A tough student arrived at school this fall under police escort.
A bomb disposal robot, delivered in September in a Calgary Police Service Tactical Team van, is now in pieces on the laboratory floor at the Schulich School of Engineering, getting a complete overhaul by fourth-year mechanical and electrical engineering students.
When reassembled in top working order, the robot, named ANDROS, will have a unique articulated track system that allows it to manoeuvre over rough terrain, climb stairs and cross ditches. It will be sealed to operate under any weather conditions and to move on virtually any surface including sand, mud, gravel and grass.
ANDROS will also be equipped with cameras for remote viewing and an on-board dexterous manipulator that can be remotely controlled for hazardous tasks, like bomb diffusing.
“I have always been interested in robots, so this is an amazing experience—to rebuild a robot that was used by the police service to do very real and sometimes dangerous work,” says Connie Wang, one of the students working on the project.
“We have to get this robot fully operational so that it could go right back into service. That’s how we are being tested—it is very ‘real world.’ There are no short-cuts just because we are doing it as part of a university class.”
ANDROS was used by the Calgary Police Tactical Team up until 1997 and is now part of the Calgary Police Interpretive Centre’s artifact collection.
“[This project] integrates the knowledge the students have gained over the past three years and puts it into practice and also gives the participating students a chance to interact with an organization like the police tactical team and the interpretive centre and the very real challenge of managing resources and balancing the budget,” says mechanical engineering associate professor Alejandro Ramirez-Serrano, supervisor of the project.
According to Ramirez-Serrano, the robot rebuild provides a combination of experiences that prepare students for the professional world of engineering by including both technical and collaboration skills.
The robot includes numerous electrical and electronic components that need to be brought back to operation status including video cameras, diverse sensors, remote control console and other interrelated mechanical and electrical systems. The students’ goal is to have it complete by mid-April. Once in operating order, the robot will be an interactive exhibit at YouthLink Calgary: The Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, where the public will be able to interact with and use the robot.
Follow progress of the project at: www.youthlinkcalgary.com/.