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Morphing Bus: A rapid deployment computing architecture for high performance, resource-constrained robots

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3 Author(s)
D'Souza, C. ; Electr. Eng., Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis, MN ; Byung Hwa Kim ; Voyles, R.

For certain applications, field robotic systems require small size for cost, weight, access, stealth or other reasons. Small size results in constraints on critical resources such as power, space (for sensors and actuators), and computing cycles, but these robots still must perform many of the challenging tasks of their larger brethren. The need for advanced capabilities such as machine vision, application-specific sensing, path planning, self localization, etc. is not reduced by small-scale applications, but needs may vary with the task. As a result, when resources are constrained, it is prudent to configure the robot for the task at hand; both hardware and software. We are developing a reconfigurable computing subsystem for resource-constrained robots that allows rapid deployment of statically configured hardware and software for a specific task. The use of a field programmable gate array (FPGA) provides flexibility in hardware for both sensor interfacing and hardware-accelerated computation. In this paper, we describe a static reconfiguration architecture we call the morphing bus that allows the rapid assembly of sensors and dedicated computation through reusable hardware and software modules. It is a novel sensor bus in the fact that no bus interface circuitry is required on the sensor side - the bus "morphs" to accommodate the signals of the sensor

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2007 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

10-14 April 2007