Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Swimming pool game inspires robot detection

20.03.2009
Scientists have used a popular kids swimming pool game to guide their development of a system for controlling moving robots that can autonomously detect and capture other moving targets.

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.

Such systems have broad applications, ranging from security systems to track unwanted intruders like enemy ships or burglars, to systems that create radiation or environmental hazard maps, or even track endangered species.

The main challenge facing researchers is developing the artificial intelligence to control the robots and their sensors without direct human guidance.

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 information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Easier Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer
06.03.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance
27.02.2017 | DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>