Engineers from Duke University and the University of New Mexico have used the simple pursuit-evasion game "Marco Polo" to solve a complex problem -- namely, how to create a system that allows robots to not only "sense" a moving target, but intercept it.
The goal of the game "Marco Polo" is for the person who is "it" to tag another person, who then becomes the new pursuer. However, pursuers must keep their eyes closed. At any time, the pursuer can call out "Marco," and everyone else must respond by saying "Polo." In this way, the pursuer can gradually estimate where the targets are in the pool and where they might go.
"Games give us a good way of making these highly complex problems easier to visualize," said Silvia Ferrari, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. Ferrari and colleague Rafael Fierro, associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico, published the results from their latest experiments online in the Journal on Control and Optimization, a publication of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
"Just as in 'Marco Polo,' we needed to create a way that permits mobile robots to detect other moving objects and make predictions about where the targets might go," Ferrari said. "When done efficiently, the mobile sensor switches from pursuit mode to capture mode in the shortest amount of time."
Ferrari's laboratory had already developed a similar type of algorithm, known as cell decomposition, in which space is broken down into a series of distinct cells. Past experiments allowed a robot to move through space without colliding with stationary obstacles.
The latest experiments included not only robots equipped with camera sensors, but also stationary camera sensors, which allowed for "coverage" of all the cells within the space.
"The idea is that multiple sensors are deployed in the space to cooperatively detect moving targets within that space," Fierro said. "As the sensor makes more detections, it is better able to predict the likely path of the intruder. The ultimate path taken by the robot sensor is one that maximizes the probability of detection and minimizes the distance needed to capture the target."
While the security and military applications of this type of detection system are obvious, Fierro also points out that the new algorithms can be used in other ways to detect targets that aren't necessarily intruders.
"Targets could be completely different things, like mines or explosives, or chemical or radiation leaks," Fierro said. "The robots can use their sensors to keep track of the detected locations and build a 'map' to let people know where to go or not to go."
The algorithms could also be used to help explain natural phenomena, such as the behaviors of members of a wolf pack as they chase and capture their prey.
The latest experiments were conducted at the University of New Mexico and involved intruders moving in straight lines at a constant speed.
"We are now developing algorithms that will more closely mimic the real world by giving intruders the ability to take evasive actions," Ferrari said. "The other main issue is to ensure that all the different mobile sensors can communicate with each other at all times and coordinate their activities based on that communication."
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Artificial Intelligence > Ferrari > Marco Polo > Radiation > Swimming pool game > burglars > camera sensors > controlling moving robots > endangered species > enemy ships > environmental hazard maps > human guidance > robot detection > security systems > simple pursuit-evasion game > swimming > unwanted intruders
Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University
New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences