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Spring 2012 GRASP Seminar: James McLurkin, Rice University, “Distributed Algorithms for Robot Recovery, Angular Coordinate Systems, and Low-Cost Robots: An Overview of the Rice Multi-Robot Systems Lab”

March 30, 2012 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Abstract: In this talk we present results from three different projects: 1. A
distributed recovery algorithm to extract a multi-robot system from
complex environments.  The goal is to maintain network connectivity
while allowing efficient recovery.  Our approach uses a maximal-leaf
spanning tree as a communication and navigation backbone, and routes
robots along this tree to the goal.  Simulation and experimental results
demonstrate the efficacy of this approach.  2. Angular coordinate
systems can provide robots with useful network geometry from very
low-cost hardware. We introduce “scale-free coordinates” as a coordinate
system of intermediate power and design complexity.  We show that it can
estimate low-quality network geometry, but can still be used to build a
useful motion controller with interesting limitations.  3. We introduce
the “r-one” robot, a low-cost design suitable for research, education,
and outreach.  We provides tales of joy and disaster from using 90 of
these platforms for our research, a freshman engineering systems course,
and graduate robotics lab.


- Learn More

James McLurkin is an Assistant Professor at Rice University in the
Department of Computer Science. Current interests include using
distributed computational geometry for multi-robot configuration
estimation and control, and defining complexity metrics that quantify
the relationships between algorithm execution time, inter-robot
communication bandwidth, and robot speed. Previous positions include
lead research scientist at iRobot corporation, where McLurkin was the
manager of the DARPA-funded Swarm project. Results included the design
and construction of 112 robots and distributed configuration control
algorithms, including robust software to search indoor environments. He
holds a S.B. in Electrical Engineering with a Minor in Mechanical
Engineering from M.I.T., a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from
University of California, Berkeley, and a S.M. and Ph.D. in Computer
Science from M.I.T.


March 30, 2012
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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