Robot, heal thyself Dextre becomes the first robot to repair itself in space. Video

Dextre the Canadian robotic handyman on board the International Space Station, has done several repair and maintenance jobs to date, as well as the Robotic Refueling Mission technology demonstration, when he became the first robot to refuel a mock satellite in space. The space bot is now poised to claim a first for robotkind: self-repair. This animation shows how Dextre will swap two cameras on Canadarm2 and the mobile base, which together form the three main components of Canada’s Mobile Servicing System.

Dextre will start by retrieving a faulty camera located near Canadarm2’s elbow joint. Since the camera is functional, but produces hazy images, Dextre will move it to a less critical location on the mobile base. Dextre will then head over to Japan’s Kibo module to fetch a camera from the module’s transfer airlock —a type of sliding drawer that can be depressurized—where the station’s crew will place it for Dextre to retrieve. Dextre will install the new camera on Canadarm2’s elbow joint, where it will provide critical views of the robotic arm’s movements.

The Next-Generation Canadarm (NGC) facility provides a suite of robotic systems with the capability to support both low-Earth orbit and deep space missions, from repairing communication satellites to assisting human exploration missions to the Moon, asteroids and beyond. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

In addition to repairing and replacing two valuable cameras used for robotic operations, Dextre’s task has far-reaching implications for what robots could do in the future. Technologies for on-orbit robotic servicing—repairing and refueling satellites in space—hold great potential for addressing the issue of space debris, a growing concern for the world’s space agencies. The work done by Dextre  is laying the foundation for the future when one day, robots will be sent to repair, refuel and reposition orbiting satellites. On-orbit robotic servicing could therefore save satellite operators from the significant costs of building and launching new replacement satellites, and help reduce space debris.

Find out more about…

Dextre’s Robotic Refueling Mission:
http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/iss/rrm/

Saving satellites:
http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/iss/rrm/…

The Next-Generation Canadarm: A suite of robotic technologies designed to help explore space further and longer:
http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/canadarm…

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

The Ultimate Science Street Fair: space, weather, and robots

Date: Sunday June 1, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM-06:00 PM
Venue: Washington Square Park
Participants: Michael J. MassiminoBobak FerdowsiMichael S. Hopkins
Register Now

Games, performances, interactive experiments, and the great outdoors combine for a full-day science extravaganza at the seventh annual World Science Festival Street Fair. Installations and activities from more than 50 organizations will focus on our three themes: space, weather, and robots.

There’s so much to explore: cutting-edge science experiments on the International Space Station, Mars rovers, extreme weather simulations, and robots that might someday live in your house, to name a few! We’ll also have science celebrities on hand, so you can learn from the pros – and snag a photo.

Aspiring scientists of all ages can find entertainment both inside the buildings and outside at performances and demonstrations. Start planning your day by looking through our list of activities – and check back often to see what we’ve added!

Register for the World Science Festival’s free outdoor events to receive early notification of special events, learn where you can have your photo taken with astronauts, and be the first to see the schedule of stage performances.  Each week, the World Science Festival will randomly select one registrant to receive a science gift packet.

SPACE COMMAND

Visit the International Space Station: Experience the next best thing to being on the ISS with the help of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Step into the newly renovated NASA Mobile Exhibit for liftoff to the orbiting home and learn about research in microgravity from a team of NASA scientists.

Create Microgravity on Earth with the NASA Glenn Research Center: Step up to the miniature drop tower and test the effects of reduced gravity on physical and chemical phenomena. You’ll be amazed by things that are normally hidden by Earth’s gravity—from plants and water to cells and fire.

Search for Exoplanets: Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are looking for planets that are often hidden by the bright lights of the stars they orbit. Hundreds of planets have already been found. Visit The Hidden Light, an installation that helps you see what is invisible to the naked eye. Then head to the StarShade Petal, a real technology being designed to block interfering light and help photograph other planets.

