Robotics Videos

These videos are provided by the WPI Robotics Engineering program. We hope that these videos will help you make better design decisions as your are building your robots each year. We will continue to add to these videos over time.

Most of these topics are playlists with multiple videos in the series. You can select which video in the playlist to view using the arrow at the top left corner of the image.

Sensors and sensing

Without sensors and sensing robots are really radio controlled vehicles. Sensors allow the robots to understand the internal operation of the robots mechanical systems as well as the ability to interact with the environment around the robot. In these videos WPI Professor Craig Putnam describes a number of classes of sensors, how they are used, and tries to help you decide what sensors are best for your applications.

Motors for robotics applications

One of the most important design decisions that teams have to deal with is selecting and designing the motor driven systems on their robot. So often the incorrect motor is chosen for a particular design yielding reduced performance, and sometimes even worse, motors failing from excessive current draw. In this series of videos WPI Professor Ken Stafford will walk you through how motors work, how to design systems to operate at maximum performance, and a sample design for a robot system.

Designing with pneumatics

Teams are often hesitant to use pneumatics in their robots because of the weight of the compressor and other control systems, the added complexity, and a large footprint on the robot design. So why do teams use pneumatics? Watch WPI Professor Ken Stafford from WPI Robotics Engineering to dispel the myths and give you the real story on using compressed air to operate various systems on your robot.

Simulating Robots designed with SolidWorks

In large scale robotics projects such as the recently completed DARPA Robotics Challenge where teams had to start programming their robots long before they got the working hardware, simulation was used to verify their designs and allow them to make substantial progress. In this video you’ll see how to take your robot models created with SolidWorks and add all the actuators and sensors, then export it to the Gazebo high fidelity robotics simulator. This set of videos talks about designing a robot for simulation and the next set of videos discusses programming the robot model using WPILib the same as you would for your actual robot.

FRCSim robotics simulator for C++ and Java

FRCSim is a new simulation tool updated for the FRC 2016 competition season that allows Java and C++ teams learn about robot programming without having access to a real robot. There are two sample robots provided with sample programs that you can program using the same robotics APIs that you would use for a physical robot. But new for 2016, you can incorporate your own robot models into the simulation. In fact, both of these robots exist in real life and the programs can either run in simulation or can run on the actual hardware. In this video Peter Mitrano and Logan Tutt, two WPI students who developed the software talk about how to use the simulator and add your own robot models.

Advanced robotics applications

Robots need to be able to understand their environment to be able to interact with it. One of the primary ways robots perceive the environment around them is to use vision sensors, usually cameras, to look at what’s near the robot. The images are then processed and the desired features are extracted to use for robot navigation or path planning for manipulators on the robot. In this video members of the WPI DARPA Robotics Challenge team talk about how they use basic  vision algorithms on our Atlas humanoid robot to visualize areas around the robot for operating in disaster areas. These same basic algorithms can be applied to your own robots for detecting objects on a competition playing field.

WPILib programming with RobotBuilder

These videos in this playlist are from 2014 and are based on NetBeans rather than eclipse which is used for 2015. If you look at the documentation and see how to use eclipse for your projects, everything else for building the program should be identical: all the program design, coding, testing, use of the other tools, etc. We hope to update the videos soon.

The first video in the playlist is a brief introduction to using RobotBuilder.

This rest of the playlist consists of a set of videos to build a robot program from scratch in about an hour that includes program design, creating a full featured autonomous program and a teleop program that will operate the robot from joysticks doing complex automated tasks.

Power transmission

Hand in hand with choosing the correct motors for an application is transmitting that motor power to place its needed. Using gears or chains and sprockets are two effective ways of matching the motor power to the application being driven. In this video WPI Robotics Engineering PhD student Michael Delph talks about power transmission including choosing correct gear or chain and sprocket ratios to get the the maximum performance from your robot design.

Robot controls

Did you ever have trouble designing a robot system to move quickly, then stop at exactly the desired position. This can come up with driving fixed distances or speeds, operating arms and elevators, or any other motor controlled system that needs to operate to specific set points. In this video WPI Professor Dmitry Berenson talks about robot controls and how PID controls work.