This week Richard Allen, Physicist, NIST, will be live blogging from RoboCup 2009 covering the MEMS-scale robot league.
June 27, 2009
First, I would like to introduce myself to those who don’t know me. I am Richard Allen and I am a physicist in the Semiconductor Electronics Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland U.S.A. I have been at NIST since 1990. At NIST my research has been in metrology tools for MEMS (recently) and semiconductor devices.
As I write this, I am on a train, traveling from Vienna, Austria to Graz, Austria. For the upcoming week, I will be blogging from RoboCup 2009 for MIG. RoboCup is an international competition devoted to the goal of achieving a team of robotic soccer players who can compete with, and defeat, the human World Cup champions. Although this goal seems like quite a reach, the target date is 2050. Soccer was chosen as a means for advancing robotics and artificial intelligence as it is an exciting area, with well-known and well-defined rules and accomplishing this goal will meet many, if not all, of the outstanding technical challenges faced in robotics.
Now the question might arise as to why I am here this week and why MIG asked me to blog this competition: About three years ago, Michael Gaitan, my co-worker from NIST, proposed to the RoboCup organizers that a MEMS-scale league be developed. The key parameter defining these MEMS-scale robots are that the largest dimension must be no larger than 300 micrometers. I will discuss the technical issues associated with these devices over the next few days and I suspect the reader will see many areas where the technical issues associated with making these robots work map to those challenges faced by MEMS device manufactures.
Let the games begin!
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