Building a better dog? St. Cloud State students have robotic husky in the works

  • Article by: NATE GOTLIEB , St. Cloud Times
  • Updated: July 29, 2013 - 12:06 AM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — St. Cloud State University student Eu Sheng Chung won four gold medals at national robotics competitions in his native Malaysia. But his current project will be his biggest yet.

Chung and St. Cloud State application designer Josh Hjelmstad are building a full-size robotic husky, which the university plans on prominently displaying.

"It's a different perspective on building stuff," Chung said of the project. "With a bigger scale, you have to calculate how much torque is needed for the motors to move."

Chung and Hjelmstad said they hope to finish the husky — the school's mascot — by August. The university will display it in the Learning Resources Services building or the Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility, the St. Cloud Times reported (http://on.sctimes.com/1aETkvB).

Chung, a mechanical engineering major, is president of the university's robotics club. The 20-year-old junior-to-be was a member of his high school robotics club in Malaysia.

"(Building robots) is like art," Chung said. "There's so many ways you can make the movement you want."

The project was the idea of Hjelmstad, who said he was passionate about electronics as a kid.

Hjelmstad built a smaller robotic husky and thought the project was going to end there. But one of his co-workers in the university's information technology department encouraged him to keep going.

Hjelmstad got in touch with Kenneth Miller, the chair of the mechanical engineering department, who connected him with Chung.

"Eu Sheng had understanding of mechanisms that allowed us to make a better dog," Hjelmstad said.

Hjelmstad and Chung started working on the husky last month. They bought a pair of stuffed dogs, and Chung created a model using Legos.

Chung designed motors for it using parts from old printers and scanners.

Once the parts are bolted on, Hjelmstad will program the husky to interact with people. The finished husky will be able to wag its tail, open and close its mouth and turn its head.

Chung said that after graduating he will apply for a master's degree program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or find a job with a company that builds robots.

Hjelmstad said he has no plans to pursue robotics professionally, but he hopes to keep building them in his spare time.

This is an AP Member Exchange shared by the St. Cloud Times

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