Our lab and the robotic platforms are for development and testing of the Green Brain (GB). The GB robots and lab are being used for embodiment of animal behavior and on the development of biomimetic algorithms for navigation and control of UAVs. Watch the video below to learn more!
Since the start of the project, the GB team has setup the lab, built and tested our robots, and begun to demonstrate some sophisticated visual-based navigation and cognitive functions through embodiment. Current projects include navigation using the GB models, flight tests of our models with the BeeBot quadcopter, developing a Ground Control Station, initial testing with the chemosensors, and more!
As platforms for the embodiment of the GB, the robot team is now comprised of 3 quadcopters and 1 ground robot each with unique abilities and configurations. All of the robots are being used for testing and further development of the models. All of these platforms have a huge support community involved in the development of open-source software.
At this stage, we have three different quadcopters: a Parrot AR Drone, a Parrot BeBop Drone, and the BeeBot, a custom-built quadcopter. The BeeBot, our primary robot used for GB development, is made from an Aeroquad frame, an ArduPilot autopilot, and custom sensors. This reasonably small frame makes it more conducive to flying indoors but also will allow it to support the necessary sensor payload required by the project. The unique configuration of sensors includes dual wide-angle lens cameras and chemosensors to mimic honeybee vision and olfaction. The Parrot drones are pre-configured ready-to-fly quadcopters and are used for initial testing and demonstration of algorithms and our GB model. It has also been used by our Undergraduates for their senior research projects.
Our ground robot, BoeBot, is a simple two-wheeled robot controlled using an Arduino microcontroller. The BoeBot carries chemosensors as its primary sensors and is used for initial testing and development of algorithms using them. This great robot is easy to put together (no soldering involved!), and therefore, it is perfect for hobbyists or for beginner roboticists. Therefore, you will often see the BoeBot at any of our outreach and public engagement events!
The Green Brain Lab
We have a dedicated flying room in the Kroto Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. All experiments are setup and managed using our off-board Ground Control Station. While the honeybee brain “only” has 1 million neurons, it still takes quite a bit of computing power to use this to control a robot in real-time! Therefore, all brain computing is also done off-board using NVIDIA Tesla GPUs. Additionally in this lab, we have installed a Vicon Motion Tracking System for validation of our algorithms and models and as a safety measure.
See below for an inside look into our lab (for more pictures of the lab, visit the ‘Green Brain Lab’ Photo Album on our Facebook page).