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KnuthLab LEGO Exploration Rover Featured on Japan’s NHK World Network

KnuthLab Exploration Rover Featured on NHK WorldNet

KnuthLab Exploration Rover Featured on NHK WorldNet

The Knuth Cyberphysics Laboratory focuses on studying the fundamental physics governing the processes of information-driven systems.

At present we are focused on two research projects. The first, which is funded by a NASA SBIR grant, aims to develop Bayesian vision-based navigation systems for future NASA missions. The second, which has been funded by NASA in the past, is focused on developing intelligent instrumentation in the forms of science platforms that can autonomously decide on and perform their own experiments. Both projects, which are focused mainly machine learning software, rely on robotic platforms that we construct out of LEGOs. LEGO bricks are prefabricated plastic parts that can be assembled and disassembled in a matter of hours. We have found them to be quite versatile and capable, as well as being inexpensive.

On Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012, the Knuth Cyberphysics Lab at the University at Albany was visited by a television crew from NHK
World Network (Japan Broadcasting Corp.). They were working on a piece focused on the Mars Curiosity rover and were interested how NASA missions fostered creativity in robotics. In our lab, they were specifically interested in the fact that we used LEGO robots to test software for funded NASA projects. The program aired in Japan on Sept 15, 2012.

Here is a link to the show’s website.

Here is the photo caption from the website:

The Bing translation is:
Incorporating a unique way for free thinkers NASA challenge space development. How is block have become toys. Share the anticipated blueprint image team studies the next-generation spacecraft, while using the block and identify the problem. Easily can be recreated many times, easy and free thinking-is an advantage of the block. Using the block curiosity Inc. developed and went on. Research and development professionals “using blocks, a good idea? so readily detect if it isn’t policy change even faster” and speak.

The Knuth Cyberphysics Lab website can be found at:

Learn more by checking out this related post”

KnuthLab LEGO Exploration Rover

Image of KnuthLab Exploration Rover

KnuthLab Exploration Rover with Researchers A. Fischer and N. Malakar

The Knuth Cyberphysics Laboratory in the University at Albany Physics Department has developed the KnuthLab LEGO Exploration Rover, which acts as a testbed for robotic intelligence and navigation software. Development of this rover was funded by a NASA SBIR Award (Advanced Bayesian Methods for Lunar Surface Navigation) through Autonomous Exploration Inc. as well as a University at Albany Faculty Research Award (Developing Robotic Explorers, PI: K.H. Knuth).

The LEGO Exploration Rover is powered by six NXT Standard Motors in a Rocker-Bogie suspension system used in all of the NASA Mars rover designs. The rover is approximately 1.5 ft high with a 1 ft x 1.5 ft base. It is larger than the NASA Sojourner Rover, which was part of the Pathfinder Mission to Mars in 1997, and smaller than the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. It can safely carry a payload of 8 pounds.

Image of KnuthLab LEGO Exploration Rover

KnuthLab LEGO Exploration Rover

The LEGO Exploration Rover has two laptop bays built into the box-like frame in which it can carry two Asus Eee Laptops for onboard processing. The wheels are controlled by two LEGO NXT bricks, which can communicate with the laptops via Bluetooth. The rocker-bogie suspension and low speed allows it to handle relatively rugged terrain and steep grades.

The white frame mounted on top of the rover is the Bayesian Vision-Based Navigation System being developed by Autonomous Exploration Inc. for NASA.

Check back, as we will be posting videos of its operation and discussing some of the important design features.

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