P17250: Solar Powered Charging Station


Project Summary Project Information

Problem Statement

An autonomous robotic fish (RoboFish) has been developed through several previous senior design teams to serve as a prototype for future marine research or military applications. The Robofish employs hydraulic McKibben artificial muscles to power through water and has been designed to minimize any mechanical or robotic appearance. The Robofish is capable of detecting and retrieving falling objects in the water, observing its surroundings through a camera mounted on its head, and eventually may be capable of determining its location. However, the batteries that currently power the motion and on-board sensing systems of the robotic fish limit the operation time to a few hours.

The objective of this project is to design a system that enables the RoboFish to engage in lengthier, time-sustainable missions. This is accomplished through the use of a power-harvesting, floating docking station that is capable of autonomously charging the RoboFish. The fish must be able to first detect battery life capacity at a reasonable threshold, navigate to the station, dock, charge batteries up to full capacity, and undock successfully to resume operation.

In the future, additional communication systems may be installed to allow data collected from the RoboFish to be transmitted to the dock. This would negate the need for the fish to be collected from the water for data retrieval, allowing for potentially lengthier operations.

For the project description supplied to the team, click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

CAD Model of Design (11/2/2016)

CAD Model of Design (11/2/2016)

Assembled RCS (5/6/2016)

Assembled RCS (5/6/2016)

Project Name
Robofish Charging Station (RCS)
Project Number
Project Family
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Mike Blachowicz
Primary Customer
Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard
Sponsor (financial support)
The Boeing Company

Team Members

From left to right: Brittany McCord, Johan Nasution, Garrett Burgwardt, Lu Min (Lucas) Aung, Jack Moore, Chris Parker

From left to right: Brittany McCord, Johan Nasution, Garrett Burgwardt, Lu Min (Lucas) Aung, Jack Moore, Chris Parker

Member Engineering Discipline Role Contact
Jack Moore Mechanical Project Manager jcm7103@rit.edu
Johan Nasution Electrical Robotics Lead jxn3793@rit.edu
Brittany McCord Electrical Power Systems Lead bjm7206@rit.edu
Garrett Burgwardt Electrical (Robotics) Electrical Engineering Lead gcb8185@rit.edu
Lu Min Aung Electrical (Robotics) Software Lead lma5500@rit.edu
Christopher Parker Mechanical Mechanical Lead cjp6679@rit.edu

Table of Contents


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Useful Links & Documents

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation


Our sincere thanks goes to Dr. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard and the Boeing Company for providing us the opportunity to work on an on-going project with real world applications and development. Dr. Lamkin-Kennard has been communicating with our team tirelessly to ensure customer and engineering requirements have been completely satisfied.

We would also like to thank our project guide Mike Blachowicz for sharing with us his expertise in engineering designs and his wisdom in the importance of process and iterations.

Finally, we would like to thank Kate Gleason's College of Engineering for providing not only facilities needed for the project deisgn and implementation, but also professors who have passed on invaluable knowledge in embedded systems, classical control, and fluid dynamics among others, without which, we would not have been able to facilitate the design problem.