Tech Briefs

Robotic Surgical Devices, Systems, and Related Methods

These robots are designed to perform surgical procedures in a dexterous workspace. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Various advancements have been made in the development of miniature in vivo surgical robots. These robots are designed to perform Laparoendo scopic Single-Site Surgery (LESS). After being inserted through a single incision, these robots can perform surgical procedures in a dexterous workspace. Each robot consists of two halves, and each half is inserted individually through a single incision. Each half can be stepped through preset orientations as it is inserted to overcome the obstacle of limited space. Once both halves are inside the abdominal cavity, control rods protruding through the single incision allow for proper alignment. A central mounting rod is then used to mate the halves together and support the robot. The central mounting rod allows for an endoscope to be inserted through the central mounting rod, between each robot half, to provide visual feedback for surgery. The system allows for three-degree-of-freedom motion of the endoscope. Additionally, an onboard camera can be utilized. The cavity is then sealed and insulated to allow for surgery. The central control rod allows for reorientation of the robot into all four quadrants of the abdominal cavity by external rotation of the rod.

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

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Ship Classification Using Gnostic Fields

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California There are many applications for Autonomous Seaborne Vessels (ASVs). The seaborne cargo shipping industry moves over 9 billion tons of cargo per year, is worth $375 billion, and is responsible for 90 percent of world trade. Autonomous cargo ships could reduce the operating expenses of cargo ships by 44%. ASVs can also be used by the military for surveillance, and for autopilot of pleasure ships.

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

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Tension-Stiffened and Tendon-Actuated Space Manipulators

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) and Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) have proven the benefit of long-reach manipulators, with the reach of both manipulators in the l5-18-m class. Manipulators with greater reach provide many benefits. The SRMS’s limited reach required an additional 12-m boom to augment its reach during inspection of the belly of the SRMS in support of return to flight following the Columbia disaster.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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NASA Tensegrity Robotics Toolkit (NTRT) v1

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Tensegrity robots have many unique properties useful for robots intended to operate in natural settings, yet the exploration of how to build and control such robots is just beginning. Many of their positive qualities, such as multipath force distribution, compliance, and their oscillatory nature, also make them very challenging for traditional control approaches.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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RoboSimian Software System from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A software architecture to allow semiautonomous mobile manipulation of highly dexterous robots under degraded communications was developed to enable remote operation of a mobile manipulation robot as a first responder in a disaster-response scenario. The software architecture is structured to be adaptable at the lowest level and repeatable at the highest level. This architecture strikes the right balance between autonomy and supervision, and lets the robot excel in its capabilities (repeatability, strength, precision) and lets the operators excel at their capabilities (situational awareness, context, high-level reasoning).

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

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Station/Orbiter Multibody Berthing/Docking Analysis Tool (SOMBAT)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The main objective of this work was to develop a high-fidelity, nonlinear simulation of complex flexible structures with active control systems. A multibody system can consist of several flexible articulating components. The system can also have multiple control systems. The main challenges are to efficiently model the flexible nonlinear dynamics of the system and integrate multiple control systems with the model.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Flight Deck Predicted Weather Display and Decision Support Interface

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This innovation is a suite of three methods built into a prototype flight deck navigation display interface that supports the display of predicted weather and weather avoidance decision-making. Currently, the interface uses weather objects derived from various convective weather information sources or simulated with in-house generation tools. All three methods support the viewing of predicted weather forecasts over a specified range of future times. They differ in the means by which a user sets the forecast interval and controls the joint viewing of the predicted weather and ownship position within this forecast interval.

Posted in: Briefs

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