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Remote Robotics and Sensor Demonstration featured at the 3rd eI4Africa Thematic Workshop

According to an article published on, e-Infrastructures enable the integration of software, data, high performance computing and other resources that researchers might need into a single convenient Science Gateway (for example the African Science Gateway). Other resources include remote sensors that can gather real-time data in a variety of settings.  It is entirely possible that a remote sensor could be mounted on a robot which could be remotely controlled to investigate and explore its environment.


The Department of Computer Science at Brunel University London (UK) has developed a range of research and education applications based around the Finch robot.  This is a low cost motorised robot with light, temperature and obstacle sensors aimed at supporting programming education. Dr Stasha Lauria and Dr Simon J E Taylor (eI4Africa Technical coordinator) set up a demonstration to show how the little robot could be remotely controlled via Twitter.  The demonstration ran successfully during the eI4Africa Workshop in Lagos, Nigeria with two people attending the workshop remotely controlling the Finch at Brunel. This demonstation shows how easily available robotics can be put together for remote sensing. The demonstration will be integrated into the African Science Gateway.

The eI4Africa demonstration motivated students of the Electrical/Electronics Engineering department of the University of Lagos to explore interacting with the Finch. Paula Aliu has adapted a game she developed based on the popular TANK to use the Finch’s accelerometer to control the TANKs movement. She uses the obstacle sensor for shooting missiles and string to speech synthesizer for playing out words of encouragement. Another student, Stanley Agba inspired by Dr Lauria’s more advanced work with twitter uses his android device to interact via web application protocols with a server that interprets the commands and controls the robot.

For more information contact by email either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Alternatively an overview paper can be found here.

Please also find the Finch robot flyer produced on occasion of the Lagos workshop.

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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