My friend Erica Kane, from HacDC, recently went to an open house at the University of Maryland’s robotics department. This is a cool thing to do, if you live near a school that has such a department (or some other tech discipline you’re interested in). Call them up and see if/when they’re doing an open house. Erica wrote up a little report of her day on her family website.
The robot shown here is Tortuga 3, which has won a number of important competitions. It was not running today, however, because the on-board computer was showing a disturbing tendency to shut down unexpectedly. The thrusters still continue to function in that case, which can lead to an irreversible dive. (Sounds like a design flaw to me.) This allowed us to take a closer look at the fascinating machine. Building a land robot is pretty hard; making one that is waterproof too is very impressive.
Check out our massive Robotics Archive here on MAKE