Rapid Deployment Automation System (RDAS) project. Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

Rapid Deployment Automation System (RDAS) project.
Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

CubeSats rule!

In fact, CubeSats are just 10 centimeter-size cubes, perfect as a miniaturized spacecraft for scientific research.

But one creative idea is to put wheels on them.

Thanks to “Erin RobotGrrl” of Ontario, Canada (also known as Erin Kennedy) there’s developmental work on a rapidly deployable automation system with an eye toward Mars construction and re-construction after natural disasters on Earth.

Even better, it’s tele-operated by headband control.

The idea by RobotGrrl as a Rapid Deployment Automation System (RDAS) project is a 2015 Hackaday prize submission. She explains that the overall problem is trying to solve being able to rapidly deploy a system of automated movement.

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

Robot modules

An example mission of the concept is for use in natural disaster settings during the humanitarian efforts. The robot modules would be unpacked from a backpack, then configured and linked together to perform a task.

Tasks can vary depending on the scenario, such as sorting supplies to go to a specific area, or even digging out areas to let standing water flow away from shelter locations.

By having the robots help with tasks the effort is in parallel with the human, freeing up time for the human to do complex decision making jobs.

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl


How it works

Erin RobotGrrl explains that the robot is unfolded from its transportation cube shape. The green pieces will eventually be solar panels to harvest some energy. The sides with the wheels move the robot. The distance sensor in front detects obstacles and avoids them.

Tele-operational control from the human is possible with a hands-free wearable headband with haptic feedback. The headband tracks the movements of the human’s head and moves the robot accordingly, notes Erin RobotGrrl.

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

Credit: Erin RobotGrrl

“The goal of this is to eventually get the robots out in the field helping,” Erin RobotGrrl adds.

“It will take a long time with a lot of failures to get to that point,” Erin RobotGrrl concludes. “It’s all with another moonshot in mind: if the robots will be good enough for Earth, then what is stopping us from making them good enough for other planets as well. The robots could be tasked with starting to build structures on Mars, or go exploring…”


For more information on this unfolding CubeSat concept, go to:


Take a video view of this project at:


The 2015 Hackaday Prize is run by Hackaday.io – “a platform for people who like to build things.” The deadline to enter the 2015 Hackaday Prize has passed with semifinal judging starting September 21st.

The 900 projects-plus that have been submitted – including several that are space-related, can be found here at:


Leave a Reply