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CSAIL Spotlight: Robot Swims in International Fundraiser
On December 3rd, 2005 over a quarter of a million people and one robot swam as part of the World Swim for Malaria. Money raised by the project will be used to buy mosquito nets to protect children from malaria.
Robot AMOUR, project of the Rus Robotics Laboratory, swam at 4pm EST. Daniela Rus reports that "AMOUR swam 10 graceful laps, navigating from one end of the pool to the other entirely on its own."
AMOUR swam forward and used a pair of front IR sensors to detect the edge of the pool. At the end of a lap AMOUR turned to face forward for the next lap. Once in a while AMOUR would stop, turn right and turn left to make sure it was not too close to the side of the pool.
Preparing for the swim led to several research insights. "The project inspired us to develop two additional skills to our underwater robot's control. We developed an underwater acoustic network with the goal of using the acousting system to localize and track the robot. The acoustic network enhanced the navigation system of the robot by removing the dependence on poor dead reckoning. We also developed new algorithms for turning in between laps," said Rus.
The AMOUR project raised $1359, this means 272 nets for the children in the affected regions. World Swim for Malaria's goal is to have one million people take part in the swim.