Clark School Home UMD

ISR News Story

Martins, Abshire, Smela, Bergbreiter win $1.5 million NSF grant

Some possibilities for configuring an ant-like microrobot.
Some possibilities for configuring an ant-like microrobot.

A team of Clark School faculty from the Institute for Systems Research, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Mechanical Engineering Department has won a three-year, $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant for Ant-Like Microrobots—Fast, Small, and Under Control. Assistant Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) is the principal investigator. Co-PIs are Associate Professor Pamela Abshire (ECE/ISR), Associate Professor Elisabeth Smela (ME), and Assistant Professor Sarah Bergbreiter (ME/ISR).

No robots at the sub-cm3 scale exist because their development faces a number of open challenges. This research will identify and determine means for solving these challenges. In addition, it will provide new solutions to outstanding questions about resource-constrained algorithms, architectures, and actuators that can be widely leveraged in other applications.

The team will discover new fundamental principles, design methods, and technologies for realizing distributed networks of sub-cm3, ant-sized mobile microrobots that self-organize into cooperative configurations. The scope of the project involves work in:

—Distributed algorithms for distributed coordination and formation control under severe power, communication, and mobility constraints,

—Minimal electronics hardware for robot control using event-based communication and computation, ultra-low-power radio, and adaptive analog-digital integrated circuits,

—Methods of locomotion and efficient actuators using rapid-prototyping and MEMS technologies that can operate robustly under real-world conditions,

—Integrating the algorithms, electronics, and actuators into a fleet of ant-size microrobots.

These microrobots could be used for applications as diverse as search and rescue during disaster relief efforts, manufacturing, warehouse management, ecological monitoring, intelligence and suveillance, infrastructure and equipment monitoring, metrology, and medical applications such as cell manipulation and microfactories.

Related Articles:
Bergbreiter and students win NTF Award at IROS 2011
IEEE Spectrum features story on jumping robots
New REU site to offer research opportunities in miniature robotics
Sarah Bergbreiter wins NSF CAREER Award
S.K. Gupta awarded NSF grant for autonomous optical manipulation of cells
Nikhil Chopra receives NSF grant for wireless sensor and robotic networks

September 25, 2009


Prev   Next

 

 

Current Headlines

President Obama names Michael Rotkowitz a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

University of Maryland to Establish Research Center of Excellence with UTC Climate, Controls & Security and Otis

Congratulations ISR graduates!

MSSE student Jessica Knizhnik wins INCOSE/Kossiakoff Scholarship

UMD Researchers Find Ultra-thin Solution to Primary Obstacle in Solid-State Battery Development

Alumna Naomi Leonard wins Hendrik W. Bode Lecture Prize

S.K. Gupta leads finalist group in KUKA Innovation competition

Two UMD Teams NASA BIG Idea Challenge Finalists

UMD Receives $1M in Federal Funding to Help Increase Number of Minority Students Graduating with STEM Degrees

UMD Engineering for Social Change Class Awards Non-Profit V-LINC $10,000 Grant to Support Custom Assistive Technology Program

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar