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An Interdisciplinary Approach For Problem Solving In A Robotics Application

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.94.1 - 3.94.4

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Paper Authors

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Michael Guillorn

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Joshua Sachar

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Brian Hall

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Antony Arciuolo

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3520

An Interdisciplinary Approach for Problem Solving in a Robotics Application

Joshua Sachar, Michael Guillorn, Brian Hall, Antony Arciuolo Trinity College, Hartford CT 06106

Abstract The Trinity College Fire-Fighting Robot Contest was created to inspire roboticists of varying backgrounds and skill levels to identify and implement techniques for using robotics in place of humans to extinguish fires. To perform this development of robotic technology, a team of students and faculty was established at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. The interdisciplinary background of the team membership allowed the design and development process to flow in a highly productive manner. Internal dynamics of the team played an significant role in determining its efficiency. As a result, this project enabled the team members to learn about robotics through an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas while forcing them to become efficient at functioning as a diverse collective with a common set of goals.

Introduction The use of robots in place of humans in fire-fighting can reduce the danger inherent to the job of a human fire-fighter. Unlike humans, there is no risk to life or limb associated with the use of a robot in a hazardous situation; the cost of losing a robot in a fire is purely monetary while the cost of losing a human life is immeasurable. In either residential or industrial settings, a fire- fighting robot could serve as a means of containing or extinguishing fires before a human fire- fighting team is able to respond. Robotic fire-fighters also represent a means of combating fires that present a level of danger that exceeds safety standards for human fire-fighters. These principles provide the primary motivations for the Trinity College Fire-Fighting Robot Contest.

The robot contest challenges participants to build a mobile robotic device capable of moving through a known model of a single floor house, detecting a fire (represented by a lit candle) and extinguishing it. The model house is composed of a maze of hallways and rooms that resemble an actual dwelling. Though the model house is not full scale the concept and spirit behind the task remains unchanged. Contest participants are provided with a chance to demonstrate and exchange their unique design ideas with other contestants from over 20 different states within the U.S. and foreign countries. Participating teams range from college professors and professional engineers to elementary school and college students.

The Trinity College robot team was established the Spring semester of 1995. The team at that time consisted of one professor, several junior and sophomore electrical engineering students, a sophomore mechanical engineering student and two first year students. A significant amount of progress was made that first year on the design and construction of the Trinity fire-fighting robot, Phoenix. The work done by the original team inspired other students to become involved in following years creating a team that has endured the test of time and became a source of pride for the Trinity College Engineering department.

Guillorn, M., & Sachar, J., & Hall, B., & Arciuolo, A. (1998, June), An Interdisciplinary Approach For Problem Solving In A Robotics Application Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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