees but want to retool their knowledge. Students can complete tech-intensive, 8-week modules such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, Algorithms and Patterns, Social Engineering, Information Assurance or Change Management as stand-alone units or combine multiple modules to earn a master’s degree.

     

    Want to fight the tech talent gap and future-proof your career? Apply today!

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    Create a jQuery Website in a Day


    jQuery and HTML5 are taking over the web. The combination of both make it so easy to create dynamic websites that look like the heavier Flash websites of the past. Base Creative UK has set up a website with a great tutorial on how to create a jQuery website in less than a day. Using the jQuery Javascript Library, jQuery UI Widgets, and some jQuery syntax, you...

    jQuery and HTML5 are taking over the web.

    The combination of both make it so easy to create dynamic websites that look like the heavier Flash websites of the past.

    Base Creative UK has set up a website with a great tutorial on how to create a jQuery website in less than a day.

    Using the jQuery Javascript Library, jQuery UI Widgets, and some jQuery syntax, you can create a nice looking website that can be built upon. Check out the tutorial on the jQuery Site In A Day website.

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    Why You Should Study Blockchain


    On April 27, 2018, North Korea and South Korea signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula. Two electronic versions—one in English and one in Korean—have been stored on the ...

    On April 27, 2018, North Korea and South Korea signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula. Two electronic versions—one in English and one in Korean—have been stored on the Ethereum blockchain. The energy industry alone has invested $1 billion in blockchain. 

     

    And four of the world’s largest automakers want to put blockchain technology in your car.

    “Blockchain is right up there with the invention of the Internet,” said Damian Chung, Sr. Director of Cybersecurity Engineering and Development at Dignity Health. Chung thinks blockchain has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, empower businesses to bypass the middle man and even safeguard democracy. “We can apply it infinitely, so it’s here to stay,” Chung said.

     

    Blockchain may lead to unprecedented business agility and help companies save time and money, but few people know how to harness the power of this emerging technology. According to TechCrunch, 14 blockchain job openings exist for every one blockchain developer.

    The talent shortage prompted Chung to develop and teach a blockchain course at the University of Advancing Technology, where he is an adjunct professor in the cyber security department.

     

    Students who take Chung’s Summer 2018 blockchain class will be able to:

     

    • Explain the benefits of blockchain and how it differs from cryptocurrencies
    • Understand blockchain architecture
    • Present use cases to CEOs, devs and non-technical folks
    • Design smart contracts
    • Produce an architectural proposal for a real-world blockchain application

    The 15-week course will cover blockchain transactions, keys, miners, distributed ledgers, blockchain wallets, hash functions, pseudonymity, Solidity, Go, private blockchain on Ethereum, Hyperledger Composer and MultiChain. Even though the class will incorporate some coding, students do not need to be strong programmers to do well.

     

    Chung recommends starting with Blockchain Revolution by Don and Alex Tapscott and watching some YouTube videos.

     

    Students should also capitalize on the power of the magic words, “I am a college student, and I need help.” Reach out to professionals who are already doing cool things with blockchain. Tweet to SEMs who tweet about blockchain. Ask questions on blog posts. Utilize LinkedIn. Create your own internship.

     

    Search for and join Meetups such as Desert Blockchain. Professionals go to Meetups because they want to connect with other innovators, give back to their communities and meet and mentor (and possibly hire!) curious students.

     

     

    Learning how to develop blockchain solutions will prepare students for careers as disruptors. Studying how blockchain is transforming industries such as banking and real estate will also help students to forecast, visualize and implement change in other industries such as energy, gaming, HR and cosmetics.

     

    Interested in collaborating on a blockchain project with UAT or hosting a blockchain event on campus? Reach out to Ashley: amurry@uat.edu.

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    Voice Recognition AI for Audio


    Voice recognition is a prominent technology that is being used in more and more places today. There is voice recognition for recognizing the speaker. This type of voice recognition is used for security (physical access and access to files in computer network). ...

    Voice recognition is a prominent technology that is being used in more and more places today. There is voice recognition for recognizing the speaker. This type of voice recognition is used for security (physical access and access to files in computer network).

     This is also evolving to give specific instructions/information to the speaker as well.

     

    There is voice recognition for translation, as well. This allows for written transcripts of audio events. The benefits are not limited to ADA compliance but useful for translating into other languages and to have a searchable transcript of an event.

    In both cases, artificial intelligence (AI) is utilized to have the computer learn and improve on its success of voice recognition.

     

    While everyone has heard of Siri or Alexa for voice recognition, there are innovative uses far beyond the home or smartphone. One recent example is in forensics. A voiceprint can be created in less than two minutes of speech. Crime experts are now using voiceprints for identity of voices from wire taps. This application is unique in that it uses the sound of one’s voice rather than the shape or pattern. That means that a voice match can be found regardless of the language or accent of the person.

