Upgrading the robotics laboratory

Update: added some nice pictures from the lab and the robots There is a small paradox at our department: we are teaching robotics to students, but we used to not have any robots around for them to play with. We actually did have one, that is very very dangerous to use close to people, so I slowly slowly phased it out of use. But I had to find an alternative: a small, versatile, cheap, robot arm, that we could buy multiples of it and have one for each table of the laboratory.

Wooden Robot Model

For quite some time now, I wanted to create a robot model to use it in the classroom. I started imagining it as a 3D printed model, then thought of making it out of styrofoam, converted the idea to carton, but was always stopped by the lack of materials around. Also, the fact that we’ve been teaching online for the past year and a half was not helping. Last week, I thought of wood.

Thesis Manifesto

What is a thesis? A thesis is a project that you are expected to start, develop and conclude in order to graduate the university. The topic belongs to you and can be one of your passions or an idea you want to try. You might also have no idea what you want do. That would not make you neither the first, nor the last. Try though to make at least a list of likes and dislikes in terms of subjects.

Teaching Robotic Systems Control

One of the things that always excited me, even as a young student, was to be able to explain things that we learned at school/university at my colleagues. And one of the reasons for choosing an academic career was because of this internal drive to explain to others. You can imagine then that teaching for me is not a secondary obligation as an academic, but it is part of the fun part of it!

Kahooting in the Classroom

For the past two years, one of my principal professional activities has been teaching. Yes, as part of academia, a big part of our time is invested in preparing the next generations of engineers! (It sounds much more motivating if put this way, instead of just ‘teaching’ :) ). It is not an easy job: The hours can be long, you need a lot of preparation and some time for debriefingand, if you are like me, you assosciate others' failure (i.

Graduation 2018

During one of the last laboratories of the semester, I had a pleasant surprise coming from my students: they had elected me as their favourite professor from their four year of studies. It was a very weird moment for me, as during that lab I was quite angry at them, since we had to stay over hours to finish their projects. But it was definitely something that helped me feel better afterwards :)

An interactive MATLAB tutorial

This semester I am going to teach optimisation methods at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. As there are pretty calculation intensive methods that we use for optimisation, we obviously need use a mathematical package. For better or for worse, Universities these days are pretty much tided to proprietary software solutions and more specifically to the infamous MATLAB. So our first task for the semester is to make sure students know how to work with MATLAB.