WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department

Ciaraldi on Award-Winning Robot Team

[Image from msnbc.com]

CS Professor of Practice Michael Ciaraldi (2nd from the left in the photo above) was a member of the Paul's Robotics team that won NASA's Regolith Excavation Challenge, winning $500,000 with the Moonraker robot. The leader of the team, Paul Ventimiglia, is currently a Robotics Engineering student at WPI. The team members were Paul Ventimiglia, Colleen Shaver, Brian Loveland, Mike Ciaraldi, Jennifer Flynn, and Marc DeVidts.

Prof. Ciaraldi was responsible for writing the robot's Java-based server software that communicated with the external interface (written in Visual Basic) from which the robot was controlled: but with a 2 second delay to simulate the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Because of the delay, the server had to be able to queue up the sequence of tasks requested by the user, rather than relying on the user to notice when each task had been completed.

The server was also responsible for sending camera images to the user interface. This was needed because each competing robot was in one room with the regolith, while its operators were in a different room, and the spectators were in a tent watching a live video feed.

Prof. Ciaraldi reports that several of the other top teams in the competition also had WPI Alumni as members!

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webmaster at cs wpi edu / Wed Nov 4 17:10:47 EST 2009