     

    At UAT, we implement both of these types of voice recognition in our classes, such as AI, machine learning, and deep learning. Some of the examples of what our students have done are:

     

    • Coding by Voice – This allows visually impaired or those driving to speak their code. The cool part is that when you write a line a code then you can say “check” and it will make sure your syntax is correct or make suggestions on corrections.
    • Speech Analysis for Intent – When you send an email, write a blog, or read a news article, the content can be analyzed for intent – positive or negative. This could be used to find only positive new stories. This way, you could filter out the negative stories or blog posts. It could also be used in emailing your boss about a problem. This is important because in the written word, some meaning is lost without the actual interaction and this would help to insure that the message you want to convey has the proper intent.

     

    Voice recognition is just one of the technologies that UAT students master – because we excel at implementing new technology as it occurs. UAT is truly a University of Advancing Technology.

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    Alternative Careers for Game Development Majors


    The gaming industry continues to grow, but there are still more game developers than game development jobs. So, it’s a good thing that game developers have tons of transferable skills in programming, UX design, graphic design, project...

    The gaming industry continues to grow, but there are still more game developers than game development jobs. So, it’s a good thing that game developers have tons of transferable skills in programming, UX design, graphic design, project management and more. We wanted to learn how game dev majors forged successful career paths in other industries, so we invited a software engineer, 3D artist, frontend developer and UX designer to campus to share their career stories.

     

     

    WebPT Software Engineer Jasmine Hegman thinks her game design degree gave her a leg up. “If anything, I think games are a little more difficult because they often have a run loop and all these other things that other developers don’t have to worry about,” she said. “Programming at the end of the day, whether it’s for a game or not, works equally,” she added.

    UX Designer Nick Reed and 3D Visual Artist Michael Licavoli encouraged all design and art majors to master programming and Photoshop while they are still in school. Nick noted that a lot of students choose game design because they want to become the "idea guy.” “Unfortunately, the idea guy doesn’t get hired. As [Professor Hue Henry] used to say, ‘That’s usually one of the developer’s kids,’” Nick said. Adding strong coding and digital art chops to your skillset will make you more marketable.

     

     

    Michael mastered AutoCAD out of necessity and encouraged game art students to pick it up too. “It’s really not scary at all. It’s like the base of 3D,” he said. A lot of industries need CAD developers, including architecture, aerospace, manufacturing, mapping, transportation, interior design, facilities management, education, engineering and more. Excel also makes Michael’s life easier.

     

     

    Everyone agreed that communication is key. When Nick interviews UX designers, programmers and graphic designers, he always asks how candidates did what they’ve done. “You can show me a portfolio piece, but be prepared to talk about it,” he said. Practice explaining your thought process, how you reached certain conclusions and how you research.” Jasmine added, “If you have to Google something, that’s OK.”

    All four panelists landed at least one job from a referral. In order to build a large, engaged network, you have to talk to people. Each of them has also worked with at least one recruiter, so remember to be kind to recruiters.

     

     

    In summary, if you can make games, then you can develop mobile apps, design user interfaces and create graphics. Diversify your skillset, and get out there and talk to people.

    UAT alumni can audit classes for free for life. Check out our catalog to learn more about programming, digital asset creation and other classes at UAT here.

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    Military Student Creates App for Army Physical Fitness Test


    Written by game programming student William Mann.   When I was a soldier in the U.S. Army, I was responsible for being able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and for meeting the weight standards for my age, height, and gender. I struggled with obesity since childhood and this required constant effort on my part. I found myself...

    Written by game programming student William Mann.

     

    When I was a soldier in the U.S. Army, I was responsible for being able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and for meeting the weight standards for my age, height, and gender.

    I struggled with obesity since childhood and this required constant effort on my part. I found myself consulting the various charts and tables quite often in my attempt to ensure I was in compliance. If I exceeded the weight limit, which I often did, my body fat percentage had to be calculated to see if I met this fall-back requirement. There were some complex calculations to be performed to measure body fat, and it was a bit tedious.

     

     

    EZJoe app by UAT military student EZJoe app by UAT military student

     

     

    After my time in the U.S. Army, I delved into mobile app development and I decided to create an app to help current soldiers keep up with these fitness and weight requirements. The app is called EZ Joe and can be found here on Google Play.

     

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    Yahoo! Selects Google’s Marissa Mayer as CEO


    Yahoo! has selected 37-year-old Marissa Mayer as their fifth CEO in 4 years. Mayer could be a perfect fit for Yahoo!, who has struggled to find a focus that will make the company profitable again. Mayer was Google’s 20th employee, and first woman engineer. Yahoo! hopes Mayer’s experience in software engineering, product and user experience design will make...

    Yahoo! has selected 37-year-old Marissa Mayer as their fifth CEO in 4 years.

