Engineering Undergrads Receive Awards at Intel-Cornell Cup
Two teams of Penn Engineering undergraduates won top prizes at the 2012 Intel-Cornell Cup Embedded Systems Competition. The competition, held May 4-5, 2012, at Walt Disney World and presented by Intel, is a college-level competition created to provide the newest, innovative applications of embedded technology, computer systems built for specific tasks. The student teams were led by Rahul Mangharam, Stephen J. Angello Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering.
Second place in the competition went to the H.A.W.K. project (Helicopter Aircraft Wielding Kinect) developed by Matt Hale, Kevin Conley, Teddy Zhang, Bill Etter and Paul Gurniak, all seniors in Electrical and Systems Engineering (ESE).
The goal of the H.A.W.K. project is to build upon a pre-assembled quadrotor aircraft platform to include a low-cost depth camera (stripped down Xbox Kinect) to conduct rapid Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) of a building in a single fly-through. All Intel Atom-powered quadrotors locally capture the depth and image data and transfer it to the base station for SLAM processing and rendering of a 3D building model.
The People's Choice award went to Kinecthesia, developed by Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, both juniors in Computer Engineering.
Kinecthesia is a wearable belt that can detect obstacles and alert the user to their location. The team developed a prototype using a Microsoft Kinect for the obstacle detection and an array of vibration motors for the feedback system. When the user approaches an object while wearing the Kinesthesia, the belt subtly vibrates. The intensity and location of the vibrations on the belt tell the user exactly where the obstacle is. Using this system, the user can feel their surrounds and navigate around stationary or moving obstacles. This system also has applications beyond obstacle avoidance for the blind. It can be used by anyone in a low visibility situation like firefighters or miners. Additionally, the hardware could be re-purposed to be used as a navigation system to direct a user towards as destination rather than away from an obstacle.