The Laboratory for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics (LAIR) is one of several facilities at Harvey Mudd College for students interested in robotics. Professor Clark, engineering, works with his students throughout the year on several projects, and the LAIR just had an open house to show off some of the progress being made with summer research.
Working with a biologist in Long Beach, CA, a team of Harvey Mudd engineers is working with autonomous robots to track sharks. Sharks are tagged with acoustic tags and the robot follows the sharks using hydrophones, allowing biologists to study small and large level movements and patterns made by sharks.
Hey! That’s Professor Clark (below, left) in the red, checkered shirt. He’s talking about some Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) used by students to help archeologists map out ancient cisterns near Malta, a country off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.
Here is a look at some of the modeling and mapping being done with the data gathered from these robots. And below on the right is a whiteboard covered in complicated sketches and notes about robotics. Hooray.
The LAIR is also engaged in a terrestrial project, using these tank-like robots, called Jaguars, to make 3D mappings of lava tubes, such as those in the Mojave Desert. The project is partnered with the HMC Physics Department, and the physicists have a special laser to be mounted on the robot that can detect biosignatures and scan the lava tubes for signs of life. The project is a proof of concept for autonomous exploration of Mars.
Robots. Everywhere. Changing the world.
Not impressed yet?