Portrait of The Personal Rover Project
Head: Illah Nourbakhsh
Contact: Illah Nourbakhsh
Associated Lab: CREATE: Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment
Last Project Publication Year: 2005

The Personal Rover is a 18″x12″x24″ highly autonomous, programmable robot. It is designed to be a fun way for children and adults to learn about the technology needed for scientific exploration such as that done by NASA’s Mars Rover. By offering a low-cost, robust robot, we hope to make robotics accessible to the non-roboticist public. The rover will introduce robots into the home as an outlet for creativity and a means for scientific exploration.

One of our goals in designing the rover was to create a robot that could autonomously navigate in the dynamic environment of the home. To that effect we use a visual navigation system dependent on static landmarks. The rover can also climb stairs. See the Robot section for more specific information on the rover’s architecture as well as videos of stair climbing.

Another goal in designing the rover was to create a user interface that would be easy to use without limiting creativity and that would draw the user in over an extended period of time. There are multiple sections to this interface. One allows the user to teach the rover paths around the home using the rover’s visual navigation. Another lets users create missions and experiments by combining simple actions and previously taught paths.

A simple version of the rover, called a Trikebot, was used in Summer 2002 to teach a robotics course for 30 high school students in California. The trikebot does not have the ability to climb stairs like the rover does, but it has the same vision system. At the end of the course, the students took their trikebots home. We are conducting an educational study to see how they continue to use the trikebots now that the course is over.

Displaying 6 Publications
Educational Results of the Personal Exploration Rover Museum Exhibit
Illah Nourbakhsh, Emily Hamner, Brian Dunlavey, D. Bernstein and K. Crowley

Conference Paper, Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA '05), pp. 4278 - 4283, April, 2005
Up Close and Personal from Mars
Emily Hamner, Mark Lotter, Illah Nourbakhsh and Skip Shelly

Journal Article, interactions, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 30 - 36, March, 2005
The Personal Exploration Rover: The Ground-up Design, Deployment and Educational Evaluation of an Educational Robot for Unmediated Informal Learning Sites
Illah Nourbakhsh, Emily Hamner, Debra Bernstein, Kevin Crowley, Eric Porter, Thomas Hsiu, Brian Dunlavey, Ellen M. Ayoob, Mark Lotter, Skip Shelly, Anuja Parikh and Daniel Clancy

Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-04-38, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, December, 2004
The Personal Rover Project: The comprehensive design of a domestic personal robot
Emily Hamner, R. Gockley, E. Porter and Illah Nourbakhsh

Journal Article, Robotics and Autonomous Systems: Special Issue on Socially Interactive Robots, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 245 - 258, March, 2003
The Personal Rover
Emily Hamner, Rachel Gockley, Eric Porter and Illah Nourbakhsh

Workshop Paper, 2002 AAAI Conference Workshop Proceedings, January, 2002
The Personal Rover Project
Illah Nourbakhsh

Workshop Paper, 2002 IROS Workshop on Social Robotics, January, 2002

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