Study Humans In Space: Meet the NASA Johnson Space Center team that studies humans in space. How does microgravity affect everything from bones and blood to muscle and memory? Let the team tell you how they figure it all out.

Control Next-Generation Satellites: Take command of SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) just like those currently aboard the International Space Station. MIT’s Alvar Saenz-Otero, of Zero Robotics, will teach you about this next generation of autonomous, interactive robot satellites.

Command the Rovers: Robots take over Washington Square Park at your control. Meet the New York Hall of Science’s Mars-style rover robot, created by Robert Beatty and his daughters. Check out the suspension system, solar panels, infrared camera, thermal array sensor, and eight sonar sensors. Interact with a scale version of the real Curiosity rover currently on Mars,and meet Jupiter Joe’s Rovers.

Blast Off with Aerospace Simulators: Ride in one of the many full-scale and fully functional space simulators, including the Orion CRV Flight Simulator, BD-5J Micro Jet, and a hovercraft. See what a space toilet looks like, inspect the Pluto Probe, and try on a pair of anti-gravity boots. Brought to you by the Traveling Space Museum.

Work in a Space Laboratory: Step into the Odyssey IV Mobile SpaceLab Module, a mock-up of the International Space Station. You’ll learn to live and work in space in this simulation with interactive workstations.

Build Air Cannons: Make an air cannon with Carmelo the Science Fellow to learn more about wind and gravity.

Launch Your Own Balloon Rocket Racer: Transform recycled materials into a rocket ship and use air propulsion power to race down a fishing line. Then try your hand at building and launching space gliders with Scrapkins.

3D Space Printer: Astronauts run out of tools on the International Space Station and must wait until the next resupply mission to restock. With the aid of 3D printing technology, immediate re-stock is just around the corner. Come see the first 3D printer that will head to space.

WEATHER STATIONS

Science on a Sphere®: See our home planet as you’ve never seen it before: projected and animated on a giant suspended globe from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Gather around massive sphere to watch historic storms unfold as dramatic weather unleashes its fury, and see special spherical movies about tsunamis and waterfalls (without getting all wet). When you’re done exploring Earth, travel to other planets in our solar system and beyond and get a glimpse of conditions far from home. Finally, meet the scientists and journalists who study space, climate, and the often only marginally predictable atmosphere. 10:00 AM-06:00 PM, at Gould Plaza, NYU

Get Caught in a Hurricane: Step into the hurricane simulator and experience winds up to 78 mph. Suitable for storm chasers of all ages.

Control Your Own Tornado: Prepare to be blown away by a vortex of swirling vapor as you control the speed of four-foot tall tornadoes.

Explore the Arctic of the Future with the PoLAR Climate Project: Play games to learn how animals (from plankton all the way to polar bears) are impacted by humans. Then go through interactive displays with Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory to learn how climate and weather impact sea ice loss and change the sea level. Don’t miss the Polar Explorer app!

Investigate the New York Hall of Science: Watch dueling pressure systems create spinning clouds of air when we fire our Air Cannon. Use your cell phone to make small images appear large using forced perspective photography at Stick Pics. You can make images with your favorite astronomers, astrophysicists, astronauts, and spaceships. Finally, make your hair stand on end as lighting forms before your very eyes at the Van de Graaf Generator.

Battle Earthquakes with Engineering: Join Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers to make your own earthquake-proof structures. How will your building stand up to the seismic waves?

Ride the Coriolis and Forecast Weather: Join CUNY’s NOAA-CRESTto take a spin aboard the Coriolis ride, showing how hurricanes form and gain massive amounts of power. Then use real mathematical equations to predict tomorrow’s weather.

Discover Fossils and Facts at the Liberty Science Center: Excavate for fossils (including shark teeth and small bones) that you can take home with you, and learn how weather affects fossil formation. Compare natural disasters and weather conditions on home at Earth to those on other planets.

