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This NSF-funded  REU Site: Undergraduate Robotics Research in Human-Swarm Interaction project will provide training, mentorship and support to undergraduate students so that they can become independent researchers in the area of robotics. Throughout the project, the faculty and graduate student mentors will encourage creative thinking and frequent interactions to enhance the students' problem-solving skills.

REU lab equipment

The intellectual focus of this project is to allow one human operator to effectively manage a large robot swarm to achieve desired global objectives. Tailored around a swarm system inspired by the cooperative thermal soaring and foraging behaviors of hawks, three sub-projects will be conducted by undergraduate students during this REU project. First, a swarm testing environment with 50 custom designed robots will be developed. Second, distributed, non-hierarchical agent-level interaction rules that will allow the emergence of desirable robot swarm behaviors will be investigated. Third, novel human-swarm interaction modes for managing a large self-organized robot swarm without using a direct command and control structure between the operator and robots will be invented and experimentally demonstrated. Through these efforts, the undergraduate students will have the opportunity to work as a team in performing both fundamental research and hands-on experiments. The successful completion of the project will enable many potential robot applications such as search and rescue, environmental monitoring and robotic mining and construction. 

REU participants 

REU Program Dates:

May 19-July 26, 2019 (10 weeks in duration). 

Summer 2020 (Cancelled due to COVID-19)

May 24-July 30, 2021 (10 weeks in duration)

REU Participant Benefits:

Stipend of $6,000 ($600/week for 10-weeks), lodging, meal expenses, travel reimbursement to/from REU Site (limited to ~$600/participant) and comprehensive training to move participants toward intellectual and research independence.


Apply for the summer 2021 program by March 12, 2021 (for full consideration). Review of applications will begin on March 12, 2021. Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.