IPFW Students Upgrade Wireless Robot for Use in National Disasters and Homeland Security

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Press release from IPFW:

IPFW Students Upgrade Wireless Robot for Use in National Disasters and Homeland Security

(December 6, 2010) – Eric Harmison and Robert Carper were Indiana University-Purdue University (IPFW) students in Elizabeth Thompson’s, engineering senior design class in 2004 when they developed the Wireless Controlled Robot. The project was sponsored and supported by ITT Communications Systems (ITT). It used wireless networking cards to collect information through sensors which sent data back to a main terminal. The project successfully demonstrated that the robot could be controlled remotely through a wireless video link and navigate around obstacles. Today Harmison is employed as a design engineer with ITT Electronic Systems.

ITT is interested in updating and performing some advanced testing on the unit. They are sponsoring the Wireless Teleoperated Robot, senior design project of current engineering students, Ryan Kingsley, Justin Hagan, Jeremy Smoot, and Jeremiah Willems.

The 2004 wireless controlled robot was a prototype system that allowed real time operation of a teleoperated robot over a wireless link using off-the-shelf commercially available wireless network cards. The new project will be an expansion of the original robot that will feature an upgraded computer, improved video capabilities, GPS functionality to introduce more autonomy, and possibly increased terrain capability.

There is an increasing demand to put mechanized rovers into places deemed too hazardous for humans. Applications for such devices abound. The military is interested in ground-based equivalents to the air drones currently used to fly into and relay information from hostile territory. Other possible applications include inspection of unsafe buildings or inspection and exploration of hard-to-reach places or toxic environments.

The development of integrated sensors, sensor networks, and wireless technology for addressing security, safety, sustainability, and healthcare issues has been the signature strength of the College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science and its industrial partners.

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