University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. May-Win Thein, Department of Mechanical Engineering
The Design and Development of a Modular Robotic Control Board for Multiple Applications
Robotic rovers are crucial in the investigation of planetary surfaces as they are able to withstand harsh environmental factors and are capable of traversing large areas to provide in-depth information on planetary surfaces. Most robots are designed with a very specific purpose in mind and the control systems of each robot are specialized for that purpose. Modularity of components, which is the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined, between different mobile robots is almost nonexistent, making it extremely difficult to apply systems to a different application. The aim of this research is to design a modular mobile robotic control board that can be modified and applied to a variety of applications to increase the flexibility of the board, allow for easier robotic design development, as well as lower cost. This will be accomplished by modifying an existing robotic rover control board and subdividing the board into four main components (main processing unit, sensors, actuators, and power) essential for every mobile robot. The design constraints of various robotic applications will be assessed, looking at constraints within the subsystems as well as overall robotic constraints. Each component will then be designed or modified from the existing parts to fit the necessary specifications required. Performance and efficiency will be evaluated through electrical analysis of each component and the overall robotic system. Further modifications will be made as necessary until an optimal design is reached.