Michael James and Daniel Wang worked on robotic micro-helicopters at CSIRO in Brisbane.
CSIRO robotics research rated ‘coolest’ summer job
Voting with their feet, a record 28 university students from across Australia spent the summer working with CSIRO’s autonomous systems researchers in Brisbane.
Part of CSIRO’s commitment to fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers, CSIRO’s summer vacation scholarship programs give students the opportunity to work on real research projects.
“The projects give students a chance to work on new technologies or combine existing technologies in exciting ways,” says the Research Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory at CSIRO’s ICT Centre, Dr Michael Bruenig.
“Unconventional ideas are given an opportunity to be explored and sometimes successful projects are co-opted into our research stream.”
Among those who did not have far to travel were two students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT): Daniel Wang who’s studying aerospace avionics, and Michael James who’s studying infomechatronics. The two teamed up to work on robotic helicopters.
Mr James used off-the-shelf kit components to build a low-cost micro-helicopter so CSIRO’s aerial robotics software could be tested on an actual device without risking the real thing.
“The projects give students a chance to work on new technologies or combine existing technologies in exciting ways,”
says the Research Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory at CSIRO’s ICT Centre, Dr Michael Bruenig.
Mr Wang worked on a ground-based autonomous camera to keep an eye on the helicopter as it flew.
Both have been invited to do their final-year project at CSIRO next year when they will continue their helicopter work.
Another infomechatronics student at QUT, Megan Dawson, was designing an automated arm that could attach to a number of CSIRO’s robots. ‘The Claw’, as the students have dubbed it, will allow the robots – unmanned submarines, motor vehicles and boats – to better perform activities such as infrastructure maintenance missions and deploying or retrieving sensors from the field.
“It was great meeting students from around Australia, getting to work with them on real-world projects and gaining valuable experience,” she said.
CSIRO’s robotics and automation technologies are used for applications where it is costly or dangerous for humans. For example: moving molten metal in a smelter, inspecting power lines, aerial mapping, environmental monitoring and controlling the movement of stock.
Many of CSIRO’s summer vacation scholars are meeting in Sydney this week for the ‘Big Day In’, where they will present the results of their work to their peers and supervisors.
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