Past Work: Large-Scale Mirror Actuation

When I was an undergrad at Georgia Tech, I worked on a research project for a year. I worked part of the time while still in school and continued after I graduated. I didn’t really have a senior design project and most undergrads didn’t do actual “research”. So, I felt pretty lucky to be involved in a real research project, especially given the level of my involvement. I worked with Dr. Harvey Lipkin and his grad student Russell Marzette Jr. Russell and Dr. Lipkin had developed a new way to actuate (bend and position) really large telescope mirrors and it was my job to develop software to model and test this technique. I wrote some MATLAB and ANSYS code to automate all of my tests. What was really cool (and unknown to me prior) was that I could use ANSYS from the command line and write scripts which match a normal GUI work flow in the 3D environment. I could create structures, apply loads, mesh structures, and run simulations all from scripts. This allowed me to create a MATLAB GUI to set parameters (or sets of parameters), create and execute custom ANSYS scripts, and format ANSYS-generated image and text results. I could set a span of parameters and run an entire batch of ANSYS simulations back-to-back.
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Slot Car Track Layout Editor

When I was a kid I was gifted a vintage slot car track. Its was an early 70’s Riggen brand 1/32 scale set : two cars, two controllers, and a decent amount of track. I still have it and I occasionally pull it out and play with it. Last weekend the weather was pretty nasty outside so I decided to have some fun with it. I thought it would be cool to make a little MATLAB app that would let me create and edit track layouts before I put everything together.

riggen pro-am

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American Sign Language Recognition System

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This project was part of my Carnegie Mellon University graduate coursework. The project spanned two courses: Computer Vision and Machine Learning. I worked in a team with Justin Farrell and Matt Eicholtz. Our Matlab code is available on my GitHub page. Feel free to use it and take what you need. If you do we only ask that you reference our efforts (and the effort of those who we relied on). You can get some more information from our poster.

GitHub repository
Paper (for Machine Learning course)

CMU Mechatronics Project: Multi-shot Cannon

The challenge
Design and build a machine that fires Nerf foam balls and hits static and moving targets with great accuracy and speed.

The team
Four engineers joined forces to accept the challenge.

Justin Farrell (firing), Melvin Rayappa (vision, coding), Jason Atwood (system integration), and Rachel Jackson (loading, aiming)

The machine

Figure 1. Depiction of overall mechatronic system with key components highlighted.

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