GUBotDev (Gannon University’s robotics team) was selected to help design a robotics curriculum to be taught to high school students in Jordan. The trip was held during spring break. Computer and Information Sciences professor Mark Blair, associate provost Dr. Kathleen Kingston, and junior electrical engineering major Nick Devine also went on the trip.
GUBotDev have over 20 different drones in their fleet ranging from some small enough to fit in the palm of your hand to others with wingspans over 6 feet across. Devine said, “We design our own models for racing quad-copters and for large video platform octocopters. We also help many students build and maintain their own personal drones.”
There are currently 6 members from GUBotDev attending the North Coast Flight School to gain their license to fly drones commercially. They are currently enrolled in the classes for a private pilot’s license which will let them get the certification from the FAA to be commercial drone pilots. These GUBotDev members along with others are also becoming certified Amateur Radio Operators (aka HAM Radio). This allows them to use higher powered radios and longer range flight equipment for the drones.
Devine said that GUBotDev also runs a group of 3D printers and do all of the maintenance for the 3D printers in the Industrial and Mechanical Engineering departments. With this fleet of 3D printers, they have helped create different projects and parts for many departments such as Bio-medical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. “We are here to help students with research projects and get them the support and technology they need to complete a project,” said Devine.
GUBotDev has been involved in many events around the Erie area. They competed in Erie Technology Incubator’s Small Business Accelerator Program and came in second place. GUBotDev has also attended expositions such as Erie Manufacturing Day and Northwest PA TechFest.
GUBotDev has worked with many local companies to help them with their technological needs. Some of these companies include: BoXZY, Erie Mill and Press Co., Acoustic Sheep, Fine Arts Miracles and the Erie Police Department. Devine said, “We helped them with things that include: programming software, designing robotic platforms, 3D printing prototypes, and R&D for equipment.”
Because of their involvement on campus and in the Erie area, GUBotDev gained a reputation around campus for being an organization that bridges gaps across academic departments and allows students to work with other majors to get more practical hands on experience. They have shown that they can combine the expertise of all types of student engineers, programmers, and mathematicians to achieve results. As a result, GUBotDev was recommended to work on the project of designing a robotics curriculum to be taught to high school students in Jordan.
GUBotDev has been developing a ground robotic swarm to take with them to Jordan. “We are working on making robots that can locate themselves in a room and relative to one another,” said Devine, “With the ability to locate one another, this robotic swarm can move in a group and map out an area.” They will be taking this robot and developing a curriculum to show to teachers in the area. In addition to developing a curriculum with teachers in the area, GUBotDev will be teaching the electronics and programming needed for robotics and how to use 3D printing for rapid development of parts.
GUBotDev is involved in a summer program for high school students here at Gannon, and Devine believes this international experience can improve it. He said, “This trip will give us more experience creating and delivering curriculums to students. This will help us when we teach our summer camps every year.”