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Nuno Martins receives NSF grant for animal-borne wireless networks

Associate Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) is the principal investigator of a new National Science Foundation Cyber-Physical Systems grant, "Remote Imaging of Community Ecology via Animal-borne Wireless Networks.” The research will develop autonomous systems that monitor and protect endangered animal species.

The four-year, $1.8M grant is a collaborative proposal with the National Geographic Society and ECE/ISR alumna Naomi Leonard at Princeton University. Leonard’s Ph.D. advisor at Maryland was Professor P.S. Krishnaprasad (ECE/ISR).

The grant establishes the first formal cooperation between the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the National Geographic Society. National Geographic will receive $1M to construct the needed equipment and support its team. Both Martins’ and Leonard’s research groups will receive $400K.

The researchers will construct a wireless network of animal-borne embedded devices deployed and tested in a biologically-relevant application. The networked devices will provide geo-location data and execute cooperative strategies that save battery life by selectively recording bandwidth-intensive audio and high-definition video footage of occurrences of animal group behavior of interest, such as predation.

There are three concurrent and interdependent research themes:

• Investigating methods to design and analyze the performance of distributed algorithms that implement autonomous decisions at the mobile agents, subject to communication and computational constraints.

• Pursuing data-driven fundamental research on the modeling of animal group motion, promoting a formal understanding of the mechanisms of social interaction.

• Investigating methods for hardware integration to build distributed networks of embedded devices capable of executing the newly developed algorithms, subject to power and weight constraints.

Related Articles:
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REU in Miniature Robotics holds final project symposium
Martins, Gupta, Aloimonos speak at 'Fostering Excellence in Robotics'
Martins speaking as part of MIT's LIDS seminar series
Martins interviewed in story about robotics use in Maryland
Martins speaks at LCCC workshop on information and control in networks
Faculty Members Take On New Responsibilities
Miniature Robotics REU students give final presentations
Ephremides is invited speaker at Workshop on Network Science

September 8, 2011


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