Bruce Randall Donald
Associate Professor

Progress in Robotics Research

My interests include robotics, microelectromechanical systems, geometric algorithms, and artificial intelligence. Robotics is the science that seeks to forge an intelligent, computational connection between perception and action. Working with graduate student Jim Jennings, research associate Daniela Rus, graduate student Russell Brown, and lab alumnus Jonathan Rees (now at MIT), we developed a team of autonomous mobile robots that can perform sophisticated distributed manipulation tasks (such as moving furniture). The robots run robust SPMD protocols that are completely asynchronous and require no communication. With grad student Karl Böhringer and EE Professor Noel MacDonald, we are building a massively parallel array of microactuators in the Cornell National Nanofabrication Laboratory. The array is a SCREAM chip containing over 11,000 actuators in 1 square centemeter, and can orient small parts without sensory feedback. Our microfabricated actuator arrays could be used to construct programmable parts-feeders (at any scale), or to build self-propelled IC's (walking VLSI chips.) Graduate student Amy Briggs worked with Dan Huttenlocher's vision group to develop a sensor planning and surveillance system for a team of mobile robots. The robots use on-board vision to detect and intercept targets in the lab.