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Zigzagging field robot created in a three-month sprint

Students' daring and innovative project work delighted participants at the Mechatronic Circus.

Mechatronic Circus is the popular ending event of the project course.

In January, students at the mechatronics project course were given free rein, a strict timetable and a group of capable advisors.

Now, as the April sun warms the Aalto Industrial Internet Campus, there is an excited and relieved atmosphere inside – with no time to spare, everything is now finished!

‘This one is leaving for a competition in Great Britain in June’, says Janna Huuskonen, using her laptop to give a command to a miniature field robot spinning on the floor.

‘The purpose of the Field Robot Event is to demonstrate the potential of robots in agriculture. We wanted to make a robot that would automatically zigzag between the corn field rows. We are still developing machine vision for the robot: our goal is for it to recognize the pink balls symbolizing weeds on the competition field.’

Janna Huuskonen presenting the field robot with Jaakko Mattila.

The idea of the mechatronics project course is to challenge the students to use all their knowledge in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science without holding anything back.

‘The students get to choose their topic themselves, and they can get as crazy and daring as they like’, beams Panu Kiviluoma, Senior University Lecturer and the person responsible for advising the bachelor's students.

‘We have fun at the course, but at the same time, we are challenging the students to think about their solutions and what they are learning’, stresses Kiviluoma.

Panu Kiviluoma was responsible for advising the bachelor's students.

Many are already familiar with drones, and people are constantly making up new ideas for using them, such as delivering packages and monitoring. The DJI M600 drone presented by Antti Korhonen has been improved with an extending arm mechanism that performs spot measurements for moisture on peat bogs.

‘This way, peat collection time can be optimized. The most challenging part of the project was the design phase; we set our goals high, but time and money were an issue. However, it was great to see that our vision wasn’t impossible, and our plans worked.’

According to Eetu Peltoluhta and Antti Korhonen, drones can be used for example for monitoring the condition of electrical networks.

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