    Mayer could be a perfect fit for Yahoo!, who has struggled to find a focus that will make the company profitable again. Mayer was Google’s 20th employee, and first woman engineer. Yahoo! hopes Mayer’s experience in software engineering, product and user experience design will make Yahoo! relevant again as a technology company, rather than the media company which former CEO Terry Semel turned it into.

    Mayer’s first priority at Yahoo! might be to make Yahoo! Mail more secure by adding HTTPS connections. Yahoo! also needs to focus on several of their popular products such as Flickr and Yahoo! News, and to innovate (and purchase) new products to keep up with the likes of Google and Facebook.

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    Alumni Highlight


    Scott Velasquez Software Engineering May 2000   For the past 18 years, Scott Velasquez has worked Gearbox Software in Frisco, TX, where he resides as a Lead Programmer. He’s had the pleasure of working on a number of different titles such as Counter-Strike, Borderlands, Brothers and Arms, Halo...

    Scott Velasquez

    Software Engineering

    May 2000

     

    For the past 18 years, Scott Velasquez has worked Gearbox Software in Frisco, TX, where he resides as a Lead Programmer. He’s had the pleasure of working on a number of different titles such as Counter-Strike, Borderlands, Brothers and Arms, Halo and many others. Most recently, he put his talents forward as the Online & Social Product Owner for Borderlands 3 which released on PS4, PC and Xbox One. Scott wore many hats on this project ranging from project manager, designer, programmer and a smidgen of business development. He was involved with the ECHOcast Twitch extension, vault hunter profiles, photo mode, player pinging and most elements relating to online and local player interactions. 

     

    Scott believes technology is important because it can scale to reach a large number of users to solve many types of problems. Scott likes tackling different problems each day and is a lifelong learner. Technology is always evolving and keeps him on his toes!

     

    When Scott was researching colleges in 1996, he noticed that most colleges were teaching old languages like COBOL, FORTRAN, etc. As an avid reader of PC Gamer, Scott came across a UAT ad advertising courses in languages and techniques specific to game development. He applied immediately after visiting the school.

     

    Moving from a small town in West Texas to Arizona, he appreciated the next gen UAT facilities (he was using 486DX and dial-up back home). 

     

    UAT’s curriculum and professors challenged Scott in the best way possible. He was extremely impressed that the faculty had game industry experience and unique industry experience, such as his ex-NASA scientist Calculus professor. Scott enjoyed the way UAT professors taught, because they did a great job of explaining not only the how, but the why. Working full-time at Compuware and later Rhino Internet, Scott attended school in the evenings.

     

    While at UAT, Scott made many great friends, some of which he is still friends with to this day. Pushing each other to learn more, Scott and his classmates had fun trying to outdo each other on assignments.

     

    Scott encourages UAT students to meet other students and staff and put themselves out there. UAT is a great place to foster connections—you never know who you’ll meet—they might become a co-worker, friend or someone who will help down the road. Scott urges students to dig deeper and go above and beyond what the professor is asking on assignments. He also recommends joining or creating a group and building projects that can be highlighted and shared with your resume.

     

    Scott advises students to find companies in the area where you can shadow or intern. “Getting a better understanding of the role you want to have someday will help you start preparing sooner rather than later. Attend some game development conferences and meetups,” recommends Scott, and finally, “Enjoy yourself, college will be something you look back on fondly when you get old like me.”

     

    Scott feels that UAT absolutely prepared him for his career. Before UAT and just for the heck of it, he applied at 3drealms (he was a huge Duke Nukem 3D fan at the time). He knew it was a long shot—the programming he taught himself and learned in junior college didn't involve 3D. As expected, 3drealms turned him down due to his lack of 3D experience.

     

    UAT taught Scott many things about programming, 3D development, data storage and manipulation, mathematics, web development and working with others. The greatest thing UAT taught Scott was how to logically approach problems and formulate solutions.

     

    While working full-time and attending UAT, he made time to help a friend create a 3D engine in Java, soon after Java added 3D support. They were both programmers, so the 3D models were created by hand in notepad! Scott created a DirectX/OpenGL engine in C++ with networking support and built demo apps like a multiplayer 3D checkers game, a chat client, etc. Later, when Half-life and Unreal Tournament came out, he started learning how those engines worked and built mods.

     

    After graduation, Scott landed a job at Cinematix Studios in Tempe. There, he could immediately apply programming concepts and Calculus while creating an audio engine and complex camera systems for two platformer games on PS2.

     

    Scott encourages students to contact him with any questions about UAT or if they need advice as they prepare to enter the game industry (@thereal_scottv on Twitter).

     

    Meet other UAT alum!

     

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    Tech Tank


    Did you know UAT has their own version of Shark Tank, coined Tech Tank, where students pitch their hypothetical business ideas to a panel of real-world potential investors, business owners and entrepreneurs. The goal of Tech Tank is to see who can give the best pitch, arrive the most prepared and encourage the panel to invest in their idea.    This year,...

