Hands-on Activities @ EE Spotlight 2018

Want to participate in some fun hands-on activities at Electrical Engineering Spotlight 2018?
Read below to learn about the exciting activities we have planned for you!

ANRG - Swarm Robots

A team of Ph.D., masters, and undergraduate researchers at the Autonomous Networks Research Group (ANRG) have been working over the last 2 years to design and build a multi-robot testbed, referred to as the Intelligent Robotic IoT System (IRIS) Testbed. The motivation behind the IRIS effort is to create a testbed to experiment with algorithm designs that can empower autonomous exploration of buildings or exploration on the landscapes of Mars where GPS is not available. To coordinate as a team, the robots in the IRIS testbed are equipped with radios to communicate with one another as well as various sensors. The robots find the position between one another using a technique called Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA). In TDoA, a single robot node calculates the difference in time between the reception of an ultrasound signal (traveling at the speed of sound) and a radio frequency signal (traveling at the speed of light) which are both transmitted simultaneously by another node. By calculating the time difference, a robot can determine its distance from the node transmitting the pings within +/- 5cm as well as the orientation of the robot. Using distances from several nodes at known locations, the robot can infer its own position through a process of triangulation.

Conceptualized by: Professor Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Jason A. Tran and Pradipta Ghosh


The game requires each participating team to transport sensor data using mobile phones between a set of sensor boxes that are part of an IoT (Internet of Things) experimental testbed at USC.

Each team needs three members, and the team members are positioned next to the sensor boxes. The game organizers define the starting point and the data delivery route for each team at the start of the game. When the game starts, the first team member of each team collects the sensor data from their first sensor box, labeled A, using the mobile application, and delivers it to the next sensor box, labeled B, in their assigned route. The second team member uses his mobile application to collect the sensor data from the sensor box labeled B, to the sensor box labeled as C. And, the last member carries data from box C to box A to complete the game.

The team that delivers the most valuable data in the shortest time gets the most points and is announced the winner.

Conceptualized by: Professor Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Gowri Ramachandran, Martin Espinoza, Erika Larsen

Homopolar Motor


Presented by MAKERS at USC

Description: Students will learn about electricity and magnetism with Makers at USC as they build their own motor, complete a circuit, and actually become a part of one!

Basic Concepts: Circuitry, Magnetism, Lorentz Force

Learn about conductance and magnetism with Makers! We're going to show you how to build a motor powered only by a battery and a magnet. We'll also have a interactive demo using the Makey Makey where you actually become part of the circuit. Come check us out!

Energy Balls


Presented by Theta Tau

Description: Using the electricity-conducting balls, students will learn the basic principle of conductivity and resistance in circuits. 

Basic Concepts: Circuitry, Conductivity, Resistance

Morse Code Circuit


Presented by Theta Tau and RobgalS

Description: Students individually build a Morse Code transmitting circuit with copper tape, coin battery, LED, and clothes pin, which they can use to send signals to each other and which they can take home with them.

Basic Concepts: Circuitry, Troubleshooting, Signaling