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Green Energy for the Battlefield

The amount of energy the United States consumes increases every year and this growth in energy consumption outpaces energy production. To fill this gap, the U.S. imports 35% of its energy. More importantly, the U.S. imports over 60% of its total oil consumption. Added to this, 70% of this energy is from non-renewable sources.

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Vision, Software Enhancements Advance Robots

Robotics technology has made measurable strides in the last few years. Today’s robots can move with greater precision over a more flexible range of motion, while handling heavier payloads. Advances in vision systems and software are giving robots the ability to recognize and handle a wider range of parts than before, and make decisions that only humans could previously perform.

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Understanding Robot Movements Through Kinematics

Many robotic and mechanical systems require the calculation of kinematic equations to express the relationship between variables that are to be controlled (motor/actuator position obtained via feedback sensors and manipulated by motors/actuators) and variables that are to be commanded, such as the position of a tool tip or objective.

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Using Vision to Enable Robotic Random Bin Picking

The development of a robotic random bin picking system that translates to a real-world factory application has received attention for more than 30 years, and has been called by some the “Search for the Holy Grail.” Random bin picking refers to a system where vision-enabled robots locate, grasp, and move single parts from a bin of jumbled or randomly piled parts. In recent years, advances in processing speed, new algorithms, and significant engineering have combined to solve limited versions of the problem, but the more general problem remained.

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Innovation Begets Innovation

By Robert “Buzz” Kross Senior Vice President of the Manufacturing Division Autodesk San Rafael, CA Innovation is a way of life at Autodesk. Since our introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-ofthe- art digital prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are built.

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Spherical Sensor Configurations for Three-Dimensional Detecting and Tracking

Spherical Sensor Configurations (SSC) have been designed for detecting and tracking signals in three dimensions. The Spherical Sensor Configurations offer distinct advantages over contemporary imaging systems, significantly enhancing three-dimensional (3D) situational awareness. Sensor systems utilizing a spherical geometry as a foundation (Figure 1) can be designed for a variety of applications.

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2007 Product of the Year and Design Contest Winners Honored

The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs (NTB) and Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented recently by the editors of NTB and PTB at an awards dinner in New York City. The event honored the top three products of 2007 as chosen by each magazine’s readers. Also honored at the event were the winners of the sixth annual Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp.

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