Information Science

Algorithm Plans Collision-Free Path for Robotic Manipulator

This algorithm is designed to make minimal demands upon computational resources. An algorithm has been developed to enable a computer aboard a robot to autonomously plan the path of the manipulator arm of the robot to avoid collisions between the arm and any obstacle, which could be another part of the robot or an external object in the vicinity of the robot. In simplified terms, the algorithm generates trial path segments and tests each segment for potential collisions in an iterative process that ends when a sequence of collision-free segments reaches from the starting point to the destination. The main advantage of this algorithm, relative to prior such algorithms, is computational efficiency: the algorithm is designed to make minimal demands upon the limited computational resources available aboard a robot.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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Automated Recognition of 3D Features in GPIR Images

Enhanced images emphasizing features of interest are prepared for scrutiny by human analysts. A method of automated recognition of three-dimensional (3D) features in images generated by ground-penetrating imaging radar (GPIR) is undergoing development. GPIR 3D images can be analyzed to detect and identify such subsurface features as pipes and other utility conduits. Until now, much of the analysis of GPIR images has been performed manually by expert operators who must visually identify and track each feature. The present method is intended to satisfy a need for more efficient and accurate analysis by means of algorithms that can automatically identify and track subsurface features, with minimal supervision by human operators.

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Representing Functions in n Dimensions to Arbitrary Accuracy

Computation can be simplified in cases in which data are noiseless. A method of approximating a scalar function of n independent variables (where n is a positive integer) to arbitrary accuracy has been developed. This method is expected to be attractive for use in engineering computations in which it is necessary to link global models with local ones or in which it is necessary to interpolate noiseless tabular data that have been computed from analytic functions or numerical models in n-dimensional spaces of design parameters.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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A Method of Partly Automated Testing of Software

Principles of symbolic execution and temporal monitoring are exploited. A method of automated testing of software has been developed that provides an alternative to the conventional mostly manual approach for software testing. The method combines (1) automated generation of test cases on the basis of systematic exploration of the input domain of the software to be tested with (2) run-time analysis in which execution traces are monitored, verified against temporal-logic specifications, and analyzed by concurrency-error-detection algorithms. In this new method, the user only needs to provide the temporal logic specifications against which the software will be tested and the abstract description of the input domain.

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Improved Heat-Stress Algorithm

Corrections for solar radiation and wind increase the accuracy of determining dangerous outdoor work environments. NASA Dryden presents an improved and automated site-specific algorithm for heat-stress approximation using standard atmospheric measurements routinely obtained from the Edwards Air Force Base weather detachment. Heat stress, which is the net heat load a worker may be exposed to, is officially measured using a thermal-environment monitoring system to calculate the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT). This instrument uses three independent thermometers to measure wet-bulb, dry-bulb, and the black-globe temperatures. Two reasons for this project were limited access to the Dryden monitoring system and delays of the required manual issuances for heat-stress warnings.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Two Algorithms for Processing Electronic Nose Data

Vapors are identified and their concentrations are estimated. Two algorithms for processing the digitized readings of electronic noses, and computer programs to implement the algorithms, have been devised in a continuing effort to increase the utility of electronic noses as means of identifying airborne compounds and measuring their concentrations. One algorithm identifies the two vapors in a two-vapor mixture and estimates the concentration of each vapor (in principle, this algorithm could be extended to more than two vapors). The other algorithm identifies a single vapor and estimates its concentration.

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Navigating a Mobile Robot Across Terrain Using Fuzzy Logic

This strategy is modeled on the actions of a human driver. A strategy for autonomous navigation of a robotic vehicle across hazardous terrain involves the use of a measure of traversability of terrain within a fuzzy-logic conceptual framework. This navigation strategy requires no a priori information about the environment. Fuzzy logic was selected as a basic element of this strategy because it provides a formal methodology for representing and implementing a human driver's heuristic knowledge and operational experience.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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