Monkey Around at the Central Park Zoo: Discover how weather affects the animal kingdom, wildlife conservation and our own lives. Join the Central Park Zoo for performances and activities that help explain how we can make our world more livable for ourselves and other unique creatures.

Crustacean Exploration: Hop onto a solar-powered, state-of-the-art mobile microscope lab that was once a 1974 transit bus. There, use high-powered microscopes to examine the cells and organs of tiny transparent crustaceans called daphnia. These strange creatures have reproductive systems that change with the weather.

Laboratory: Pop Bottle Science: Join author Lynn Brunelle to create different kinds of weather and tracking equipment, from barometers and thermometers to rain and tornadoes. You’ll build up the atmospheric pressure of a storm in a crushable bottle.

ROBOT SENSE CENTRAL: How Do Robots Sense?

Vision: The first step to understanding how robots sense the world is by learning how they see. Unlike humans, they don’t have peripheral vision – meaning they see only what is directly in front of them. Move an object in front of a digital camera and watch how objects are tracked on a screen. Try sharing a toy with iCub a robot that mimics a human two-year-old, and see how iCub sees.

Hearing: Robot ears take in sounds and turn them into a language that robots can understand. Speak into a microphone and watch a computer translate your voice into waveforms. It will try to repeat what you said back to you.

Depth Perception: Our eyes and brain quickly calculate depth perception for us. Learn how robots tackle this crucial task by stepping up to a Microsoft Kinect and getting a strange 3D view of the world and yourself. Then have your photo taken and emailed to you.

Touch: Close your eyes and put your hand in a box – then try to decipher what you’re grabbing. Or see if you can find the object you are searching for without using your eyes. Robots have it tough! Get another sense of how a child robot would interact with the world bytickling iCub, the robot who mimics a human two-year-old. He’s covered in touch sensors and gets ticklish when you poke him. Eventually, he’ll even learn to dodge your fingers!

INSIDE THE ROBOT BRAIN: How do robots Sense, Decide, and Act?

Tame the Robot: Teach a robot how to behave by playing Tetris on a computer. In this game of robot Tetris, you decide if a robot’s action should be rewarded or not, and it learns to behave according to your rules.

Train the Robot: Use DragonBot and a programming tool kit to train a robot to respond to your signal, just like a pet dog. You’ll teach your robot to smile whenever you clap – get ready to give yourself a round of applause.

Shepherd the Robots: Robots sometimes behave based on what other nearby robots are doing. Walk in front of a projection screen and watch as simulated robots follow you around like a flock of sheep.

Robot Swarm: How does a swarm of 10 robots work? How about 10,000 birds? Or 10,000,000 ants? Join MoMath for hands-on Swarm Math activities where the audience members get to be part of a collective.

Control Robots with Your Mind: Use electricity from your brain to control robots and find out whether your brain is anything like a computer.

Play Soccer Like a Robot: Learn what it’s like for a robot to play soccer. Hint: it’s not so easy. Build robot goggles out of paper tubes, then cover one eye and try to follow instructions to play (and win) the game.

Robots at the Liberty Science Center: At Complete a Circuit, you’ll poke around the inner workings of a robot and learn how electrical circuits and systems work together. Connect different parts of circuits and use different energy sources – then apply the same principles to a programmable Arduino board. Then figure out the difference between conductors and insulators at Pocket Science: Energy Stick, where you’ll light up an energy stick by forming a human chain

ROBOTS IN MOTION: How do robots move?

Bend It Like a Robot: Teach a small humanoid NAO robot how to kick a ball by moving its legs and registering the movement on a computer – just like in stop-motion animation!

Robot Obstacle Course: Drive a KUKA youBot, a robot arm on wheels, through an obstacle course. Then try it again using only robot vision, and see how different your times are.

Drive a Planetary Rover: Drive Oryx, the planetary rover, and help it collect rock specimens on an otherworldly surface.

