Tech Briefs

Advancements Made to the Wingman Software-in-the-Loop (SIL) Simulation: How to Operate the SIL

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), US Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), DCS Corp., and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) worked together to advance the capabilities of a software-in-the-loop (SIL) simulation environment in support of the larger TARDEC-Wingman Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD).

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Soft Robotic Fish Swims Alongside Real Ones in Coral Reefs

A team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled “SoFi,” a soft robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the ocean. During test dives in the Rainbow Reef in Fiji, SoFi swam at depths of more than 50 feet for up to 40 minutes, nimbly handling currents and taking high-resolution photos and videos using a fisheye lens.

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Soldier-Robot Team Communication: An Investigation of Exogenous Orienting Visual Display Cues and Robot Reporting Preferences

The advancement of robot capabilities and functionality has changed the way in which soldiers perform many of their operational tasks. The various unmanned air, ground, and submersible vehicles currently deployed have significantly impacted present-day warfare.

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GPS Enabled Semi-Autonomous Robot

The primary objective of this research is to integrate GPS and local sensory data to allow a robot to operate semi-autonomously outside of a laboratory environment. The Pioneer 3-AT, a robust platform capable of operating in the outdoors, is utilized in this project. The P3-AT has acoustic sensors that can calculate distances to obstacles and encoders that calculate how much each wheel has turned. In a laboratory environment, sensory and encoder information can be used to triangulate position or measure distance and direction traveled from a known starting point. Operating outdoors limits the effectiveness of both systems as the obstacles are not known and wheels can often slip and slide on different surfaces. This necessitates external data to determine the location of the robot. GPS was chosen to provide that data. GPS, acoustic, and encoder data were integrated within MATLAB and provided control signals to the robot.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace
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Development of a Vision-Based Situational Awareness Capability for Unmanned Surface Vessels

Using unmanned surface vessels (USVs) for “dull, dirty and dangerous missions” is gaining traction in recent years as it removes the human element from a potentially life-threatening environment in missions such as mine hunting or maritime interdiction. Current USVs rely on human operators sitting in remote control stations to monitor the vessels’ surroundings and perform collision detection and avoidance. This reliance on the human operator constrains the operating envelope of the USV as it requires a high bandwidth and low latency communication link for safe operations, especially in waters with heavy traffic.

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Designing for Compressive Sensing: Compressive Art, Camouflage, Fonts, and Quick Response Codes

Compressive sensing (CS) is a relatively new field that has caused a lot of excitement in the signal processing community. It has superseded Shannon's time-honored sampling theorem, which states that the sampling rate of a signal must be at least twice its highest frequency. In CS, the necessary sampling rate depends on the sparsity of signal, not its highest frequency, reducing sampling requirements for many signals that exhibit natural sparsity. This compression happens on the hardware level, allowing systems to be designed with benefits ranging from increased resolution and frame rates to decreased power consumption and memory usage. Despite this enthusiasm for CS and the large quantity of research being performed, the number of commercial systems that use CS is relatively few. The problem of designing a CS strategy that increases functionality while actually reducing overall system cost has not been solved in many areas. This is a developing field where not only are new applications for CS still being developed, but also fundamental aspects of CS theory are still evolving.

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Calculation of Weapon Platform Attitude and Cant Using Available Sensor Feedback

When firing artillery, there is typically a maximum angle that the platform cannot exceed relative to the Earth plane. This is due to the large recoil forces involved and the risk of destabilizing the platform the weapon is mounted to. Mobile systems are particularly sensitive to this as the attitude of the platform relative to Earth is constantly changing. A simple solution is to add pitch and roll sensors directly to the platform. However, many mobile systems already have an assortment of sensors that can be used to calculate the platform attitude.

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