The Robotics Society is a student-led society which aims to encourage students of all levels to get involved in robotics. Since 2013, the Robotics Society offers a great opportunity to develop your practical skills outside of the course curriculum; you’ll be able to build exciting projects with state-of-the-art technology in a relaxed environment.
More importantly, it’s a great chance to meet others who are interested in robotics. The society is open to students from across the university, at all study levels. Take a look at the projects we run!
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The Buggy Project is our primary beginners project. New members are put into teams of 2 or 3 people and each team gets a kit to assemble their own two wheel autonomous buggy.
The buggies are assembled over the course of semester 1 and the students are taught the basics of circuitry, programming and mechanical considerations for robotics along the way. We like to invite the members to put their own spin on their creations, and several buggies feature weird and wonderful modifications.
The semester closes with a competition where all the buggies compete to solve mazes, race each other, and other tasks. This year we had 36 participating students in the final competition and it was a huge success!
After the competition, buggy project students can move up to other projects, or continue to tinker with and upgrade their buggies if they want to explore other technologies.
A number of last semester's buggy teams are now experimenting with bluetooth control via mobile apps of their own design, and some are working on mapping and navigation technologies.
The goal of the Arm Project is to develop software which will enable one of the Society's 6 DOF manipulators to play chess against human opponents on a physical chess board.
To this end the team has sub-groups focussed on trajectory planning algorithms, low level hardware interfacing, computer vision to identify pieces in a camera feed and artificial intelligence to choose the best moves for the robot to make.
The ROV Project, like the Arm Project, is a multi-disciplinary team project. The team is developing an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for exploration of unknown environments as well as the chemical and radiometric characterisation of water.
The vehicle is inspired by the research being conducted in Manchester's own Robotics for Extreme Environments research group, and we are very close to our first full system deployment test.
This project team is working to build a variety of combat robots to participate in Robot Fighting competitions around the UK (think Robot Wars, but a bit smaller).
This year we successfully took part in a Beetle Weight (<1.5kg) competition in Bristol in February which was the first event of this kind that the university has ever taken part in.
In March we also entered two hobby weight (<5.44kg) robots into the National University Robot Fighting League in Leeds, where one of our robots made it to the quarter finals and we won an award for the best engineered robot. We are also hoping to host our own internal fighting event in May.
In addition to the more structured projects above, the society also allows experienced members to propose their own small projects which we fund and support.
This year we have a number of promising bespoke systems including projects to construct an autonomous UAV, a wall climbing quadruped, a self balancing humanoid and a virtual reality telepresence device.
We run a variety of activities designed to build community and to educate. We've run visits to the NQ64 arcade, Pub Quiz nights, Games nights, and we are in the process of putting together a 24-hour Hackathon event!
We have ran a number of talks and workshops this year to give our members skills and experience which are not provided by their courses. These include: