Webcast on New Mars Science Laboratory Rover

Mars Science Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory

On Thursday October 16th at 7pm PST, JPL will host a webcast of a lecture on the new Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover. This webcast will require RealPlayer—the free RealPlayer 8 Basic can be downloaded from RealPlayer.
More info can be found here at JPL.

This talk is part of the JPL von Kármán Lecture Series.
Here is the Summary from the JPL Website:

New Wheels on Mars: The Mars Science Laboratory
Dr. Richard Cook
Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager

Building on the success of the two rover geologists that arrived at Mars in January, 2004, NASA’s next rover mission will depart for the Red Planet in 2009. Twice as long and five times as heavy as the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Science Laboratory will collect Martian soil and rock samples and analyze them for organic compounds and minerals which demonstrate that Mars can or did support life. This sophisticated science laboratory will be delivered to the Martian surface using an innovative new landing system. The spacecraft will start by steering itself through the Martian atmosphere in a fashion similar to the way the Apollo entry capsule controlled its entry through Earth’s upper atmosphere. This approach will allow the spacecraft to fly to a desired location above the surface of Mars before deploying its parachute for the final landing. Then, in the final minutes before touchdown, the spacecraft will activate its parachute and retro rockets before lowering the rover package to the surface on a tether.

If you are local, you may be able to attend the talk:

Thursday, October 16, 2008, 7p.m.
The von Kármán Auditorium at JPL
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA

Friday, October 17, 2008, 7p.m.
The Vosloh Forum at Pasadena City College
1570 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA

Posted under exploration, research, technology

This post was written by admin on September 13, 2008

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Prof. Robert Full discusses Locomotion

Professor Robert Full from UC Berkeley studies feet.
He studies how animals use feet to perform locomotion.
If you think you know feet… think again.

Robert Full gives a talk on TED titled: Secrets of movement, from geckos and roaches
Watch Robert Full’s talk on TED

His findings and ideas are currently being used to design new robots that can scale walls and dive through underbrush… again at Boston Dynamics:

RHex from Boston Dynamics

More on RHex here.

RiSE from Boston Dynamics

More on RiSE Here

Posted under companies, locomotion, research

This post was written by admin on September 4, 2008

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Hierarchical Temporal Memory

In April of 2008, Jeff Hawkins founder of Numenta presented their biology-inspired Hierarchical Temporal Memory as keynote speaker at the 2008 RSA Conference.

This link points to the start page. You will have to register to watch the 45 minute talk online, but the keynote talks are free.

Posted under companies, intelligence, research, technology

This post was written by admin on September 2, 2008

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Intelligent Instruments

Intelligent Robotic Arm

The LEGO Mindstorm NXT robotics system is an excellent testbed for research in machine learning and artificial intelligence. At Knuthlab Robotics at the University at Albany, we are developing intelligent instruments using LEGOs.

Our first instrument is a robotic arm that is designed to locate a characterize a white circle on a black background using the LEGO light sensor. It relies on Bayesian inference, which is implemented using a technique called Nested Sampling, which was developed by John Skilling. This software allows the robot to learn the characteristics of the circle using the light sensor data that it has collected. The real advance here is the inquiry engine, which uses Bayesian adaptive exploration to decide which measurements to take next. It does this by considering all the possible measurements that it could take, and computes the expected gain in information from each possible measurement. It then chooses to take the measurement with the greatest expected information gain. The process then repeats as the robot learns about the circle.

The system is easily generalized to solving other problems, such as exploring rooms, interpreting people’s emotions, and doing real science.

We recently presented our research at the MaxEnt 2007 workshop in Saratoga Springs NY. Below are links to a video of the talk, my slides, and our research paper.

Video: Designing Intelligent Instruments, K.H. Knuth

Slides: Designing Intelligent Instruments, K.H. Knuth

Research Paper:
Knuth K.H., Erner P.M., Frasso S. 2007. Designing intelligent instruments. K.H. Knuth, A. Caticha, J.L. Center, A. Giffin, C.C. Rodriguez (eds.), Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA, 2007, AIP Conference Proceedings 954, American Institute of Physics, Melville NY, In press.

Posted under intelligence, mindstorms, research

This post was written by admin on August 31, 2008

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Robots Learn to Follow from Behavioral Cues

Graduate Student Michael Chueh, undergraduates William Au Yeung and Calvin Lei, and Associate Professor Sanjay Joshi at UC Davis recently published the following paper where they describe a methodology for enabling mobile robots to follow a leader based on behavioral cues.

M. CHUEH, Y.-L. YEUNG, K.-P. LEI, and S. JOSHI, Following Controller for Autonomous Mobile Robots Using Behavioral Cues, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, Vol. 55, No. 8, August 2008, pp. 3124-2132.

More information can be found on the UC Davis website.

Posted under mobility, research

This post was written by admin on August 31, 2008

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