Posted on March 27, 2017

ECE students build Shybot at RoboHacks

Image of the ECE Shybot Team
Left to right: Kal Radikov, Sci'18, Marina Uy, Sci'18 and Victoria Henri, Sci'18

ECE students Victoria Henri, Kal Radikov, and Marina Uy attended RoboHacks this weekend, a Montreal based hackathon hosted by McGill Robotics. In 24 hours, the team built Shybot - a hide and seek playing robot! Due to it's unique wheel design, this sneaky robot can change it's size to fit into tight spaces. From couches to doors, Shybot takes the classic "Hide and Seek" game to the next level

Shybot moves using inflating wheels, made of complex origami. The sensors and motors are run off of an Arduino, which is connected to a Raspberry Pi. A webcam is attached to the Pi via USB and a python script utilizing OpenCV takes a picture every few seconds. This picture is analyzed for shadows - with the assumption that a shadow of a specific shape and size might prove to be a good hiding spot.

The applications of Shybot could extend well beyond children's games. The team believes Shybot's unique ability to hide can be translated to a more Martian terrain, allowing it to find shelter from extreme storms, traversing uneven ground and fitting into tight spaces. To improve the design, the students would like to create wheels from more durable material and implement a web app to allow users to receive information from the robot.

Following the day long event, the group reflected on their experience saying: "we had a ton of fun and would recommend hackathons to anyone interested in learning about hardware or software - no matter the skill level!" If you are interested in attending future hackathons, visit the Major League Hacking schedule.