Rosie the Robot’s first public appearance occurred on March 19th, 2005 at the Manitoba
Robot Games (MRG) in front of over 500 people. Spectators, participants, children, and
volunteers bombarded the IEEE WIE Winnipeg group with questions and comments
regarding Rosie’s design and construction. A great level of interest in the project was
generated, even though the MRG Judge’s Choice competition category was eliminated,
which subsequently lead to a change in project scope and schedule. The IEEE WIE
Winnipeg group is seeking the approval of the IEEE Canadian Foundation to extend the
project completion date to April 2006. The team feels this will provide a sufficient time
frame to encourage other robot teams to participate in the robot games and therefore
ensure there will be a future Judge’s Choice competition. IEEE WIE Winnipeg is
committed to completing the project and is diligently pursuing the objectives for which
the original grant was made.
Figure 1: The Rosie Team, L-R: Kasia Rak, Mpho Otukile, Kristine Vacola, Evelyn
Kayaga, Jennifer Jessop.
Missing: Jeff Blais, Colin Mantay
The objective of the project was to build an autonomous robot, “Rosie the Robot”, for
showcasing by IEEE WIE Winnipeg in outreach programs as well as entry into the
Judges Choice category for the 2005 MRG. This report outlines the progress since
obtaining funding and shows that although the robot is not completed as originally
planned, our group met the proposal’s other objectives of using the robot as a showcasing
piece for our group, and for project group members to gain knowledge and experience in
the design and construction of an autonomous robot.
Each planning session involved a three-step process: coffee, napkins (for sketching) and
Timbits. These planning sessions gave inspiration to Rosie’s design and functionality.
During the planning stages, the group thought through as idea from concept to reality,
facing the limitations of technology, costs and imagination. Initial planning meetings and
proposal drafting brought about more detailed and realistic designs, parts lists and
potential methods of construction.
During the planning process, both the physical construction of the robot and methods for
controlling the robot’s functionality were considered simultaneously as each affected and
limited the other.
Group dynamics evolved over time as group members brainstormed ideas, drew pictures,
evaluated different options, and defended their ideas to the bitter end. Refer to Appendix
A for a full schedule of team meetings.
Figure 2: Rosie Planning Sessions
3.1 Internal Structure
3.1.1 Physical Design of Body
Rosie’s body consists of three modular sections: the base, mid-section and head. Each is
composed of a wood frame encompassed by PET-G plastic. The base sits on top of the
steel tube frame; an interconnected steel shaft running through Rosie’s center from the
steel support base, while the head is mounted on a stepper motor connected to the internal
support shaft connects the mid-section to the head.
The initial modular body sections were prototyped using cardboard to finalize dimensions
and develop a pattern for efficient body construction. This resulted in the following
• Base: 22” L x 22” W x 20” H
• Mid-section: 22” L x 18” W x 18” H
• Head: 14”L x 12” circular diameter
Figure 3: Rosie Cardboard Prototype
Figure 4: (left) Wooden Skeleton & Base, (right) PET-G Skirt Structure
3.1.2 Mechanical Design & Motor Control
The steel tube frame construction was designed to support the bulk of Rosie’s significant
weight (just under 100lbs). The multi layer steel frame was needed to accommodate the
heavy equipment, including battery, motors with chain drive, inverter, cabling, bus work,
protection circuitry, processor, and electronics. Placing the bulk of the weight at the base
of Rosie’s body keeps the center of mass low to the ground and thus increases stability.
Two tires with roller bearings on each of two steel axels provide the mobility needed
based on skid type steering. Two motors, from the power windows of a 1986 Toyota
Camry, will provide the driving force for the robot.
Figure 5: Axel Structure & Team Welding
Figure 6: Team Welding & Multi-Layer Steel Frame
3.2 Electrical Systems-Power Supply Circuit
Rosie’s power supply is based on a 12V and 39Ahr spill proof lead acid battery and a
DC-AC inverter. The inverter provides 115V (AC) to two computer power supplies,
which are used in turn to provide a stable source of power for the computer and external
peripheral electronic devices such as the PICs and sensors. A batter charger circuit was
designed and constructed to provide necessary amperage and to minimize charging time
since there were no “off-the-shelf” components available.
The control will be implemented through a CPU, several PICs and various sensors. The
sensors provide the real world data to PIC micro controllers which in turn provide the
CPU with the necessary data for high level control.
Analog infrared sensors, limited to a sensing range of 150cm, will be placed along the
perimeter of the steel base. Four sensors are installed vertically downward to sense and
avoid drastic changes in elevations, i.e. stairs. The four sensors are installed horizontally
to gage oncoming objects.
