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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Collaborative Robots on Icy Worlds, using reinforced 3D printing with in-situ ice (IceBots)
Disciplines:  Aerospace Engineering, EE & CS
Mentor:  Mircea Badescu, (JPL), Mircea.Badescu@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 393-5700
Mentor URL:  https://ndeaa.jpl.nasa.gov/nasa-nde/ndeaa/mircea.htm  (opens in new window)
Background:  Increasing the size and load carrying capability of robots using reinforced 3D printing with in-situ ice could open the door to collaborative robotics in icy worlds to increase the area coverage and science return.
Description:  The concept uses deployable structures as the frame (unfurled from stowed small volumes) on which to 3D print a stronger, more rigid ice-based structural external skeleton to be used in growing a larger robot. All robot components come integrated; however the mechanical/structural parts are empty and in reduced volume. The start point is Embryonic robots (EmBot), which have their bulkier/larger mechanical components (limbs would be the most important component) reduced in size, complete only at/ near interconnects. The middle of the components would grow in volume by a deployable structure; would create rigid shell structures by 3D printing on the deployed skeletons with in-situ ice, which provides additional increase in volume and mass. Thus, a series of small robots, after ice or ice alloys 3D printing, would grow to a team of larger size robots which would perform multi-platform cooperative missions. We consider the design of a long-legged robot and will focus on the method of fabricating the legs using 3D printing with ice or ice alloys. Developing design configurations, integration of mechanical, electrical and ice components, developing tools for strength analysis and robots collaboration would be this years focus.
Student Requirements:  Past experience with robotics and mechatronics, mechanical design and analysis is required. Excellent knowledge of software tools - depending on the specialty these can be programming or CAD/analysis tools, etc.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: .
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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