NASA Robot Explores Volcanoes

Carolyn Parcheta, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness are developing robots that can explore volcanic fissures."We don't know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic," Parcheta said.Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels.VolcanoBot 2, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, will explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Parcheta's research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign. SourceAlso: Learn about Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News


Tiny Camera Lets NASA Inspection Tool “See”

micro ScoutCam‘ 1.2 micro camera Medigus, Ltd. Omer, Israel 011 972 8646 6880 www.medigus.com NASA has incorporated the micro ScoutCam 1.2 into its Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot (VIPIR) tool. VIPIR is a robotic, maneuverable, borescope inspection tool being tested as part of the Robotic Refueling Mission, an experiment on the International Space Station that has been demonstrating tools, technologies, and techniques for on-orbit satellite servicing since 2011.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Robotics, Articles, Application Briefs


NASA Advances Next-Generation 3D-Imaging Lidar

Building, fixing, and refueling space-based assets or rendezvousing with a comet or asteroid will require a robotic vehicle and a super-precise, high-resolution 3D imaging lidar that will generate real-time images needed to guide the vehicle to a target traveling at thousands of miles per hour. A team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is developing a next-generation 3D scanning lidar — dubbed the Goddard Reconfiguable Solid-state Scanning Lidar (GRSSLi) — that could provide the imagery needed to execute these orbital dances. GRSSLi is a small, low-cost, low-weight platform capable of centimeter-level resolution over a range of distances, from meters to kilometers. Equipped with a low-power, eye-safe laser; a MEMS scanner; and a single photodetector, GRSSLi will "paint" a scene with the scanning laser, and its detector will sense the reflected light to create a high-resolution 3D image at kilometer distances. A non-scanning version of GRSSLi would be ideal for close approaches to asteroids. It would employ a flash lidar, which doesn’t paint a scene with a mechanical scanner, but rather illuminates the target with a single pulse of laser light — much like a camera flash. Source:

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Photonics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Aerospace, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, MEMs, News


Moving Cameras “Talk” to Identify and Track Pedestrians

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences. The cameras first identify a person in a video frame then follow that same person across multiple camera views. With the new technology, a car with a mounted camera could take video of a scene, then identify and track humans and overlay them into the virtual 3D map on a GPS screen. The researchers are developing this to work in real time, which could help track a specific person who is dodging the police. The team also installed the tracking system on cameras placed inside a robot and a flying drone, allowing the robot and drone to follow a person, even when the instruments came across obstacles that blocked the person from view. Source:

Posted in: Cameras, Video, Visualization Software, Imaging, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News


Rosetta Begins Science on Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. Mission controllers at ESA's mission operations center in Germany received a signal confirming that the Philae lander had touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12.

Posted in: Aerospace, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News


Top Prizes Awarded in the Create the Future Design Contest

On November 7, the top prizes in the 2014 Create the Future Design Contest were presented in New York City. Winners in seven categories, as well as the Grand Prize winner, received awards for their innovations in the annual contest.

Posted in: Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Articles


NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Robotics, Automation & Control

Inductive Monitoring System IMS software utilizes techniques from model-based reasoning, machine learning, and data mining to build system-monitoring knowledge bases from archived or simulated sensor data. In real time, IMS performs monitoring functions, determining and displaying the degree of deviation from nominal performance. IMS trend analyses can detect conditions that may indicate a failure or required system maintenance.

Posted in: Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Techs for License, Articles