The HERA team worked collaboratively with Magnus Egerstedt, executive director for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines and the Julian T. Hightower Chair Professor in Systems and Controls at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his team to design the Robotarium Robotics Laboratory.
The lab is located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus on the second floor of the Van Leer Building. The Robotarium is a unique space in which researchers from around the world can run robotics experiments either in person or remotely.
A 12-foot by 14-foot white rectangular solid surface serves as the arena, where all the experiments occur. Hidden along the perimeter of the arena floor are 76 slots that house 152 charging cells where the robots can dock and charge. Above the arena is a drop-ceiling soffit, which follows the outline of arena floor below. That soffit frames the audio-visual track that sits within and supports all the AV equipment such as projectors and visual and tracking cameras.The soffit transitions to a curved ceiling, which rolls down the wall and meets the top of the banquette seating area. Affectionately nicknamed “The Swoosh,” this wall is accentuated by curved resin panels in Georgia Tech “old gold,” and placed in a staggered pattern to suggest a sense of movement.
A theater-like environment helps engage the entire campus. A window opening into the corridor allows viewing of activities from outside the room, and the banquette seating allows viewing from the inside. A control hub consisting of computer workstations and servers within the room allow faculty and students to instruct the robots on the arena floor, with the live video feed displayed and projected on two large screens above the workstation. In the near future videos will be live streamed so they can be seen by viewers around the world.