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
Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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