Maryland Robotics Center demonstrates robots at Maryland Day 2016

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Top to bottom: Robo Raven, RoboTerp, RoboGater, RoboCrab, miniature robotics, a soft underactuated robotic hand called the SUR Hand, a dancing Nao, unmanned vehicles, robotic light-blinking fireflies, the Koko planetary rover, the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility and the Advanced Robotics Development Lab.

Maryland Day is an annual University of Maryland event held on campus the last Saturday of April. At the 18th annual Maryland Day, the university opened its doors to visitors with a robust program of more than 430 family-friendly educational outdoor and indoor activities.

Maryland Robotics Center students and faculty showcased their robots in multiple locations. The station in the Kim Building rotunda featured Robo Raven, RoboTerp, RoboGater, RoboCrab, miniature robotics, a soft underactuated robotic hand called the SUR Hand, and a dancing Nao.  Students giving the demonstration are advised by Sarah Bergbreiter,  S.K. Gupta, Hugh Bruck, and Nikhil Chopra.

The Maryland Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Team, advised by Prof. Gilmer Blankenship, demonstrated  their unmanned vehicles on the Kim Bldg plaza.

The Collective Dynamics and Control lab and First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) Autonomous Unmanned Systems team, advised by Prof. Derek Paley and Dr. Derrick Yeo,  enabled visitors to interact with an array of robotic light-blinking fireflies in front of the Manufacturing Building.

Prof. Dave Akin’s students showcased their planetary rover nicknamed Koko near the Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility. Koko is this year’s rover which will compete in Robo-Ops, an engineering competition sponsored by NASA and held at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, TX. This planetary rover can perform a series of tasks while being remotely controlled from this facility. Last year’s rover, Frigg, won the competition and set a new course record.

The Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility with its 50 feet wide and 25 feet deep water tank (large enough to accommodate equipment, robots, and people) attracted numerous visitors as did the Advanced Robotics Development Lab where children, with help from Dr. Craig Carignan, had an opportunity to test their skills with the large robotic arm by moving Buzz Lightyear to and from the select hiding place. Both facilities are research sites associated with the Space Systems Laboratory. The Neutral Buoyance Research Facility is one of only three neutral buoyancy tanks in the United States in operation, the only one dedicated to research, and the only one located on a university campus.

Published April 28, 2016