For safety reasons, a kill-switch is implemented to provide instantaneous shutdown.
Tentative plans have the kill switch located on Rosie’s backside.
The CPU, through the use of Visual Basic software, will be used to provide the high-level
control interface for Rosie. The sensors will be polled by PICs (Microchip 16F8778),
with A/D capability, and the PIC will send the sensor data to the CPU for analysis. The
CPU will, through the use of the PICs, send signals to the motors to react appropriately.
Although several PICs will be used for the various sensors and motor control, one main
PIC will control them and it will be interfaced to the CPU through an RS232 and 485-
Figure 7: Robot CPU & Power Supply
After the initial and detailed designs were completed the process of obtaining parts was
undertaken. Parts came from many sources in order to minimize expenditures, these
included local stores, salvage yards, and Internet suppliers. The following tasks were
performed once parts were obtained allowing construction to commence:
• Constructing the steel tube base for mobility and navigation, including axles and
• Mounting of battery, inverter, buswork, and electronics on the base
• Constructing the frame or robot skeleton from wood based on cardboard
• Constructing of three body sections, including mounting of plastic on wood
skeleton, priming, painting, and polishing.
• Wiring of components including battery, inverter, busbar, solenoid, etc.
• Conductivity testing to verify connections
• PCB fabrication of battery charger circuit
• Testing of control system
• Refurbishing and testing of motors
• Machining custom drive shafts for motors
• Calibrating and testing of sensors
• Visual Basic Programming
• PIC firmware programming
5.0 Project Evaluation
The objectives for this project were to enter “Rosie the Robot” in the category of
“Judges’ Choice” for the 2005 Manitoba Robot Games, and to showcase at local WIE
events to garner interest in engineering, WIE and the IEEE. The process of designing and
building “Rosie the Robot” taught WIE project members valuable skills such as soldering,
welding, electronic layout and design, and robot body construction.
5.1 MRG Entry
As the MRG competition approached, information obtained from MRG planning
committee indicated that the “Judges’ Choice” category would be eliminated.
Unfortunately, Rosie’s dimensions and mass disqualified her from entry in any other
category. The project group decided to try to enter her again next year in the 2006
Manitoba Robot Games.
5.2 Event Showcasing
Rosie was effectively displayed in her current form at the annual Manitoba Robot Games
held on March 19th and 20th, 2005 at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada. The multimedia display included, Rosie, a poster board showing the construction
progression, a Power Point presentation on Engineering specifically geared towards
school-aged children, and the IEEE WIE display from IEEE WIE headquarters (which
included items for distribution to kids and the general public like puzzles, pencils and
Figure 8: IEEE WIE Members at MRG
During the two-day event the display was situated near the main entrance and garnered
considerable interest in the robot, IEEE WIE activities, and engineering in general.
Contact was made with several educators from various schools in the city and our group
was asked to make specific presentations to these schools about engineering, science and
technology, robotics, and the steps required get involved in events like MRG.
In addition to this report, the progression of the robot will be showcased on IEEE WIE
Winnipeg website in a photo gallery with accompanying descriptions, diagrams, and
ways to get involved in the Rosie project. The gallery and website will be updated for
future events which Rosie attends, and the progression she goes through.
5.3 Teaching Valuable Skills
The educational backgrounds of the project team members were varied, some are
graduates of electrical and computer engineering, while others are graduates of technical
colleges, and some are still students of both graduate and undergraduate programs. We all
learned new and practical skills from each other such as:
• Wooden skeleton structures
• Steel acetylene cutting and tacking
• Steel arc welding
• Electronic soldering
• PCB layout and design
• Electronics design
• Body finishing, including working with Bondo products, sanding and painting
• Basic construction principles and working with power tools
• Report writing skills
• Project management
• Scheduling and costing
These skills can be transferred to our continuing studies and workplaces in many
different kinds of projects. Those of us who had never soldered electronics before, or had
done any kind of PCB construction are grateful for the instruction we received from
fellow project members. Our growth as engineers, technicians, IEEE members and
students will only increase with our continued progress on this robot-building project.
6.0 Rosie on Display
Upon learning of the MRG Judges Choice
category elimination, the group contacted
WIE Headquarters in Piscataway to order
promotional materials and the WIE display.
