Team Members
Customer / Mentor   -   Professor Paul H. Stiebitz (ISE)
Student Manager   -   Stephen Smith (ISE)
ME   -   Sherwin Damdar
ME   -   Michael Forsthoffer
ISE   -   Nicholas Fusilli
ME   -   Roberto Perez
EE   -   Jon Timko


   The proteus project is one of many current multidisciplinary research efforts underway through the Kate Gleason College of Engineering focused on the development and integration of swarm technologies with microsystem technologies. Swarm research attempts to understand how large numbers of entities with limited intelligence and resources can accomplish sophisticated tasks. For example, social insects construct intricate nests, birds fly in flocks, and fish swim in schools. Microsystem research is focused on developing highly integrated devices that can perform mechanical, electrical, optical, computational and even biological functions using elements that are sub millimeter in size.

   One research initiative is the development of swarms of self-guided, self-powered water-bourne microsystems. The development of such microsystems will enable a wide range of novel applications. This project takes the essential first step in a research program that begins with the development of a macro scale, limited function, proof of concept prototype. Future goals for the proteus project are smaller devices with higher degrees of autonomy and collective functional ability.


   The current proteus design team is continuing work performed by a team assigned to the project during the 2001-2002 school year. The members of last year's team were Phil McNeill (ME), Steve Slabyk (ME), David Kostusiak (EE), Edward Wilkolaski (EE), and Stephen Smith (ISE). Unfortunately the team was unable to meet all project deliverables. However, their design ideas and analysis have been extremely helpful to the current team. Much of the information presented in this website is at least partially attributable to the previous team and thus they are recognized as contributors.

   There is also currently a second research initiative underway which is closely tied to the proteus project. An alternative design using electromagnetic fields to move an autonomous body through a fluid was developed by a team of faculty and research students during the summer of 2002. This research effort is known as the chunxil project and it shares many of the objectives of the proteus project.


   The main objective of this multidisciplinary design project team is to demonstrate the feasibility of propelling an encapsulated, self-powered microsystem through a liquid medium utilizing an inertial drive mechanism.


   The following requirements were developed through an interview / discussion process with our customer, Professor Paul Stiebitz.

Critical Performance Parameters (Order Qualifiers, Minimum Required Performance)

  • The system shall operate in a semitransparent liquid within the range of 65 to 75 degrees F.
  • A combination of one or more systems shall propel themselves in two dimensions.
  • The system shall be capable of operating continuously for a minimum of 2 minutes without intervention.
  • The system shall be capable of repeated 2-minute periods of operation.
  • The system shall continuously traverse a controllable path without external intervention.
Critical Performance Parameters (Order Winners, Desired Performance)
  • The entire system should be as small as possible and shall fit within a 1.5" in diameter sphere.
  • The system shall obtain average speeds which maintain semblance with a Reynolds number of 2 or less.
  • A combination of one or more systems shall propel themselves in three dimensions.
  • The system should be polygonal in shape.

©2002 Rochester Institute of Technology
Professor Paul H. Stiebitz