Sunday, February 3, 2008

GSSI site visit

On Friday morning the team had the opportunity to head down to the Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. headquarters in Salem, NH. Gus, Drew, Kevin, and Eric delivered a presentation on the GPR Robot project to several of the engineers and marketing people down there. The presentation consisted of a background on the purpose of the robot, the technical details of its design, and what we've accomplished so far.

After the presentation, we talked with the engineers for a while on the details of integrating their radar system with our robot.
The GSSI engineers were very concerned about both radar interference from the radio and the drive motors, and the radar reflections from the robot itself. It became clear that we'll have to do extensive testing to determine the magnitude of interference and undesired radar reflections, so it's a good thing that GSSI has generously offered to loan us a radar system for testing. We'll have to test the robot under different conditions to assess the interference.

Ken suggested taking the robot up to Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington in the spring so we can test the radar on snow over 20' deep. He also suggested 'air launching' the robot to isolate the radar antenna and robot from all other surrounding matter to get a clean picture of the reflections off the robot. Needless to say we're a little bit concerned about how to safely get our robot 50' in the air, but we'll look into various suspension schemes once we get to that point.

After the meeting, Ken took us on a tour of GSSI where we saw the manufacturing and test facilities. We got a hands on demo on how to use GPR and were all quite surprised at how easy it is to use. The pictures below were all taken with a b-side camera phone so the quality isn't stellar.


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