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City Tech Students Take First and Third Place in the International Digilent Design Competition

First Place Team: Mokhtari, Babkin, Kula.

Recently, two City Tech student teams won first and third place at the Digilent Design Contest, an international hardware design competition open to students who are passionate about electronics, digital design and electrical engineering in general. City Tech hosted the Digilent Design Contest on May 3; ten teams from six schools participated in the competition.

The contest provides an opportunity for students to present their work and receive feedback from international industry representatives. At the same time, students improve their skills and face new challenges in developing projects using the latest technologies.

The winning City Tech team–Eugene Babkin, Bijan Mokhtari and Angjelo Kuka–developed TOBiAS (Tele-Operated Bi-Manual Augmented System), a virtual reality-style immersive experience that allows human input to dictate the movement of a remote robotic torso. The Control Unit is the heart of TOBiAS and is a wearable control mechatronic device in which the user sits and is able to control the robot.

The control of the robot is unlike conventional control interfaces where the operator manipulates joysticks, pedals, levers and buttons to move the robot. TOBiAS reads the movement of the operator sitting inside it and mirrors the movements. Somewhat similar to an exo-suit, the operator straps the control arms and gloves to his/her arms, wears the helmet and controls the robot.

The hand-control units on TOBiAS were made with 3-D printer technology. Applications include nuclear clean-up, explosive handling and disposal, and exploration of unknown territories.

The third place City Tech team–Washington Sarmiento, Elvin Bautista and Gin Pena–are all Computer Engineering Technology majors. They developed the Elderly Independence project, which offers safer living for the elderly through a system of pulse monitoring that detects abnormal heart rates. A fall, for instance, can be reflected in pulse rate, and through IR emitters and transceivers, the hospital can send assistance. This technology also detects poisonous gas and can trigger a ventilation system within the home.

The first-place team members represent City Tech's Department of Computer Engineering Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology and will be competing in the 2014 Digilent Worldwide Design Contest in Shanghai, China.

City Tech professors Andy Zhang, Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Yu Wang, Farrukh Zia, Xiaohai Li and Ohbong Kwon, Department of Civil Engineering Technology, served as faculty advisors.

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