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K-State Today

December 9, 2022

Engineering student team wins award at coding and invention competition

Submitted by Amy Brox

Seniors Michael Heppner and Mohammed Rasheed, and junior Jacob Lowe

Three students from the Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering competed and won the best hardware hack category at Hack K-State, an annual weekendlong event organized and hosted by Kansas State University.

The competition includes teams of different skill levels and backgrounds designing and creating a product through programming. This year, it was hosted Nov. 11-13 in the College of Business Building, with students programming from Friday evening through Sunday morning. Nearly 50 teams presented and demonstrated their products to the judges.

The winning hardware hack team, consisting of seniors Mohammed Rasheed and Michael Heppner and junior Jacob Lowe, described its four-legged robot as an "autonomous quadruped walker." It had both a manual setting for user control, as well as an autopilot mode making it autonomous. A graphical user interface was also developed, and commands were transferred to the robot wirelessly.

Rasheed designed and 3D printed components for the robot, including the legs, servo mounts and housing. He also created the walking mechanism and assisted with the coding. Heppner programmed the graphical user interface in Python to transmit controls to the robot. He also programed the main algorithm allowing for AI or manual control of the robot. Lowe prototyped the device. He also assembled the hardware and developed the code for the walking mechanism.