Machinery & Automation

NASA Tests Robotic Ice Tools

A robotic claw, one of several innovative tools developed at JPL for exploring icy, ocean worlds like Europa. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Since 2015, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been developing new technologies for use on future missions to ocean worlds. That includes a subsurface probe that could burrow through miles of ice, taking samples along the way; robotic arms that unfold to reach faraway objects; and a projectile launcher for even more distant samples. All these technologies were developed as part of the Ocean Worlds Mobility and Sensing study, a research project funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. Each prototype focuses on obtaining samples from the surface - or below the surface - of an icy moon.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics

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New Robotic System Finds and Destroys Explosive Threats

U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground data collector Janet Chasse (left) observes as Spc. Melvinne Owino readies carriages that use a shaped explosive charge to detonate buried explosive threats as part of the Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection System (SREHD). (Credit: Mr. Mark Schauer (ATEC)) In combat, land mine and improvised explosive device (IED) clearance is a slow, painstaking, stressful job that physically and mentally drains soldiers and military working dogs. Technologies that seek out a variety of explosive hazards and IED components have matured in recent years to the point that semi-autonomous robots can detect, mark, and even destroy buried threats. The latest such system is called the Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection System (SREHD), and testing is currently underway at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics

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Swarms of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Test New Dogfighting Skills

Georgia Tech Research Institute researchers Evan Hammac (left) and Rick Presley prepare Zephyr aircraft for flight during a live demonstration involving teams from the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School. (U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya) Aerial dogfighting began more than a century ago in the skies over Europe with propeller-driven fighter aircraft carried aloft on wings of fabric and wood. An event held recently in southern California could mark the beginning of a new chapter in this form of aerial combat.

Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Robotics

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Language Learning Robot Could Advance Autonomous Vehicles

A Purdue University researcher and his team are developing technology to give robots the ability to learn language. A team led by Jeffrey Mark Siskind, associate professor in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has developed three algorithms that allow a wheeled robot to learn the meanings of words from example sentences that describe example paths taken by the robot, to use the words to generate a sentence to describe a path of movement, and to comprehend the sentence in order to produce a new path of movement.

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics, Simulation Software, Software

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High-Speed, Autonomous Surface Patrol Capability Demonstrated

A successful demonstration by Johns Hopkins APL and the Surface Targets Branch of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division involved six surface target boats operating together at high speeds, using hardware and software that APL developed and integrated with the reliable boat control system created by the Surface Targets Branch. (Photo: U.S. Navy/JHUAPL) After a year of internal research and development, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, recently conducted a large, at-sea demonstration of swarming unmanned surface vessels (USV). The experiment — done in collaboration with the Surface Targets Branch of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Port Hueneme, California — was designed to advance the state of the art of collaborative, autonomous USV behaviors to higher speeds and a larger numbers of vessels.

Posted in: News, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

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Army Researchers Demonstrate 3-D Printed Drones

The 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or ODSUAS, flies at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. Although the lightweight shell and propeller arms are printed using additive manufacturing, the motors and propellers will be assembled using off-the-shelf equipment. (Photo: Angie DePuydt) Soldiers witnessed the innovation of Army researchers recently during flight testing of 3-D printed unmanned aircraft systems that were created on-demand for specific missions.

Posted in: News, Robotics, Military aircraft, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

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Optimize Production for Agile Manufacturing

This e-book will show how 3D printing can make dramatic improvements in both time and cost efficiency when compared with traditional production methods associated with these applications. Real world examples are also provided to show that these aren’t just hypothetical scenarios. The companies highlighted in this e-book found a way to transform traditional manufacturing applications using FDM technology and bring their operation to a new level.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aeronautics, Communications, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Automation, Robotics

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3D Printed Jigs and Fixtures Save Time and Reduce Cost

There is an often-overlooked additive manufacturing (AM) application with potentially huge financial returns: jig and fixture making. Replacing conventionally manufactured jigs and fixtures with additively manufactured ones will reduce the fabrication expense, while reducing labor and speeding delivery. But that financial advantage is tiny when compared to the profit gains that result from production-floor reductions in labor and time to market. Learn how four owners of Stratasys Fortus 3D printers justified new AM systems based solely on jigs and fixtures.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Communications, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Automation, Robotics

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Autonomous Underwater Munitions and Explosives of Concern Detection System

AUV uses a magnetometer to detect dangerous submerged munitions.Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, Alexandria, VirginiaThe objective of Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) Project MR-201002, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Detection System, was to integrate an untethered and unmanned underwater vehicle with a total field magnetometer for underwater munitions detection and upgrade magnetic noise compensation software to reduce interference from electrical and dynamic influences such as vehicle heading, pitch and roll.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Noise, Hazards and emergency management, Hazards and emergency operations, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment

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Power-Line UAV Modeling and Simulation

Computer program helps UAVs avoid collisions with overhead wires.Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, MarylandThe Army Research Laboratory Power-Line Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Modeling and Simulation (ARL-PLUMS) Software Tool allows a user to model, compute, and analyze the quasistatic electric and magnetic fields around alternating current (AC) power lines. ARL-PLUMS comes with an interactive graphical user interface (GUI), which accesses a compute engine to calculate these fields around these lines due to various ground and line geometries and load conditions. ARLPLUMS allows the user to rapidly define all significant model parameters and compute the electric and magnetic fields along a UAV path or in a cutting plane. In addition, a set of false-color plots can be created to show the time-varying nature of the fields as a movie. ARL-PLUMS also comes with an application programming interface (API) for accessing some of these features from MATLAB without using the GUI.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Electric cables, Human machine interface (HMI), Noise, Unmanned aerial vehicles

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