The experience I gained at Caterpillar was extremely rewarding. Unfortunately, due to non-disclosure agreements I signed, I am unable to give specific details on some of the company projects I was involved with. In general, my work involved remanufacturing and automation.
While at Caterpillar I was introduced to Robot Operating System (ROS) by one of my mentors. After considering how CAT had been running the program off a large laptop, I proposed the idea of implementing a "master node" on a single board computer. By the end of the summer, I presented my findings and successfully ran ROS off a BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi.
Further, I was trained in operation and safety of several industrial robotics arms/welders including Yaskawa Motoman, Wolf Robotics and ABB.
Caterpillar is recognized as an industry leader in safety standards. While working there I completed safety training courses in: welding, robotics, lockout/tagout and electrical equipment safety.
Another (humorous) project I explored at CAT was the development of a prototype augmented PPE. The project initially was derived from the desire to explore how HUD and VR technology could be practically implemented in a shop floor environment. Inspired by the brain sensor technology included in several toys, my supervisor and I got the idea to augment the PPE further to demonstrate a proof of concept in a futuristic design. The practical idea we wanted to convey was that low-cost sensors could be incorporated into a hardhat to monitor the worker's level of alertness. Specifically, we argued the possibility to monitor neural signals for patterns showing the onset of sleep or drowsiness. If a pattern was detected, the PPE device would effectively act as an automatic "E-stop," switching off any associated machinery or vehicles. For our demonstration, we ran an RC dozer by activating a certain level of "concentration" that the sensor detected. To keep the demonstration light-hearted, we purposely chose to make the set look ridiculous (something we called the "Doc Brown" from Back to the Future style of design). It looks very silly but was a crowd favorite at our final internship presentation.
Please Note: This prototype was intentionally designed to look ridiculous. The E-stop On/Off switch, bolt sticking out the side and unnecessary wires were used for comic relief.