A Modern Approach to Radar

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As CSAIL Olympians raced through the Stata Center one evening last month playing an intense game of laser tag, Course VI undergrad Gustavo Goretkin sat quietly in the hallway outside of 32-123 forming a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image with a radar constructed from two Maxwell House coffee cans. Goretkin, who is participating in UROP at CSAIL with the Learning and Intelligent Systems Group, was conducting research along with fellow CSAIL member Adam Belay for an IAP course focused on building and learning how to use a small radar.

Students in the course constructed a homemade radar using an assembly kit, then brought the system outside of the classroom to perform experiments measuring Doppler, range and SAR imaging.

Goretkin explains that he was interested in the course as it provided the opportunity to partake in a hands-on project, as well as a chance to learn about a field outside his major that he may be able to utilize in future research projects.

Through his work with the Learning and Intelligent Systems Group, Goretkin will be working on motion planning in robotics - figuring out how robots can move from one configuration to another, whether it be through physical space or internal actions like limb movement. Goretkin believes his work with radar may be useful in his research at CSAIL, as it will allow him to employ different methods of sensing to help robots move and operate.

“In an industrial environment with bigger obstacles radar could be used to help recognize obstacles,” explained Goretkin. “It’s for big picture things.”

Additionally, Goretkin is taking a course on biomedical instruction this semester, and is hopeful that he will be able to apply his work with radar further in this field of study.

For more on Goretkin’s work with radar, check out his blog.

Abby Abazorius, CSAIL