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Hands-Free Control Interfaces for an Extravehicular Jetpack

This hands-free approach could be applicable to other robotic interfaces requiring six-DOF control inputs. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas To enable the human mobility necessary to effectively explore near-Earth asteroids and deep space effectively, a new extravehicular activity (EVA) jetpack is under development. The new design leverages knowledge and experience gained from the current astronaut rescue device, the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER). Whereas the primary goal for a rescue device is to return the crew to a safe haven, in-space exploration and navigation requires an expanded set of capabilities. To accommodate the range of tasks astronauts may be expected to perform while utilizing the jetpack, it was desired to research a hands-free method of control. This hands-free control method would enable astronauts to command their motion while transporting payloads and conducting two-handed tasks.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Sensors

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Artificial Immune System-Based Approach for Air Combat Maneuvering

The primary motivation for this research is to enable unmanned aircraft with intelligent maneuvering capabilities. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California A high level of autonomy is desired for future unmanned combat systems because lethality and survivability can be improved with much less communication bandwidth than would be necessary for preprogrammed or remotely operated systems. However, there are a number of technical challenges that must be addressed prior to implementation.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Simulation Software

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Rule-Based Analytic Asset Management for Space Exploration Systems (RAMSES)

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems have applications in tracking and managing small shipping containers and packages in the commercial supply chain. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Human space systems, such as the International Space Station (ISS) and future planned missions to the lunar surface and beyond, require the crew’s ability to locate and manage the physical resources that are required for use to achieve mission objectives. However, the large number of assets, ranging from expensive, specialized equipment, to food, water, and medical consumables for the crew is an overwhelming management problem. These assets are stored in numerous containers that are sometimes nested within other containers, frequently removed from one container and placed in another location, consumed, and/or used, and then discarded. Additionally, sometimes the containers themselves are moved. The challenge is to track and manage these assets so that the crew can readily locate items and ground controllers can identify when there is a need to provide sufficient resupply for the mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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System Concept Studies Will Aid NASA in Asteroid Redirect Mission

SSL 1300 commercial satellite bus Space Systems/Loral Palo Alto, CA 650-852-4000 www.sslmda.com NASA continues to advance the journey to Mars through progress on the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which will test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. This includes advanced Solar Electric Propulsion — an efficient way to move heavy cargo using solar power, which could help pre-position cargo for future human missions to the Red Planet.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Robotics

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3D Vision System Aids 560-Mile Piloted Drive

Audi completed a long-distance test drive of its Audi A7 Sportback semi-autonomous concept vehicle, finishing the journey at the International CES 2015 consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. The “piloted driving” — Audi’s take on combining autonomous driving with individual control — began in Stanford, California and ended two days and 560 miles later on January 6, 2015.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Cameras, Video, Machinery & Automation, Sensors

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Google Glass for Industrial Automation

A new concept uses Google Glass for operating machinery, with all of the benefits delivered by wearable computing in an industrial environment. With Google’s Web-enabled glasses, status or dialog messages can be projected via a head-up display directly into a person’s field of vision. Online information and communication is also possible with this innovative device, and error messages can be acknowledged using a touchpad.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Machinery & Automation

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Energy Efficiency in Machine Tools

Discussions of the efficient use of energy have become more frequent in many sectors of industry. Machine tools comprise numerous motors and auxiliary components whose energy consumption can vary strongly during machining. The main spindle drive, for example, and the coolant system work near their rated power during roughing with a high stock removal rate, while the power consumption during finishing is significantly lower. There is a very close interdependence between the individual components and subassemblies of a machine tool and aspects of productivity and quality. From a detailed examination of manufacturing processes to the power consumption of individual components, potential for savings can be evaluated and measures can be defined for the efficient use of energy.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Energy Efficiency, Motors & Drives, Machinery & Automation

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