Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Applied Physics & Instrumentation

First Advisor

Mr. Harvey Makin


This thesis describes the design and development of the hardware and software for a prototype robotic platform on which awareness strategies can be developed. The mobile prototype platform designed over the course of work is capable of operating as a distributed or centralised system.

There is no singular definition of awareness for a robotic system and the development of awareness strategies is complex and requires expertise in many scientific disciplines. This paper describes the different types of awareness associated with robotic systems and the technology required to implement this awareness. A review of sensors critical to the development of awareness is conducted and their most important characteristics are defined.

The prototype platform developed in this work is controlled by a Motorola DragonballTM VZ processor which runs the μCLinux operating system. Ultrasonic, infrared and compass sensors were integrated to the robotic platform. These sensors were selected to provide the platform with spatial and positional awareness. A flame detector and a light detector were integrated into the system to demonstrate environmental awareness capabilities. The choice of hardware and software ensures that the system is reliable, robust and easily expanded. The device driver software is written in C and supports sensors with pulse width modulated (PWM) outputs, proportional pulse width outputs, digital outputs and logic high-low outputs. Device driver software was also developed to support motor direction and speed control. The system is connected via Bluetooth^^’ to a desktop computer where a GUI displays a representation of the robot and its position in the environment.

Testing and experimentation shows that the prototype robotic system is suitable for the development of awareness strategies.

Access Level


Included in

Robotics Commons