    Did you know UAT has their own version of Shark Tank, coined Tech Tank, where students pitch their hypothetical business ideas to a panel of real-world potential investors, business owners and entrepreneurs. The goal of Tech Tank is to see who can give the best pitch, arrive the most prepared and encourage the panel to invest in their idea. 

     

    This year, Tech Tank saw four projects from three different BUS200 classes. “As the creator of this event, I was very happy with the presentations and the preparedness of the students’ presenting,” remarks Dr. Mark Smith, “They held their own, answered tough questions and took the criticisms well under pressure.”

     

    Gold Award Winner—Ace of Spades presented by Christopher Hernke, Artificial Intelligence

     

    From Val’s class came Ace of Spaces. The project is an entertainment-based restaurant and bar with the main selling point being a POS system built off hard plastic playing cards that can track the tabs of the customers. Restaurant guests can order and pay from the POS kiosk systems and set limits for bill size with the individually linked cards. 

     

    Silver Award Winner—Demeter’s Watch presented by Marissa Williams, Game Art & Animation

     

    From Dapzury’s class came Demeter’s Watch. The project is a home gardening sensor that tracks plants’ health through an application. This sensor notifies the plant parent when their plants need sunlight, soil, water, etc.

     

    Bronze Award Winner—Eyes Breaker presented by Marc Benson, Advancing Computer Science

     

    From Natashas’ class came Eyes Breaker. The project is a social interaction application that helps socially anxious and introverted people find others in close proximity who are looking for conversation. The app prompts the user with common interest points and offers suggestions on how to "break the ice" and start a conversation. 

     

    See more innovation projects!

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    Programming a Social Robot to Help Around Campus


    Innovation is key at UAT—staff, faculty and students are always looking to create something. The University bought the Segway Loomo platform for Advancing Computer Science and Robotics and Embedded Systems students to program it. Enter Brandon...

    Innovation is key at UAT—staff, faculty and students are always looking to create something. The University bought the Segway Loomo platform for Advancing Computer Science and Robotics and Embedded Systems students to program it. Enter Brandon Michelsen.

     

    UAT authored the Loomo project to Brandon and fellow classmates, Ke’Ondrae Mell and Garren Koller. The end purpose for the Loomo is to be a transport vehicle for events, specifically Perimeter83 to deliver items to event attendees. In addition to pulling a cart, other utilization methods are in the works, including autonomous navigation (the Loomo will follow set paths) and follow mode (the Loomo follows a person around).

     

    In addition to orchestrating the project, Brandon has also worked on the follow mode and autonomous navigation part of the project. Ke’Ondrae worked on the communication functionality between the Loomo and cart, while Garren headed up the mechanical portion of the project.

     

    So far, the team developed an Android application that provides a camera feed for navigation. The robot is able to navigate itself by recognizing a person and following them.

     

    To attach the cart to the Loomo, the team create a 3D-printed one-piece hitch with attachment points on both ends. If the Loomo happens to bump into anything, the hitch itself rotates so that the card doesn’t detach or break the hitch. Additionally, electrical communication elements are needed for brake lights.

     

    This project can be categorized as social robotics, which are autonomous robots that communicate and interact with humans by learning social behaviors and following rules accompanying its role. Many elements of the Loomo were premade for social robotics. The Loomo has different programmable voices, sounds and facial expressions—all with the purpose of helping people feel more comfortable around it.

     

    One of Brandon’s priorities is to make the Loomo more interactive with people. The Loomo has a directional microphone in place to pick up directional sounds relevant to itself. This means the Loomo has the potential to recognize voices and determine where people are. “So, you could be standing off in the corner of a room and you can call for it to come to you using your voice and it will pick that out, turn towards you, and then move towards you,” explains Brandon, “I think that would be kind of a neat aspect for the social robotics point of the project, and I think it would be something interesting to work on.”

     

    Robotic technology is a part of Brandon’s present and future. After he leaves UAT, Brandon would like to educate the next generation of technology innovators or join the modern space race. “I’m really interested in education, particularly bringing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) education to rural areas, because I grew up on a farm and we didn’t really have much in the way of STEAM,” says Brandon. “Being able to come here and learn more about technology and engineering, and those fields—I find it really cool and I’d like to bring more opportunities to younger students in the rural areas.”

     

    Interested in more student-based projects? Read our last issue of Behind the Bits!

     

    Team:

    Brandon Michelsen, Robotics and Embedded Systems, AS Advancing Computer Science, AS Artificial Intelligence

    Garren Koller, Robotics and Embedded Systems, Digital Maker and Fabrication

    Ke’Ondrae Mell, Robotics and Embedded Systems, Digital Maker and Fabrication

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