Thursday, May 28, 2009

Australian Robot Software Wins Award

ANU Buzz Linux RobotA team of students Australian National University have won the AIIA 2009 iAward in the Tertiary Student Category for their Linux Robotics Framework. This can be used to develop low cost robots for everything from vacuum cleaners to bomb disposal.

The team's demonstration robot is called Buzz , controlled by a NGW100 network gateway low-powered development board with a Atmel AVR32 processor. This could allow for the development of disposable military robots. Currently each military robot used by the US DoD and the Australian Department of Defence costs more than $100,000.

The Linux Robotics Framework ... can be used to develop robotic systems of varying levels of professionalism. It streamlines the development process for hobbyists and commercial developers alike. The LRF allows for the development of robotics applications on small low-cost system architectures with specific focus on support for the Atmel AVR32 microprocessor. It does this by providing a collection of component modules comprising a reusable and extensible robotics framework. The framework includes interface definitions and the implementation of specific drivers and libraries. The framework is extensible, providing a mechanism for adding new hardware and software drivers.

From: Linux Robotics Framework, ANU Linux Robotics Framework Team, 2009
As noted in Bomb Squad Diary (Glenn Zorpette, IEEE Spectrum, October 2008), the threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) is changing rapidly and equipment needs to be constantly modified to adapt to the changes in the tatitics and techniques of the bomb makers. Being able to rapidly modify the software and the hardware of the robots would be an advantage.

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