Meet Lalo
Our submission to the 2017 ENPH 253 Autonomous Robot Competition.
Lalo is named after Lalo Schifrin, the composer of the infamous Theme from Mission: Impossible.

The Challenge

In six weeks, our team of four was to build a robot that could autonomously:

- navigate a narrow course, indicated by black electrical tape
- differentiate infrared signal frequencies to determine when to pass through a gate
- rescue toys from platforms above a pool of water
- transport them to safety by using a zipline

A more detailed overview of the competition can be found here.



Distinguishing Features of Lalo's Physical Design

Our mechanical systems were modelled using OnShape and were fabricated with a laser cutter, waterjet cutter, and 3D printer.


Lalo's Main Body

The chassis was constructed with laser-cut hard-board and assembled without the need for glue, making modification and internal access simple.


Method of Toy Retrieval

The claw arm was designed to reach over the toys and grab them from the middle of the basin. The single angle design was made to simplify programming and increase stability.


Mechanism for Zipline Placement

Using a pulley and a drawer slide, this mechanism was able to lift the collection box to the required height. Collision detection switches indicate when the zipline has been reached.

Drive Train

Mode of Travel

The gear system was used to achieve a balance between torque and drive velocity.


Lalo's Electrical Systems

Alarm Detection

IR Peak Detection / Comparator Circuit

The IR signal was amplified, filtered, and put into a comparator in order for us to differentiate between the two frequencies.

Motor Control

H-Bridge Circuits

Each high-torque motor was controlled using an external H-bridge circuit, allowing us to drive them at a higher current.

Power Supply

Voltage Distribution

The power was regulated to different voltages in order to be used by the other circuits.

Instrument Panel

Easy Access Controls

The TINAH's controls were connected to easily accessible buttons mounted on the top panel of the robot.


Our code was written in the Arduino IDE using C and compiled onto a TINAH board, a powerful microcontroller developed by UBC. We used a main file that called functions from various header files.

PID Control

In order to accurately follow the black tape, PID control was implemented.

Toy Retrieval

A retrieval protocol was written for each toy. Lalo was even able to pick up two toys in one stop.

Zipline Interfacing

Lalo needed the ability to raise the zipline mechanism to its maximum height and place the toys on the zipline.

Team Members

Lalo was built by a team of four second-year Engineering Physics students at the University of British Columbia.

Owen Bulka


Tiffany Quon


Sydney Seraphim


Dante St. Prix