Drive the Turtlebots: Pick up the controls and, without ever leaving the World Science Festival, drive a telepresence robot at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Your task? To figure out Worcester Polytechnic’s motto.

Robot Fish Race: Build the fins of a robotic fish and race them against other robo-swimmers. Winner gets a prize!

Robot Control: Feel like Dr. Doolittle as you use a touchscreen device to control a robotic fish. Or relax and watch it swim on its own while you enjoy a birds-eye view of the tank provided on the display.

Fly a Drone, Drive a BEAM: Test fly a drone and operate the Beam telepresence robot, which lets you be in two places at once.

Robot Free Throw: Make your robot the star of the team as you toss beach balls into a goal to earn points.

Junior FIRST’s Lego League Challenge: Operate the winning Lego creation made by children ages 6 to 9 and meet these young inventors.

ROBOT PARTY: How do robots socialize and interact with humans?

Museum of Keepons: As you approach a row of small, yellow, snowman-like Keepon robots, try to capture their gaze. Then watch as Keepon follows you.

Bully Stoppers: Keepon will tell you a story about a bully and let you decide how to handle the situation. Then he’ll give you feedback on your choice.

Language Game: Meet a Spanish-speaking Keepon robot who can help you learn more about language.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Play this classic game against an NAO humanoid robot, but watch carefully. He may try to trick you!

Nutrition Game: DragonBot is preparing for a long journey, and he needs your help to pick out snacks to fuel his trip. Help DragonBot choose the healthiest meal and see what happens if you try to sneak a donut in.

One-on-One with Bandit: Bandit the robot wants to play a game with you. Choose between three options using a Wiimote: an exercise game, memory game, or a cognitive game.

Befriend a Robot: DragonBot wants to be popular, and you can help it by stopping in for a chat. The more attention it receives, the more it is rewarded.

Source: Word Science

NASA 2016 Mars Mission To Begin Building Spacecraft

DENVER, May 19, 2014 – The team preparing NASA’s next Mars lander mission gained a green light today to begin building the spacecraft, which will study how Earthlike planets form. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] will now begin building the InSight spacecraft.

The InSight mission will launch from California in March 2016 and touch down on Mars six months later. The stationary lander’s robotic arm will then deploy surface and burrowing instruments from France and Germany to investigate the planet’s interior.

InSight team leaders presented mission-design results this week to a NASA review board, and the board then gave approval for advancing to the next stage of preparation.

“The completion of the critical design review marks a major transition for the project,” said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We move from doing the design and analysis to building and testing the hardware and software that will get us to Mars and collect the science that we need to achieve mission success. Our partners across the globe have made significant progress in getting to this point and are fully prepared to deliver their hardware to system integration starting this November, which is the next major milestone for the project.”

InSight adapts a Lockheed Martin spacecraft design from the successful NASA Phoenix Mars Lander, which examined ice and soil on far-northern Mars in 2008, but InSight will study a different aspect of planetary history with instruments never previously used on Mars. The mission will investigate how Earth and other rocky planets developed their layered inner structure of core, mantle and crust, and will gain information about those interior zones.

“We will incorporate many features from our Phoenix lander into InSight, but the differences between the missions require some modifications for the InSight spacecraft,” said Stu Spath, InSight program manager for Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “For example, the InSight mission duration is 630 days longer than Phoenix, which means that the lander will have to endure a wider range of environmental conditions on the surface.”

InSight’s international science team is made up of researchers from Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program of competitively selected missions. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, product

NASA Robotic Mining Competition May 19-23 at Kennedy Space Center

NASA Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin within 10 minutes.  There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space.

The technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition conceivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars.  NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions which could be applied to an actual excavation device or payload. 

The unique physical properties of basaltic regolith and the reduced 1/3rd gravity make excavation a difficult technical challenge. Advances in Martian mining have the potential to significantly contribute to our nation’s space vision and NASA space exploration operations.

