Godwin’s robotics team, Talon 540, participates in yearly challenges that involve constructing robots based on that year’s guidelines. This year, the competition was changed from being a traditional robotics competition to a competition that can be worked on in a virtual manner.
This year, Talon 540 is a part of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Challenges by Qualcomm. The FIRST challenge this year consisted of two parts, the Game Design Challenge and the Innovation Challenge.
For the Game Design Challenge, Talon 540 developed an example game called the pyramid game. This would involve robots filing in holes in a pyramid structure to climb to the top to grab the “jewel.”
“This game would also include additional tasks that would involve the robots memorizing a certain sequence of buttons and input[ing] them into a large 3×3 pad,” said Siddarth Selvakumar, a senior at Godwin and programming lead of Talon 540.
For the Innovation Challenge, Talon 540 was tasked with the challenge of creating an innovation that could aid people in personal fitness. They decided to make an app that encourages users to stay motivated.
Godwin sophomore and computer aided design (CAD) subgroup lead Zaid Contractor has been a member of Talon 540 for two years.
“The app that our team is making is a unique platform that allows users to be self-motivated in physical activity through engaging them in different story/themed formats,” said Contractor.
The app is designed to scan the user’s environment like the office, school, or the park. It will then identify objects in the surrounding environment that the user can use to exercise with like chairs, counters, and trees.
“The exercise that a user performs based on what the app suggests will then translate to movements in a fantasy-magic game,” said senior Esha Sharma, who is the project manager of Talon 540.
The more exercises and time the user spends exercising, the more levels that user can accomplish in the app.
The first step to making this app was brainstorming ideas on how to make an app that would improve the user’s physical fitness. The team consulted with health professionals related to exercise that verified their work.
Then the programming subgroup developed a camera tracking and recognition software. The rest of the group began working on the plot and the temporary art group designed animations and concept art for the app.
The app is still in the beginning stages of development and will take more time before it is functional.
“Considering form and image recognition technology, as well as the amount of time and labor this requires beyond a robotics team, it will take upwards of five years to make this app fully functional,” said Sharma.
Even though this app may never become fully functional and available to the public because of the time and money it would take, it gives the members of Talon 540 a chance to experience the process of developing an app.
Through the app making process, members of Talon 540 have learned many skills that will help benefit them in the future.
“This project has been so amazing that we have now created an amazing set of programmers who are ready to tackle any robotics-related challenge in the future,” said Contractor.