Electrical Engineering Outside the Classroom USC Viterbi, Ming Hsieh Electrical Engineering Department Photoblog

Autonomous and Socially Assistive Robots. Patents for Safer Dog Collars. Drone Swarms. Viterbi Algorithm Inspired Artwork.

Yutong Gu (Junior) and Richard Kim (Senior)
We work in Professor Krishnamachari's lab - Autonomous Networks Research Group where we developed an Intelligent Robotic IoT System testbed. Our robots detect distances from each other by calculating the different arrival time of radio and ultrasound pings. We hope to incorporate more robots to see if we can build a “fluid network” of robots which can move as a group.
"If everything works out, our research can advance the field of robotic exploration and improve search and rescue missions through robot assistance. We have a long way to go but we're excited to see where it leads."
See Yutong and Richard's robots in action
Roxanna Pakkar - Sophomore
In Professor Maja Mataric's Interaction Lab, I build robots that help kids with autism improve their social interaction skills. I worked on the power supply for this robot, named Kiwi, and created a user interface to test different behaviors that we could relay through the robot's movement. This year, I'm also working on an independent project to learn more about how humans interact with robot tutors.
"It's really cool knowing that this technical work that I'm doing in a lab has such huge social implications."
These servos (motors) move Kiwi with six degrees of freedom.
See Kiwi in action in this short film from USC Viterbi
Chloe Lee - Freshman
My name is Chloe Lee, and I’m a first year EE student. I have two patents - the Asymmetric Latch Release Mechanism and the Corrective Collar Activator System. The first utilizes rotating gates and springs of different tensions to grasp and release. It can be used for things like making fire hoses easier to attach. The second is a system that allows for the controlled jerk and release of an animal’s corrective collar. Thousands of dogs die each year because of the misuse of collars. My dog died because her previous owners misused a choke chain, and she suffered through throat and trachea injuries. I wanted to prevent this from ever happening and found the determination and inspiration to develop the system.
“Getting granted these patents felt like an affirmation that there was so much more to come. My life as an engineer is just getting started.”
A unique device that enables a new generation of applications in safety and protection.
Daniel Lytle - Sophomore
In the Automatic Coordination of Teams Lab, I'm working on the "Light Writing" project with Dr. Nora Ayanian. We us swarms of quad-rotor drones to display vector images in the air. It’s really neat because what we create is really beautiful. I also worked on a swarm of 50 drones. I designed a modular charger to power all the drones at once and even designed my own circuit.
“This is a circuit diagram of my work. When coordinating many robots at scale, even basic problems like charging and maintenance require new and exciting solutions.”
Cami Amein - Freshman
I have been doing art my whole life. Although I love being an engineer, art will always be how I communicate and learn. So when Professor Antonio Ortega asked if I was interested in learning more about his research, the first way for me to connect to it was through my watercolors. Graph signal processing is a complex way of looking at data that manifests in intricate and beautiful graphs. When I saw these graphs I was inspired to paint them.
"They were both geometric and organic, filled with such detail and nuance as lines turned into curves. To me they represented a new world of signal processing."
"I had stumbled into a new universe of data, so beautiful and overwhelming that the only way I could express myself as an engineer was through my art."

Photo Credit: Yutong Gu

Instagram: @adventuresoftong


Yutong Gu

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