robots and module development

I contributed to the developments of different mobile robots,  especially in the field of perception of the environment and energy management.

Within a graduate project I designed and produced a solar recharge module for the sugar-cube sized robot Alice developed by Gilles Caprari at the Autonomous System Lab of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). 

During my master thesis work in Brussels at the Unit of Social Ecology (ULB) I improved the detection of cockroaches with the IR and pixel array sensors of  InsBot. The use of Artificial Neural Networks embedded  in an 8-bit microcontroller was very helpful.

For the educational robot E-Puck, developed at EPFL by Francesco Mondada and colleagues, I developed a sensor extension  for a multitude of distance and orientation sensors. The interface uses i2c and analog channels. Compatible  sensors are the IR sensors from Sharp, ultrasound sensors from Devantech and Maxbotix, the magnetic compass from Devantech, accelerometers from Freescale. Other sensors with 3.3V and 5V power supply and analog or I2C output might also work but have not been tested.


robot competitions

Together with friends I build two robots to participate at the student robot contest SmatRob in 2003 and 2004.
PeleBot was designed to shoot  as many balls as possible,  which had to be collected on a field beforehand, into a goal.
PaletBot had to collect pallets in different colors and pile them correctly in a repository. PeleBot became 2nd in 2003 and PaletBot won in 2004.

Pictures of the 2004 contest can be found here.

Members of the team were Silvan Schnydrig ('03 & '04), Flurin Pfiffner ('03), Jan Schildknecht ('03), Stefan Keller ('03), Usina Streit ('03), Michael Karlen ('04) and me ('03 & '04).

links -- podcast and forum about news in the robotics field -- laboratory of intelligent systems; evolutionary and flying robotics -- EPFL smartrob contest -- Smartease robotic platform description (french) -- Leurre, the European project involving InsBot E-puck educational mobile robot



© Walter Karlen, 2008-2012
last update:22.07.2012