Computer Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota
This talk will focus on applications of distributed robotics along with the design of a novel distributed robotic system that can efficiently serve several of these applications. Our distributed robotic system is made up of a large collection of medium size, small, and miniature robots all connected by a wireless communication network and cooperating to accomplish their given mission. The design of the individual robots, in particular the miniature robots, the development of innovative MEMS sensors for the miniature robots, and the development of appropriate control software for the individual robots and the overall distributed system are the major innovative claims of this research. The emphasis of this research effort is the creation of inexpensive reconfigurable robotic systems consisting of physical units that are physically distinct but connected by information. These units have flexible interfaces allowing real or virtual formations of various complexity. They can work independently but can also cooperate for the completion of a common goal. The ultimate hope is that the individual units can accomplish a class of tasks more robustly and cost-effectively than a single robot. The challenge of the project is to rethink certain classical robotic issues in order to make full use of the capabilities of the individual units.