The GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary lab dedicated to research and education in robotic and intelligent systems consisting of approximately one hundred faculty, staff, and graduate students. The faculty and students belong to several different SEAS departments, including Computer and Information Science, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and Electrical and Systems Engineering. In support of this proposal, the Lab provides both space for experiments and significant computing power for modeling and testing as well as electrical and mechanical manufacturing and prototyping machinery. In addition, the Lab’s diverse researchers provide expertise to fuse theory, simulation, and practice into working systems.
The GRASP Lab is located in the heart of the SEAS campus, which lies at the prominent northeast corner of Penn’s campus. It spans approximately 7000 square feet of adjacent space in Levine Hall and another 1500 square feet in the adjacent Towne Building. Its large, central lab area surrounded by cubicle space fosters vibrant interaction among its faculty, post-doctoral and visiting researchers, graduate students, and administrative and technical staff. Its expansive computing facilities comprise approximately 25 workstations for general computing as well as 25 workstations dedicated to specific projects.
Integral to the GRASP lab are facilities for electronics prototyping, fine metalworking equipment for creating and testing small electromechanical systems. Electronics PCB fabrication and robotics are routinely developed both farmed out and assembled in-house including SMT packages from SOIC to BGA. This lab located across from the manufacturing facilities including 3 CNC machines, 5 milling machines, 4 lathes, 3 laser cutters, TIG welding as well as a variety of other machining and construction machinery. We have also developed a shape deposition modeling capability combining rapid formation of polyurethane resins including embedded actuators, sensors and computation.
The GRASP Lab includes the Multi-Robot Systems Laboratory (MRSL), one of three main facilities for this project. This lab includes a 25 ft x 55 ft x 20 ft high bay area used for experimentation with unmanned aerial vehicles, ground wheeled robots and humanoids. This space is instrumented with 20 high resolution cameras that allow motion capture at over 250 Hz with mm accuracy. Additionally, MRSL is equipped with several desktop computers and servers to facilitate in experimentation and post-process results.
A team of 15 Hummingbirds (left), 5 Pelicans (center) and 3 DJI platforms (right) is used for aerial robotics. Each robot is equipped with onboard sensing and computing, permitting fully autonomous operation both in the laboratory, the surrounding hallways, and outdoors.
In addition, 15 Scarab ground robots (above) are able to autonomously operate both inside the laboratory and in the surrounding hallways in the School of Engineering at Penn. The system, including the robots and the MRSL computer infrastracture, are fully integrated via software and networking, permitting large scale air-ground experiments.
For projects in microrobotics and biological microsystems, facilities at Penn include the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which houses a 10,000 square-foot next-generation cleanroom facility for micro/nanofabrication, including tooling for nanoscale and soft materials integration and a novel nano/bio bay. In addition, a 120 sq. ft. wet lab dedicated to microrobotics within The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute includes facilities for biological processing, culturing, and microscopy. This laboratory will be used for the development of the RA and for collaborations with SRI, MIT and BU.