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NSF Funds UMass Robot, Sensor Studies
Feb 2006
AMHERST, Mass., Feb. 17, 2006 -- Robot navigation and data gathered from smart sensors are the focus of two National Science Foundation Early Career Development program grants awarded to University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst computer scientists. Oliver Brock and Deepak Ganesan will each receive $480,000 over five years for their projects.
In earthquake-prone areas, sensors embedded in buildings to monitor vibration levels could predict if the building was becoming unsafe and inform people inside, but only if that information is stored properly, modeled accurately and is easily accessible, said Ganesan. His proposal tackles prediction techniques and storage systems for data from such sensors.
Not only do the "smart" devices -- which include camera and weather sensors that record everything from humidity to human activity -- need to be very small, have a huge amount of storage and be fairly long-lived, but the data they gather must be available easily. Ganesan’s research includes the design, prototyping and evaluation of storage systems for these sensory devices. Ganesan is an assistant professor and leads the Sensor Networks Research Group at UMass Amherst.
Brock’s project explores the challenges involved in making robots independently mobile in various environments. Efforts in both industry and academia have led to quite advanced humanoid robots and mobile manipulators, said Brock, but there are still many factors that constrain these machines from fully operating in the everyday world.
Brock will investigate generating robotic motion under various constraints and will develop sensing techniques that provide feedback to robots about their surroundings. Ultimately, such robots should be able to safely and reliably perform human-level tasks by themselves in ordinary life. Brock co-directs the university's Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics and the Bioinformatics Research Laboratory.
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Early Career Development programNational Science FoundationNews & Featuresrobot navigationSensors & Detectorssmart sensorsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst

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