Nasa Tech Briefs

Interface Simplifies Remote Robot Operation

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created a new interface to remotely control robots that is much simpler and more efficient than current techniques. The user simply points and clicks on an item, then chooses a grasp. The robot does the rest of the work. The traditional interface for remotely operating robots employs a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for someone who isn’t an expert, the ring-and-arrow system is cumbersome and error-prone. It’s not ideal, for example, for older people trying to control assistive robots at home.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics, Software

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Control Scheme Improves Motor Operation and Interaction

A team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy, is working to improve how industrial electric drives operate. They propose a new control scheme that will not only improve motor operation, but also how the motor interacts with other systems.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Mathematical/Scientific Software, Simulation Software

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Tool Helps Design Soft Robots That Can Bend and Twist

Designing a soft robot to move organically — to bend like a finger or twist like a wrist — has always been a process of trial and error. Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a method to automatically design soft actuators based on the desired movement.

Posted in: News, Implants & Prosthetics, Motion Control, Robotics, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Software

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AI Algorithm 'Learns' Beyond its Training

A new machine-learning training method developed at the University of Toronto enables neural networks to learn directly from human-defined rules. The achievement supports new possibilities for artificial intelligence in medical diagnostics and self-driving cars.

Posted in: News, Diagnostics, Automation, Robotics, Software

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The Synergy of Engineering

At the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, Eplan Software & Service, with its affiliate company Cideon, introduced Syngineer, an innovative communication and information platform that integrates mechanical engineering, software engineering, and controls engineering through one mechatronic structure. Eplan, a sister company of Rittal Corporation in the Friedhelm Loh Group, offers Syngineer as a solution for simplifying synchronization across all three disciplines, accelerating design engineering and development.

Posted in: Articles, News, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Celebrate Pi Day with NASA Goddard and Discover Pi-Sat

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (ITPO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Goddard) in Greenbelt, MD, invites you to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 and discover Pi-Sat. Current technology trends indicate a shift in satellite architectures from large, single satellite missions, to small, distributed spacecraft missions. At the center of this shift is the smallSat/cubesat architecture.

Posted in: Articles, News, Software

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New Navigation Software Cuts Self-Driving Car Costs

A new software system developed at the University of Michigan uses video game technology to help solve one of the most daunting hurdles facing self-driving and automated cars: the high cost of the laser scanners they use to determine their location.Ryan Wolcott, a U-M doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering, estimates that the new concept could shave thousands of dollars from the cost of these vehicles. The technology enables them to navigate using a single video camera, delivering the same level of accuracy as laser scanners at a fraction of the cost."The laser scanners used by most self-driving cars in development today cost tens of thousands of dollars, and I thought there must be a cheaper sensor that could do the same job," he said. "Cameras only cost a few dollars each and they're already in a lot of cars. So they were an obvious choice."Wolcott's system builds on the navigation systems used in other self-driving cars that are currently in development, including Google's vehicle. The navigation systems use three-dimensional laser scanning technology to create a real-time map of their environment, then compare that real-time map to a pre-drawn map stored in the system. By making thousands of comparisons per second, they are able to determine the vehicle's location within a few centimeters.The software converts the map data into a three-dimensional picture much like a video game. The car's navigation system can then compare these synthetic pictures with the real-world pictures streaming in from a conventional video camera.SourceAlso: See more Software tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Automotive, Cameras, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Software

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