by Frankie Celantano '20
Team VMI, headed by Frankie Celantano '20, with Michael St. John '20, Eric Munro '21, and Joe Lieber '23, built a next-generation tick rover for the IEEE-CASS competition and for Frankie's honors thesis. The rover will be given to Dr. Holly Gaff, professor of biology at Old Dominion University, for her research in the summer of 2021 researching optimal methods to remove ticks from residential areas. This version of the rover incorporates numerous improvements to the base station that provides the magnetic navigation signal and to the robot. The robot has been enhanced with more rugged mechanics, built-in CO2 dispensers, improved steering algorithms, and better throttle-control algorithms. A video showing in action is here. It won first place in the IEEE CASS Student Paper Competition at the sectional, regional, U.S., and North American levels. COVID kept us from attending the World competition at Seville, Spain, although we did remotely compete against four other student teams representing various sections of the world. China won with a stair-climbing powered wheelchair.