Gannon robotics club shows off drone projects


GUBot built an octo-copter named Khalid after a former member.

Members of GUBot Dev, Gannon University’s independently funded robotics development team and company, were recruiting members by displaying their drone projects on A.J.’s Way Friday, Aug. 29.

Nick Devine, a junior electrical engineering major and COO, said the team works to make ideas realities.

“One of the grad students wanted an octo-copter, so we built one,” he said.

Mark Blair, an instructor of computer and information science at Gannon and faculty adviser for the club, said they named the 8-pronged drone Khalid after a former member who believed in impossible designs for machines. He said the team sold the octo-copter to Penn State Behrend and looks forward to putting it together and working with the students there.

“You have to be around us a while before you get a feel for it,” Blair said. There’s stories behind everything we do and we’re always messing with each other.”

Blair said GUBot sets up drones as well as the sensor networks to communicate with them so the members can identify events and respond to them. But it’s not just about drones.

Blair said the team is working on projects with bioengineering students to design reasonably priced prosthetics using 3-D printing. Furthermore, he said GUBot hopes to work with Community Health Net in order to develop the prosthetics.

He said the team hopes to have its members certified as ground pilots and licensed to operate drones for purposes other than hobbies.

GUBot also works in collaboration with Penn State Behrend and Mercyhurst along with the Erie Police Department.

Blair said the team is trying to compete in drone nationals and the autonomous vehicle competition funded by SparkFun Electronics. The other project the team is working on, Blair said, is forming a limited liability company in order to interact better with the community.

“We are building [things] much cheaper than anyone else,” Blair said.

The club is open to all majors and meets each Friday at 4:30 p.m.

“We could use some more non-programmers,” Steve Caulfield, a junior computer science major and CEO, said.

Caulfield said his favorite project so far has been the octo-copter.

“I like being able to get together with the group and work on whatever we work on,” Caulfield said.

Devine said the work process is the most exciting part of being a member of the club.

“It’s fun to see how something comes out of nothing and print out the parts,” Devine said.

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