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HERC Grant Funds Undergraduate Robotics Research at Idaho State University

November 11, 2021

A trio of Idaho State University Mechanical Engineering undergrads will be getting hands-on experience in the field of robotics.

Thanks to an $8,000 grant from the Higher Education Research Council, the students will work towards developing a robotic arm, novel grasping mechanism (robotic hand) for sampling, and a vision system that can be mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Taher Deemyad
Taher Deemyad

“Right now, UAVs are not efficient at picking up objects and taking samples. Instead, Autonomous Ground Vehicles (AGV) are typically used for these situations,” Visiting Assistant Professor Taher Deemyad said. “The advantage to UAVs is they are faster and can get into places that an AGV can’t.”

Under the instruction of Dr. Deemyad, the undergraduates will work in the ISU Robotics Research Laboratory to design a lightweight robotic arm that will be able to fold into a quadcopter during flight. They will also work on developing adaptive robotic hands with the ability to grasp small objects with different shapes and utilize a 360-degree vision system to detect objects.

“If we can get the arm and sampling system to work on a UAV, it could see a host of applications in agricultural, geological, and environmental research,” Deemyad said.

Students were selected for the program in October and began work on the project in November. They plan to have their prototype built by June 2022.

For more information on ISU’s Mechanical Engineering Department, visit isu.edu/me. 


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