As part of the project, which began in 2008, students at Missouri S&T have built a remote-controlled robot that is equipped with an infrared camera and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology. Like radar, LIDAR sends out signals, in this case millions of laser points, to bounce off objects and provide feedback. The LIDAR-equipped robot then wirelessly relays detailed images to a laptop computer.
“We can get a 3-D map of rooms by sending the robot inside or having it look through a window,” says Dr. Norbert Maerz, associate professor of geological engineering at Missouri S&T. “Even when you can’t see through windows, you can still scan through them with LIDAR. Using this information, soldiers or first responders could evaluate safety issues and determine strategies.”
Maerz and Dr. Ye Duan, an associate professor of computer science at MU, are the primary investigators on the research project, which was funded at a total cost of $400,000 by the Leonard Wood Institute.
Maerz and his students have used their prototype to map the inside of houses, businesses, Missouri S&T buildings, chambers in S&T’s Experimental Mine and cave passages in the Mark Twain National Forest.
“In theory, you could deploy this technology inside caves where terrorists might be hiding,” Maerz says.
Maerz sends sample images to Duan in Columbia for advanced data analysis and 3-D reconstruction. The technology is capable of revealing detailed information regarding floorplans, for instance, but it can also “see” people and objects inside a space.
“Once you have the images, you can zoom in on objects and look at things from different angles,” Maerz says. “You can make precise measurements of any object and assess dimensions.”
The technology is further capable of detecting structural damage like cracks in beams, which would allow engineers to make safety recommendations following natural disasters.
“This could definitely be used in disaster relief situations,” Maerz says. “The main idea is to assess safety in dangerous areas.”
The student-built robot at S&T resembles the rovers NASA has sent to Mars. But the S&T prototype, which weighs approximately 200 pounds, only cost about $25,000 to assemble. Maerz envisions commercial models being smaller, lighter and more flexible.
Lance Feyh | Newswise Science News
Snake-inspired robot uses kirigami to move
22.02.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression
22.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences
22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences