Carnegie Mellon is building a gravity offloader to drive robots in reduced gravity, allowing researchers to test how rovers would perform on the surfaces of Mars and the Moon. The advantage of the Carnegie Mellon system over existing gravity offloaders is its flexibility. These devices are typically custom made for specific robots. The Carnegie Mellon system is designed to be quickly adaptable to new robots and new facilities.
The goal of this research is to develop the hardware necessary for the operator to interact with the gravity offloader. Specifically, the electronic, electrical, and mechanical components of a gravity offloader control station will be designed and fabricated over the course of the semester. The finished system will allow the user to intuitively control common functions on the gravity offloader as well as trigger an emergency stop. Build quality and reliability will be considered paramount to facilitate the project's goals of flexibility and ease-of-use.