Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rover Driver's Ed. 101

One of the six major questions of the Arctic 2008 expedition is:
How can a teleoperated rover be used to assist human explorers in the Arctic?

Yesterday, I journeyed to the Carnegie Mellon University Innovations Lab to begin to learn how to drive a rover.  After driving a rover I find it's similar to driving a R/C (radio-controlled) car, or operating a video game controller.  An aside:  I can hear my video-game-loving students already concocting stories to their parents explaining why they can't do their homework, but must get on the Wii.  They have to refine their fine-motor teleoperational device abilities so as to ensure a career in the sciences...(weary sigh from teacher).

Above you can see a rover similar to the type we'll drive in the high Arctic.  Also, below, in the video, you'll meet my driving instructor, Andrew, and catch a glimpse of the lab staff.  Incidentally, this biologist notes they seem to fuel their metabolic rate primarily through candy bars and highly-caffeinated soft drinks.

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