(June 22, 2015) -- Here’s a way to expedite that apocalyptic scenario in which robots take over the world: 3-D print the robots. Electrical and computer engineering student Eric Wineman and some of his fellow students at UTSA had a similar idea, not to bring about the end of the world but for the purpose of making a quick, inexpensive and destructible robot to be used in an emergency situation.
“We figured a lot of robots are novel nowadays,” he said. “They look cool but they can’t do a whole lot yet.”
Wineman is part of the SMART program that allows him to pursue his master’s degree in electrical engineering while also working as a civilian for the military, where he uses 3-D printers daily. While a student earlier this year in Electrical and computer engineering professor Mo Jamshidi’s intelligent robotics class, Wineman and his classmates had the idea to use his experience with 3-D printing to create an intelligent, disposable robot.
“The first major advantage is cost,” he said. “In the process of manufacturing a part, you send off a drawing, get it made and hope it turns out right. With 3-D printing, the trial-and-error process is much quicker.”
Wineman’s robot has the ability to find a valve, then open and close it. This could be useful, he said, in a dangerous environment such as a boiler room with high-pressure pipes.
“Say one bursts,” he said. “You could have the robot go in there instead of risking a person’s life.”
Overall, the robot took about 100 hours to print in Jamshidi’s lab. Even though that’s not exactly lightning fast, Wineman said, it’s advantageous because students can watch the results as they form and dispose of failed parts quickly.
“3-D printing is a new approach to prototyping,” Jamshidi said. “It makes prototypes very inexpensive.”
Now, with one semester left at UTSA, Wineman is working on adding voice recognition capability to the robot, so a person can call out to it for help. Jamshidi, meanwhile, is looking forward to expanding his robotics laboratory in the fall, and expects his students to do much more work with 3-D printing.
Learn more about robotics at UTSA here.
In honor of UTSA's 50th Anniversary in 2019, the university is hosting Roadrunner Days Spring Edition - two weeks of semester-launching activities built around our deeply held values of student success, student involvement, community service and fun!
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
All UTSA students, faculty, staff, alums & families are invited to march as a unified community. Register here: bit.ly/2TYbHbR. Shuttles will be provided from the Main and Downtown Campuses.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, 3501 MLK Dr., San Antonio
UTSA's John Nix invites the community to sing "Amazing Grace" and “We Shall Overcome” at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The intent of this nationwide effort is to honor Dr. King's legacy and to spread a sense of community in the United States.
Locations throughout the United States
Opening Reception got exhibit featuring artists Miguel Aragon, Aaron Coleman, Sandra Fernandez, Annalise Gratovich, Marco Hernandez, Kristen Powers Nowlin, & Patricia Villalobos Echeverria
Main Art Gallery, Arts Building (ART 2.03.04), Main Campus
Tracy Cowden, Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and chair of the UTSA Department of Music launches the UTSA 50th Anniversary Scholars Speaker Series with Music as Medicine: The Power and Influence of Music on our Health.
Radius Center, 106 Auditorium Cir. #120, San Antonio
UTSA African American Studies Program presents this series featuring Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus)
Join fellow Runners to walk for 10 minutes on the Main Campus. The event reminds us of the importance of exercise, diet and healthy habits in protecting our hearts.
Outside the North Paseo Building, Main Campus
The annual event features authentic foods, music, dance, martial arts, shopping, games and entertainment from China, to the Indian Sub-continent, and the island nations of the Pacific. The Festival features two stages, a martial arts demonstration area, children’s hands on crafting area, anime activities, bonsai and ikebana displays, mahjong table and more.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.