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Research Projects

Structural Vibration for Robotic Communication and Sensing on One-Dimensional Structures

Maxwell Hill, MS in Mechanical Engineering

Advisors:
Rob White, Mechanical Engineering
Barry Trimmer, Biology


Presented at the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2015), Hamburg, Germany, September 28 - October 3, 2015.

Structure-borne vibrations in a one dimensional structure were examined as a means of communication and sensing for networks of robots. The concept was inspired by the observation that insects use structural vibrations to communicate and to detect features of their environment. A 12 x 5 x 6 cm mobile robot capable of traversing an acoustically favorable structure was developed. A technique for measuring distance between robots and communicating commands to robots using vibrations generated on a common one dimensional substrate were demonstrated.


Fig: The autonomous robot pictured was developed to navigate a rail system (one-dimensional environment). The robot can communicate with an external computer and sense distance by sending structural vibrations along a "third rail". (a) Robot navigating the track (b) a close-up of the three-rail system (c) a cross-section of the rail system with labels.

Watch a video of the vibration sensing robot in action >

Relevant Publications:
Maxwell Hill, Prasong Mekdara, Barry Trimmer, Robert David White, "Structural Vibration for Robotic Communication and Sensing on One-Dimensional Structures" in the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2015), Hamburg, Germany, September 28 - October 3, 2015. PDF of the paper.

Hill, L., Mekdara, P., Trimmer, B., and White, R. D. "Structural Vibration for Robotic Communication and Sensing on One-Dimensional Structures" in the 7th International Symposium on Adaptive Motion of Animals and Machines (AMAM 2015), Cambridge, MA, June21-25, 2015. PDF of the paper.