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Controlling Groups of Swarm Robots

Primary Investigators:
Taylor Johnson
Brief Description of Project:
In this project, students will develop apps using Python and Android Studio for the StarL (Stabilizing Robotics Language) distributed/swarm robotics platform. The apps are deployed to Android phones and devices, which control robots such as DJI Phantoms, DJI Mavics, iRobot Create 2s, Parrot AR Drones, and Parrot Minidrones. Groups of up to dozens robots are currently supported, and the StarL Android apps may be both simulated in an desktop-based environment and deployed to control the actual robots. The Android apps and phones communicate with one another over Wifi, and also communicate with a desktop PC connected to a Microsoft Kinect for indoor localization of the robots ("indoor GPS"). The phones communicate with the robots via Bluetooth, Wifi, and/or USB connections. Students are encouraged to suggest fun applications they are interested to develop, or a set of potential apps will be given and developed based on mutual interests of the students and adviser. Videos of current applications are available online here:

Desired Qualifications:
Students at all levels (freshman through senior) are welcome and will be able to produce new and exciting apps for StarL. Programming experience in Matlab, Java, Python, and possibly C would all be desirable. Experience developing Android apps or robotics control algorithms would be a huge plus, but is not required. Experience with Python, Android Studio, Eclipse, and interfacing with Microsoft Kinect is desired, but not required. Embedded systems experience with Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone/Beagleboard, or MinnowBoards is useful. All code will be version controlled using Git, which experience with is desired, but not required, and StarL is available on GitHub here:
Nature of Supervision:
The adviser will hold weekly group meetings with the undergraduates, current PhD students, and postdocs, as well as weekly individual meetings with undergraduate students. The current group members are available here:
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
In the first 2-3 weeks, students will learn about StarL and the framework. In weeks 4-7, students will develop and test apps primarily in simulation. In weeks 8-10, students will deploy the robots to the actual phones and robots, and take data logs of the executions as well as record videos and pictures. In the final week, students will prepare and submit a written report describing their app and their experience with the research program. Students will present an oral presentation on their app as well as demo their apps in the last week.
Number of Open Slots: 2
Contact Information:
Name: Taylor T. Johnson
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Campus Address: ISIS 401D
Mailing Address: 1025 16th Avenue South Room 401D
Nashville, TN 37212
United States
Phone: (979) 251-6215