UM:SmartCarts is an MTC-funded project to develop a prototype transportation-as-a-service system, allowing students to summon an autonomous car via their phones. SmartCarts will leverage state-of-the-art sensing and reasoning technology to provide a safe and reliable means of transport around the UM campus. With this system in place, researchers will be able to study human factors in autonomous transportation systems.
Solar Pink Pong
We are currently collaborating on Solar Pink Pong, a hybrid of a street and video game. Players of this game can interact with an animated pink sunlight reflection on the street using their bodies and shadows. The device that makes this game possible works autonomously and completely off the grid. Solar Pink Pong aims at pushing the boundaries of video game culture and technology outside of the living room, changing the way humans interact with outdoor environments and see daylight through the lens of technology.
AprilTags in Space
(Photo Credit: NASA) NASA and Microsoft have collaborated to develop Sidekick, a system designed to aid astronauts working aboard the International Space Station. The key technology in Sidekick is Microsoft’s HoloLens, a virtual reality device that uses AprilTags for localization within the crew cabin. This marks the first time APRIL Lab technology has been used in outer space!
Second-Generation MAGIC Robot Platform
In the past year, we have been building the next generation of the robot platform we used to win the MAGIC 2010 competition. The latest iteration has a number of improvements over the previous model:
An upgraded drivetrain allows the robot to drive more quickly and quietly
All on-board electronics have been integrated into a single circuit board, de-cluttering the interior of the robot and making maintenance easier.
With new all-terrain tires, the robot can drive over small obstacles and operate in muddy areas.
We are developing several additions to the existing sensor suite, including an omnidirectional camera, a high-frequency, short-range obstacle detector and an LED display panel.
Muskatatuck Urban Training Center
We recently visited the Muskatatuck Urban Training Center to field-test the latest advances in our multi-robot exploration system. Our robots traversed underground tunnels, searched ramshackle villages, and mapped concrete labyrinths.
AprilTag 2.0 released
MAEBot mobile robot platform
MAEBot is a mobile robot with rich sensor capabilities designed to provide students and researchers with a robust, open, affordable platform on which to explore the concepts of robot control, localization, kinematics and machine vision.
We are in the process of releasing our design files and code in order to benefit the wider robotics community. If you are interested, drop us a line — we’d love to hear from you!