The Competition

The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the basaltic regolith simulant, the weight and size of the limitations of the mining robot, and the ability to control it from a remote center.  The scoring for the mining category will require teams to consider a number of design and operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required, and autonomy.

The teams that can use telerobotic or autonomous operation to excavate the basaltic regolith simulant, called Black Point-1 or BP-1, and score the most points wins the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence. The team will receive the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence trophy, KSC launch invitations, team certificates for each member, and a $5,000 team scholarship.  Awards for other categories include monetary team scholarships, a school trophy or plaque, team and individual certificates, and KSC launch invitations.

Check out the NASA EDGE Show from the 2013 Robotic Mining Competition.Click here to download the show.

Itinerary

Itinerary (PDF)

 Monday, May 19, 2014

 Tuesday, May 20, 2014

 Wednesday, May 21, 2014

 Thursday, May 22, 2014

 Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Competitors

  • Arizona State University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida International University
  • Iowa State University
  • John Brown University
  • Kapiolani Community College
  • Miami University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Mississippi State University
  • Montana State University
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
  • Oakton Community College
  • South Dakota School of Mines
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
  • The University of Akron
  • The University of Alabama
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • West Virginia University
  • Wright State University

2014 Sponsors

Bethanne Hull, Wichita Tribal Enterprises, LLC
Kennedy Education Projects Office
Robotic Mining Competition Project Coordinator
E-mail: Bethanne.Hull@nasa.gov

NASA Robotic Mining Competition

May 19-23 at Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s Saucer-Shaped Craft Preps for Flight Test

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua’i, Hawaii. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration. Three weeks of testing, simulations and rehearsals are planned before the first launch opportunity on the morning of June 3. LDSD was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and shipped to Kauai for final assembly and preparations.

“Our Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test Vehicle number 1 arrived at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on April 17,” said Mark Adler, project manager of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project from JPL. “Since then, we have been preparing it for flight. One of the last big assemblies occurred on April 30, when we mated the vehicle with its Star-48 booster rocket.”

During the June experimental flight test, a balloon will carry the test vehicle from the Hawaii Navy facility to an altitude of about 120,000 feet. There, it will be dropped and its booster rocket will quickly kick in and carry it to 180,000 feet, accelerating to Mach 4. Once in the very rarified air high above the Pacific, the saucer will begin a series of automated tests of two breakthrough technologies.

In order to get larger payloads to Mars, and to pave the way for future human explorers, cutting-edge technologies like LDSD are critical. Among other applications, this new space technology will enable delivery of the supplies and materials needed for long-duration missions to the Red Planet.

The upper layers of Earth’s stratosphere are the most similar environment available to match the properties of the thin atmosphere of Mars. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission developed this test method to ensure the best prospects for effective testing of the new and improved technologies here on Earth.

Anyone with Internet access will be able to watch live as video from the June test is relayed from the vehicle to the ground. The low-resolution images from the saucer are expected to show the vehicle dropping away from its high-altitude balloon mothership and then rocketing up to the very edge of the stratosphere. The test vehicle will then deploy an inflatable Kevlar tube around itself, called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD). After the SIAD inflates, the test vehicle will deploy a mammoth parachute called the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute.

While people watching at home may be fascinated by how these two new technologies operate, the NASA flight team will actually be concentrating on a more fundamental question – “Will the test vehicle work as planned?”

“This first test is a true experimental flight test,” said Ian Clark, the LDSD principal investigator from JPL. “Our goal is to get this first-of-its-kind test vehicle to operate correctly at very high speeds and very high altitudes. “

Although there is no guarantee that this first test will be successful, regardless of the outcome, the LDSD team expects to learn a great deal from the test. NASA has two more saucer-shaped test vehicles in the pipeline, with plans to test them from Hawaii in summer of 2015.

