Want to learn about control systems? Go to the farmer's market!
Over several weekends in August at Urbana’s Market at the Square, members of MechSE Professor Andrew Alleyne’s research group, including Ashley Armstrong, Bryan Keating, and Spencer Kieffer, employed yardsticks and an inverted-pendulum balancing robot to challenge Urbana-Champaign residents' balancing skills and knowledge of sensing, control systems, and dynamics.
Market-goers of all ages were invited to determine whether a short yardstick would be easier to balance than a long yardstick, to consider the similarities between balancing a yardstick and stabilizing a rocket, and to witness the power of the pendulum-balancing robot's controller.
The students created an interactive demonstration booth to teach kids about control engineering and get them excited about math and science.