My name is Patrick McGarey and I’m a current Fulbright Canada STEM scholar building, programming, and automating robots at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS
) Autonomous Space Robotics Lab (ASRL
). Engineers use copious acronyms. The robots I design make it possible to explore extreme environments on Earth and (someday) other rocky planets in our solar system. With generous support from Fulbright Canada, I’ve been hard at work developing a new climbing robot capable of accessing/mapping steep terrain and hazardous environments. The robot’s name is Tethered Robotic Explorer, or TReX for short (pronounced like the dinosaur). Here’s a video of me building TReX (notice my lightning speed).
Building TReX Video
TReX is awesome because it allows both scientists and first responders to safely visualize environments too dangerous for human access. Furthermore, an integrated laser sensor makes it possible to build detailed 3D models, which are sent back to the user. This video shows TReX driving and mapping steep terrain.
TReX Rover Mapping Video
Fun Fact: I was formally in a band called Super Stereo, and the songs you hear in the videos were written by me. Science and music are a winning combo.
This past Summer was milestone in my research because I was able present a publication about TReX during the international conference, Field and Service Robotics 2015 (FSR
). The paper titled, “System Design of a Tethered Robotic Explorer (TReX) for 3D Mapping of Steep Terrain and Harsh Environments” can be found here
. The conference gave me a chance to meet with top field roboticists from around the world and discuss my work.
In addition to my talk at FSR, I was also invited to present a poster on TReX at the annual meeting of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Field Robotics Network (NCFRN
) in Kelowna, B.C. thanks to funding from the Fulbright mobility grant.
As an American working and studying in Canada, I’m grateful to be involved in these incredible opportunities. The collaborative partnerships that I’ve been able to establish thus far are an indelible asset to my future as an engineer and scientist. Above all, I’m thankful to Fulbright, whose support fosters international collaboration and understanding through academic pursuits. For up-to-date TReX developments go here
, thanks for reading.