Since IEEE Winnipeg Section and WIE
Winnipeg are both sponsors of the Manitoba
Robot Games, WIE was able to secure display
space for the WIE booth and Rosie the Robot
at the Manitoba Museum for the days of the
Figure 9: MRG 2005 Event Poster
WIE has been working with the Manitoba
Robot Games Planning Committee to develop
a collaborative relationship in an effort to
promote robotics, and ultimately careers in
math & science to young women and men.
We have been doing this by organizing and
attending robotics workshops for young
people. Specifically, at the Manitoba Robot
Games Competition held March 19 & 20,
2005, WIE Winnipeg set up the WIE display
along with a supporting display to showcase
the Rosie the Robot project, and had WIE
Executive committee members on hand to
answer spectator questions. The exercise of
planning, designing building the robot allowed
the project team members a greater understanding and appreciation of robotics so that
they were able to answer spectator questions and explain the various design processes
that were employed as part of building the robot. The demonstration included handing out
brochures about WIE and Engineering, handing out zoom into engineering pencils,
balloons, and WIE 3-D puzzles to children who approached the display, showing a
PowerPoint presentation about careers in engineering, answering questions about IEEE &
WIE, as well as answering questions about and the design and construction of the Rosie
the Robot Project to anyone who
expressed an interest. Our aim
was to present engineering as a
fun and interesting career choice.
Figure 10: IEEE WIE Outreach
We attracted those in attendance
through our enthusiasm for
robotics, having the Jetsons’
theme song heard from our
display area, and simply the
interest generated from having
Rosie the Robot on display. Our
executive committee members
were able to demonstrate their
knowledge of computers,
electrical & control systems,
electronics, mechanical design &
construction, and how all these
systems work together in the area of robotics. Even though these topics can be
intimidating and complex, they were presented in a fun and interesting way. The event
was also an opportunity to network with like-minded groups.
Figure 11: Rosie the Robot & Posterboard Display at MRG
Over the Course of the two day Robot Competition WIE:
• Spoke to over 200 young Girls and Boys and encouraged them to build robots
• Talked to over 200 Spectators and answered questions about IEEE & WIE
• Promoted the long term WIE goals of gaining an interest and appreciation in
robotics and electronics, and IEEE membership, with other like minded groups
present-The Certified Professional Association of Technicians & Technologists
Association of Manitoba (CTTAM), The Association of Professional Engineers
and Geoscientists of Manitoba(APEGM), The Manitoba Robot Games(MRG)
Planning Committee, UMRobotica- The University of Manitoba Robotics Club,
& Science Council of Manitoba.
7.0 Project Income & Expenditures
7.1 Project Income
Funds Secured From Amount
IEEE Canadian Foundation $1500.00
IEEE Winnipeg Section $150.00
IEEE WIE Winnipeg Affinity Group $200.00
TOTAL PROJECT INCOME $1850.00
Total Value of Donated Parts $634.00
TOTAL PROJECT INCOME + DONATED PARTS $2484.00
The IEEE Winnipeg Section agreed to support the Rosie the Robot Project in the amount
of $150.00 The Winnipeg Section has also advanced the IEEE Canadian Foundation
funds in the amount of $1500.00 to allowing the WIE group to progress with
implementation of the project.
The IEEE WIE Affinity Group agreed to fundraise, through events, and support the Rosie
the Robot project by using $200 of their own funds toward the project.
WIE team members sought out additional sources of funding and were successful in
obtaining a value of $634.00 in donated parts.
Additional sources of donated funds are still pending. These include corporate
sponsorship from Canadian Tire and a reply from the Cartoon Network regarding use of
the Rosie the Robot name and a request for funding support. The group is always on the
lookout for possible sources of support for the robot project.
7.2 Project Expenditures
The total project expenditures to date are $1846.18.
8.0 Plan for Project Completion
The group plans to complete and showcase Rosie Robot at the 2006 Manitoba Robot
Games to be held at Tec Voc High school on March 18 & 19, 2006. This timeframe will
give the group sufficient time to complete the project, as well as add additional
9.0 Future plans for Rosie
• Hold design competition to design subsystems of Rosie.
• Event to focus on up and coming engineers.
• Sell advertising space on Rosie’s skirt.
• Showcasing at future IEEE WIE events
• Promotional tool for robotics
• Use as a fun and educational tool for school-age children
• Lean, mean, dancin’ machine
• Rosie, the personal security tool
• Future IEEE WIE Winnipeg mascot
• Lucky’s fire hydrant
Figure 12: Current IEEE WIE Mascot: Lucky the dog
For more information
Photos provided by Jennifer Jessop, WIE Affinity Group Chair, Winnipeg Section