An interdisciplinary team of graduate student researchers in electrical engineering professor Mani Srivastava’s Networked Embedded Systems Lab designed and built a team of robots and reconfigurable terrain for a mobile gaming system

“I need a robot. Build me one that can play games,” asked electrical engineering graduate student Aman Kansal, and with that, the Real Action Gaming Robots, or ragobot, project was born.

Aansal and an interdisciplinary team of graduate student researchers in electrical engineering professor Mani Srivastava’s Networked Embedded Systems Lab designed and built a team of robots and reconfigurable terrain for a mobile gaming system that addresses many questions common to embedded sensor networks. They are the first team to apply advanced embedded network technology to a real-world version of strategy games like Warcraft or Age of Empires.

“There are three main purposes to the system we are building,” explained computer science graduate student Parixit Aghera, “entertainment, education and testbed research. It’s a more realistic deployment of autonomous robots than you could achieve in simulations, and we’re using the momentum from the project to interest more people in sensor networks.”

Ragobot is a novel testbed for embedded sensor networks and robotics for researchers concerned with actuation and controlled mobility issues. The team is constrained by real world parameters in trying to create a sensor network that will allow them to play games in real time.

“Almost all sensor network applications – monitoring forest fires, following bacteria contamination in the ocean, tracking vehicles in a field – involve the same command and control paradigm you see in strategy games,” explained electrical engineering graduate student researcher Jonathan Friedman. “You have limited resources under your control that you would like to deploy in such a way as to optimize the territory you can see and react to.”

Main Image: Ragobot team members (from left): David Lee, Jonathan Friedman, Parixit Aghera and Advait Dixit.