RoboArm: A Locally Sourced Robotic Arm

Winner, “10 Dollar Robot” Design Challenge; Finalist, Global Fab Awards

This project was my undergraduate thesis in low-cost robotics for STEM education carried out at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. An award winning blog entry summarizing the design, kinematics, and software can be found here.

RoboArm and its control interface

This project was carried out at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; from 2012-2013 as a undergraduate thesis. Following the purchase of a robotic arm from outside the country in the previous session and the development of a web-based interface to control it; it was decided that a low-cost alternative should be sought.

So the project focused on the development of a low-cost robot for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. I was chosen from the Mechanical Engineering Department and worked with Professors in both the Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering Departments to execute the project. After eighteen months, with a focus on cost, ease of use in learning, and sustainability, the prototype was developed.

Personally, I chose this project because it gave me the opportunity to learn about robotics as an interdisciplinary field pulling from design, mechanical engineering, material science and engineering, computer engineering.

A blog entry detailing the project including step-by-step instructions for assembling RoboArm, kinmatics, software etc. is here and my thesis can be found here .

Since then the following occurred:

  • RoboArm ,with the blog entry A Locally Sourced Robotic Arm which details its design process, emerged as the only African Winner in the African Robotics Network (AFRON) 2012 “10 Dollar Robot” Design Challenge”. Winners were featured in IEEE Spectrum.
  • RoboArm was exhibited at the 2012 Maker Faire Africa. A blog post on this is available here.
  • A seminar was presented at the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (ARCSTEE-E).
  • Research paper “Design and Implementation of a Locally-Sourced Robotic Arm” was accepted for the 2013 IEEE AFRICON in Mauritius. Paper is available on IEEE Xplore.
  • RoboArm emerged as one of 30 finalists from around the world for the Global Fab Awards at the 10th International Fab Lab Conference in 2014.

Interacting with some secondary school students (Day 1)
Describing RoboArm to some secondary school students at Maker Faire Africa.


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