UAH Students Have Inexpensive Craigslist Find Doing the Work of a $20,000 Robot

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A team of student employees at UAH’s Systems Management and Production Center recently combined inspiration with innovation.

They made a $250 motorized wheelchair do the work of a $20,000 robot.

“We turned an electronic wheelchair into pretty much a portable and remote control device that, you can send it into a building and it will take panoramic pictures of all the rooms,” said Jessica Sisk.

Equipped with a Ricoh Theta panoramic camera on a mast, the device has helped school systems digitally map their emergency plans.

As its first official task, the robot built on the cheap photographed UAH’s new Charger Union building for inventory and insurance purposes.

The prototype also cuts down on job time.

“Dramatically.  We were taking between four and six hours to do an entire school, now we went and did the Charger Union on campus in an hour and a half or two hours.”

The machine rolls into position and snaps the shot, which is stitched together in an app and is viewable on a smartphone within seconds.

“For $250 off Craigslist,” Sisk said.

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