“We are pushing the envelope on what we know,” said Clark. “We are accepting higher risk with these test flights than we would with a space mission, such as the Mars Science Laboratory. We will learn a great deal even if these tests, conducted here in Earth’s atmosphere at relatively low cost, fail to meet some of the mission objectives.”

As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the Red Planet’s surface will become larger and heavier. This new technology will enable those important missions.

More information about LDSD is at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ldsd/

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL is home to the LDSD project manager, Mark Adler, and its principal investigator, Ian Clark. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, manages LDSD within the Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is coordinating support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility and providing the balloon systems for the LDSD test.

DC Agle
818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle@jpl.nasa.gov

2014-154

Dragon heads home

 

 

Publicado el 18/05/2014

A month after delivering more than 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft departed the orbital outpost May 18 and headed for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Baja, California. Dragon’s departure marked the end of the third commercial resupply flight for SpaceX to the station.

Source: NASA

Extreme-environment robotics under development at Keio University

 

At Keio University, the Ishigami Laboratory, in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, is investigating robotic mobility systems. The main mission of this group is to perform fundamental and applied research for application to extreme environments, notably lunar and planetary rovers.

“In our lab, we focus on field robotics that works for extreme environments.”

“For example, we investigate the interaction mechanics between robots and sandy surfaces, taking into account “off-the-road locomotion.”Also, because such robots would be deployed in unknown environments, we also work on vision systems such as cameras and laser rangefinders.”

 

In this research, there are three key concepts: vehicle-terrain interaction mechanics, autonomous mobility systems, and robotic device development.

In vehicle-terrain interaction mechanics, the researchers analyze vehicle behavior using a dynamic simulator. They’re also developing vehicle-slip compensation systems and in-wheel-sensor systems.

“In the study of interaction mechanics, we first focus on a wheel itself using a “single-wheel testbed.” We put just one wheel on the testbed, and perform experimental runs to obtain wheel force data under different sets of slip parameters. Meanwhile, we numerically calculate wheel force based on a wheel-sand interaction model we developed. Then, we compare the experimental results with the numerical ones, so we can evaluate how valid the interaction model is. Applying this approach to a whole robot-vehicle system, it is possible to simulate how the robot behaves dynamically in an unknown environment. That’s the key approach in this research.”

“Sand flow investigation has received especially close attention in recent years. In our lab, of course, we’ve recently taken such an approach, called particle image velocimetry, or PIV, which has been widely used in fluid mechanics. PIV enables us to clearly determine the sand flow, helping to develop a well-defined interaction model.”

In the area of autonomous mobility systems, the Ishigami Lab is working on environment recognition using laser rangefinders and camera images, as well as robotlocalization, path planning, teleoperation, and integrated sensory processing systems.

“For example, in an unknown environment, there aren’t any road signs, saying ‘there’s an obstacle here,’ or ‘turn right at the next intersection.’ Such obstacles should be detected by onboard cameras, or laser rangefinders which operate based on the time-of-flight principle (measuring the time from a laser emission to detection of the reflected laser.). In our research, we effectively utilize such devices to obtain 3D distance data or 3D environment information. Based on these data, the robot itself decides how to travel. Such systems are called autonomous mobility systems.”

“One typical point of our lab is, I would say, we’re focusing on mechanics as well as autonomous mobility, applying both hardware and software approaches.. In general, one lab has one specific point of interest for research, and looks more deeply into that, but in our lab, we work on mechanics and also on autonomous mobility systems, so we pursue several topics in parallel. Robots consist of integrated technology, so we consider them as total systems. In addition, another feature of our research is, we consider that field tests are extremely important. We actually take our robots to outdoor environments such as volcanic regions on Izu Oshima and Mt. Aso, and operate them in rough terrain, to test how they act in actual environments.”

“The field of robotics comprises a variety of technologies. So, rather than sticking to a single academic discipline, we’d like students to do research from a broad perspective.”

Source:DigiInfotv 5/16/2014