Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue

Students Construct Solar Home for National Contest in D.C.

Graduate Course to Develop Mobile Robot to Map Hazardous Abandoned Mines

"Awake at the Wheel"
Researcher, Inventor George Stetten Releases First Music CD

HERI Praises Undergraduate Education at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon Gets $5.5 Million Award from DARPA To Build, Test a Robotic Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle

Master of Arts Management Program to Help Manage Restored Cultural Sites in Italy

Information Law Expert Named Vice President, General Counsel

Round-up of Summer News

Robotic Achievements:
GRACE Successfully Completes Mobile Robot Challenge at Artificial Intelligence Conference

CM Pack'02 Wins RoboCup Title

Faculty and Researchers in the News

Electric Football Still A Hit in Chemistry Department

39 Nominated for Andy Awards

Carnegie Mellon Remembers 9-11

News Briefs
Researchers, Students Present Work on Capitol Hill

Morgan Moderates Environmental Panel

Newest "Licensing" Agreement

Summer Fun

This Issue's Front Page
Carnegie Mellon News Home
Carnegie Mellon News Services Home Page

Carnegie Mellon News
Students building solar powerd house
Students Construct Solar Home for National Contest

An interdisciplinary team of Carnegie Mellon students has designed and constructed a solar-powered house to compete in the first Solar Decathlon, Sept. 27 - Oct. 4, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


The Solar Decathlon is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to educate consumers about solar energy and energy-efficient products that are or will be available in the future. By involving student teams, the DOE also hopes to "provide stimulus to the next generation of researchers, architects, engineers and builders as they prepare to begin their careers."

Carnegie Mellon's team is one of 14 from universities around the country competing in the event. Solar Decathlon participants will attempt to depend completely on the renewable energy collected from the sun to power their structures, which include a computer-equipped home office. During daytime hours, the solar-powered houses will store energy from the sun in batteries for use at night.

Each house must also collect enough solar power to operate an electrically powered Ford Th!nk which the students will use to get around town. After the competition, the golf cart type transportation device will be used by the university's Facilities Management Services as an environmentally friendly maintenance vehicle. More...

Graduate Course to Develop Mobile Robot to Map Hazardous Abandoned Mines

Students and the mine mapping robot Graduate students taking "Mobile Robot Development" this fall will draw on unique mapping, planning and mobility technologies to prototype a robot capable of exploring and mapping abandoned mines.

Mines are vulnerable to flooding and accidents because complete, accurate maps for many of them do not exist. That fact struck home in Pennsylvania last month, when the Quecreek Mine flooded and nine miners were trapped.

Flooding, roof fall, rotted timbers and environmental factors make old mines unsafe for people, but they offer an excellent opportunity to use robots, said William L. "Red" Whittaker, the Fredkin Research Professor in the Robotics Institute and a veteran developer of mobile robots for hazardous environments.

"Mine subsidence is a big issue in Pennsylvania and nationally. We believe this kind of prototype robot has enormous potential in helping many organizations understand what's beneath the ground we stand on. We've been successfully creating technologies for exploring hazardous environments for years now. Accidents like Quecreek are compelling motivation for a safe, robotic solution to mapping mines," said Whittaker.

Reclamation and conservation groups in Pennsylvania say correcting the state's problems could cost at least $15 billion.

"The robot could help us find out about problems and develop an approach to its solution. This is a national priority," Whittaker said.

Carnegie Mellon Home