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Nortel Wireless Network Liberates Robots At Ashikaga Institute Of Technology


Wireless Mesh Carries Video And Data To And From Mobile Robots
TOKYO, JAPAN – Robotics researchers at the Ashikaga Institute of Technology (AIT) have dramatically increased the range and capabilities of their robots after installing a high-speed, campus-wide wireless network using a wireless mesh solution from Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT].

The network enables researchers in AIT’s robotics engineering faculty to equip robots with cameras and high-speed wireless capabilities that relay rich multimedia information such as high-quality video, data and other communications while on the move. This makes them invaluable for applications such as disaster rescue, in which workers can use the robot’s camera to view areas not stable for rescuers to enter in a partially collapsed building, allowing them to view images of trapped survivors. Robots currently used for such purposes are typically tethered with an awkward cable that restricts movement and often becomes entangled on obstructions.

To support transmission of real-time high-quality video and data, AIT researchers chose a Nortel wireless mesh solution to provide high-speed connectivity for the robots anywhere on the AIT campus. A robot running a machine vision application could be instructed to travel around the campus to find a specific object - for example, a lost set of keys, a car with a specific license plate, or a building with a particular shape - and then use the wireless network to relay real-time video of the object back to researchers.

“Now that the mechanics of robots are well understood, we are focusing our attention on the innovative applications that become possible when video and other forms of continuous communication are added to the mix,” said Dr. Takahiko Tsujisawa of AIT. "Nortel’s wireless mesh solution has delivered a campus-wide network that has enabled our students to explore innovative applications for robots that can communicate anywhere they travel.

“AIT’s innovative robotics research reinforces that Hyperconnectivity will see not just computers and mobile phones connected to the network but totally new kinds of devices supporting novel communications-enabled applications,” said Toshiyuki Hiramatsu, president, Nortel Japan. “Around 10 billion microprocessors were sold in 2007 alone, ending up in everything from computers to coffee machines and applications like AIT’s robots. These devices, and the applications they enable, demand ’true broadband’ capabilities that let users simply assume that high-speed connectivity is always available - and Nortel’s wireless mesh solution is just one of the ways we’re committed to making this possible.”

The AIT wireless network is built around the Nortel Wireless Gateway 7250, an enterprise-class router that securely manages mobility within wireless mesh networks, and the Nortel Wireless Access Point 7220, which offers 802.11b/g connectivity and utilizes auto-discovery and self-routing technology to link access points into extensive wireless mesh networks.

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