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Chain Drive Dust Conveyer

This method clears cutting fines from a sampling tool without the use of fluids. A chain drive through a tube is used to convey dust and fines. The chain can maneuver in any angle within a certain allowable bend radius. The catch features can be spherical or cylindrical. The Mars 2020 coring drill will generate a significant amount of dust and debris (known as fines) due to the volume of milled material displaced by the corer’s annulus. These cuttings must be removed to ensure that the drill does not jam. The typical method involves fluids, which may not work on Mars due to the atmospheric conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Robot Powertrain Moves Toward Energy Autonomy

A smart gear box can significantly reduce energy consumption for future dyke inspection robots.Inspecting the condition of dykes and other sea defense structures is typically a task for a team of robots. They consume a lot of energy to move across the dykes, perform tests, and communicate the results for six hours a day. Because charging stations are not a realistic scenario, University of Twente researcher Douwe Dresscher looked at making the robot as energy autonomous as possible. He obtained good results by having the robot store mechanical — rather than electrical — energy, and by introducing an innovative automatic gear box. The gear box is a modern version of the “variomatic” model used in Dutch DAF automobiles. While the variomatic uses a belt drive, the inspection robot uses two metal hemispheres.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Universal benchmarks can standardize the measurement of robotic manipulation tasks.The Yale-CMU-Berkeley (YCB) Object and Model Set provides universal benchmarks for labs specializing in robotic manipulation and prosthetics. About two years ago, Aaron Dollar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University, came up with the benchmark idea to bring a level of specificity and universality to manipulation tasks in robotics research. He enlisted the help of two former colleagues in the robotics community, Dr. Siddhartha Srinivasa from Carnegie-Mellon University and Dr. Pieter Abbeel of the University of California, Berkeley.

Posted in: Briefs, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation

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Metallic Glass Shatters Gear Limitations

Gears play an essential role in precision robotics, and they can become a limiting factor when the robots must perform in space missions. In particular, the extreme temperatures of deep space pose numerous problems for successful gear operation. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, technologist Douglas Hofmann and his collaborators aim to bypass the limitations of existing steel gears by creating gears from bulk metallic glass (BMG).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Metals, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission, Robotics

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GPGPU for Embedded Systems

High Performance Embedded Computer (HPEC) systems are now leaning toward using the specialized parallel computational speed and performance on General Purpose Graphic Processor Units (GPGPUs). Providing that power and performance in a rugged, extended temperature small form factor (SFF) can be challenging.

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Searching, Exploring and Visualizing Data Using Maple

With the ever-expanding sea of available data and data repositories, navigating the vast quantities of information can be a difficult task. Maple, the advanced computing software from Maplesoft, is a powerful and interactive data visualization tool that can help users understand data characteristics through various techniques for visualization and analysis. Maple makes it easy to search, filter, explore and visualize varying types and quantities of data. This paper presents several examples of how Maple can be used to search and filter large data repositories, explore and visualize the data in innovative ways and use the data to predict future behavior.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Electronics & Computers, 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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