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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.

Robotics Open House at the University of Maryland

More:
Check out our massive Robotics Archive here on MAKE

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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