One of the new and innovative areas Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe is looking at is Distributed Robotics. Over the past few months, I have been working on the development of a Distributed Robotic Platform, a system that will enable connecting robots, devices and sensors across the globe to a common network, combining aspects of centralised monitoring and distributed intelligence.
Together with University College London and the UCL Observatory, Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe is developing the first application of a distributed robotics platform by connecting robotic telescopes with sensors to a centralised management system. In such a network each robotic observatory has an intelligence of its own but the coordination of multiple observatories, and the storage of the acquired data is then centrally managed. The ultimate goal of Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe is to understand how these distributed intelligent networks of robots function, how they can be optimised, and how similar technologies can be applied to different industry verticals, including manufacturing, healthcare and the workplace.
On Monday 10 April, Dr Giorgio Savini, Reader at UCL Physics & Astronomy and Director of the UCL Observatory, together with Claudio Arena, a PhD student at UCL, visited the Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe headquarters in London to discuss our recent joint activities. Over the past three months, a group of UCL undergraduate Physics students, supervised by Giorgio and with the support of Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe, have worked on a project involving the study and design of a distributed network of sensors (in this case robotic telescopes) deployed across the globe for scientific data acquisition.
Regular meetings between UCL, KMLE and the students have been held throughout the length of the project, sharing ideas and solutions. The experience has demonstrated some of the advantages that can be derived from the collaboration between Universities’ undergraduate students and industry. The students have enjoyed some real work-experience within a leading industrial research group, whilst our laboratory obtained new insights into how distributed robotics can play a crucial role for robotic telescope systems.
We are glad we will progress our collaboration with UCL on this topic by co-sponsoring a PhD student starting from October 2017. Contact us if you’d like to know more about the topic, or if you would like to apply for this position.