Developing a Satellite-Based Autonomous Vehicle Control System

The rapid rise of global interest in the field of autonomous driving is ushering in a new era of automobiles. With many vehicles already offering autonomous preventative safety systems, the addition of improved road infrastructure could increase the reliability and maturity of autonomous driving functions, ultimately increasing the driver's sense of safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Vehicle networking, Vehicle networking, Smart grid, Autonomous vehicles, Satellites
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Wearable Robotic System for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Researchers developed a wearable robotic system for minimally invasive surgery (also known as keyhole surgery) that will offer surgeons natural and dexterous movement, as well as the ability to sense, see, control, and safely navigate through the surgical environment. The need for better tools in robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery was identified to support and enhance the surgeon's performance in urology, cardiovascular, and orthopedic fields, and to expand the potential for this technology to more complex surgical procedures.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Medical equipment and supplies, Surgical procedures, Robotics
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Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems

Multi-robot systems deployed in real-world applications are exposed to the same issues that computer systems face. A cybersecurity attack on a robot has the consequences of an attack on a computer system, with the added risk that the robot could be controlled to take potentially damaging action.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Communication protocols, Cyber security, Communication protocols, Cyber security, Robotics
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Linear Rope Brake System for Aerial Delivery

There are instances when items (e.g., supplies) need to be lowered from an aerial vehicle to the ground. For example, the United States military often lowers supplies from a rotary winged aircraft (e.g., a helicopter) to ground troops. In some instances, there is even a need to deliver mission essential supplies to ground troops engaged in enemy combat. Rotary wing aircraft are typically the transport platform for these supplies. Many times, the aircraft cannot land, and supplies are free-dropped from as high as 150 feet above the ground. Losses of badly needed supplies such as medicine, ammunition, water, and food are high due to the free drop.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Product development, Materials handling, Rotary-wing aircraft
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Origami-Inspired Robot Fits in Tight Spaces

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were inspired by origami when they developed the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER). Its lightweight design — which can hitch a ride aboard a rover — can flatten itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places that larger robots can't fit. Over the past year and a half, PUFFER has been tested in a range of rugged terrains, from the Mojave Desert in California to the snowy hills of Antarctica. The idea is to explore areas that might be too risky for a full-fledged rover to go, such as steep slopes or behind sand dunes.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Product development, Packaging, Robotics, Durability, Durability
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Software Interface Simplifies Robot Control

The traditional interface for remotely operating robots works well for roboticists. They use a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for someone who isn't an expert, the ring-and-arrow system is cumbersome and error-prone. It's not ideal, for example, for older people trying to control assistive robots at home.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics
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Composite C-Channel Incrementally Adjustable Fluid Control System

The ability to selectively adjust levels and flow rates in fluid control systems is a fundamental aspect of dredged material and fluid management, and necessary to numerous farm and industrial processes. Historically, fluid management structures such as gates and weirs offer limited options for controlling levels and volume. Installation is generally permanent, with modifications being difficult and expensive. Critical flow rate adjustments can be severely limited, and maintaining antiquated systems requires hazardous maneuvers dependent on extensive manpower.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computational fluid dynamics, Composite materials, Valves, Reliability, Reliability
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Modular Climbing Robot Splits into Multiple Explorer Bots

Researchers from the Robotics Research Centre at the International Institute of Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), have developed a stair and obstacle climbing robot that can disassemble itself into smaller robots, and then reassemble back into one device. As a composite system, the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR) can climb steep obstacles and staircases, and explore uneven terrain. When it detaches into multiple robots, it can explore cramped spaces, traverse flat terrain, and behave as a Multi Agent System (MAS).

Posted in: INSIDER, Motion Control, Robotics
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Commercial Drones: High-Tech Toy or Security Risk?

Although radio controlled drones provide beneficial “eye in the sky” services such as search and rescue, they also raise serious privacy and safety concerns. The growing number of affordable drones capable of carrying payloads of 100 grams up to a few kilograms has resulted in the need for effective detection and monitoring solutions.

Posted in: Dynamic White Papers, Automation, Robotics
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Will Soft Robots Improve Search-and-Rescue Operations?

University of California, San Diego researchers have demonstrated a soft robot that lifts its legs over obstacles and operates on a variety of terrains. What do you think? Will the 3D-printed quadrupedal technologies someday support search-and-rescue missions?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Automation, Robotics
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