Wednesday, August 12, 2009

UC San Diego Robots Take Center Stage at National Robotics Conference

Robots created by UC San Diego engineers made their way to Austin, Texas recently. They took center stage during NI Week, the annual robotics extravaganza hosted by National Instruments.

During the keynote address, Tom Bewley, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering, and his Ph.D. students Christopher Schmidt-Wetekam and Nick Morozovsky of the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab, gave live demonstrations of their third generation multimodal hopping rover, iHop, and their miniature treaded rover, Switchblade, which can both pop wheelies and climb relatively large stairs. Both designs feature advanced feedback control algorithms to stabilize various maneuvers, trading off static stability for enhanced agility.

The team also introduced iceCube, a self-propelled, self-guided sphere, which is actuated via internal control moment gyros and was designed and built by Ph.D. student Andrew Cavender.

View a video of the demos and keynote address here or at

The video is about 12 minutes long. If you have just a few moments, check out the "Switchblade" rover at the 10:00 minute marker in the video. You'll get to see Switchblade pop a wheelie AND climb translucent stairs.

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