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posted 1 Aug 2017, 12:11 by Puneet Chhabra

Exclusive: A robot with a biological brain

posted 17 Aug 2008, 10:44 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 17 Aug 2008, 10:50 ]

Exclusive: A robot with a biological brain by ZDNet's Roland Piquepaille -- University of Reading scientists have developed a robot controlled by a biological brain formed from cultured neurons. And this is a world's premiere. Other research teams have tried to control robots with 'brains,' but there was always a computer in the loop. This new project is the first one to examine 'how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data.' As life expectancy is increasing in most countries, this new research could provide insights into how the brain works and help aging people. In fact, the main goal of this project is to understand better the development of diseases and disorders which affect the brain such as Alzheimer or Parkinson diseases. It's interesting to note that this project is being led by Professor Kevin Warwick, who became famous in 1998 when a silicon chip was implanted in his arm to allow a computer to monitor him in order to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled. But read more...

Robot buoy to track oil spills

posted 15 Aug 2008, 16:46 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 15 Aug 2008, 16:49 ]

Robot buoy to track oil spills by ZDNet's Roland Piquepaille -- Yesterday, Japan Today reported about a prototype of robotic buoy developed at Osaka University to fight sea pollution in the event of an environmental disaster caused by an oil spill. The current prototype, dubbed SOTAB (short for 'Spilled Oil Tracking Autonomous Buoy') is a 110-kilogram GPS-equipped robot. The cylindrical buoy has a length of 2.7 meters and a diameter of 27 centimeters. The lead researcher admits that these robots will not be really ready before at least three years. But he would like to have these buoys installed on all oil tankers to be automatically dropped in the sea in case of an accident. But read more...

Scientific hopefuls dive headfirst into challenge

posted 7 Aug 2008, 11:06 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 7 Aug 2008, 11:11 ]

Gizmos duel in underwater robotics bout

by Ronan Gray

August 06, 2008

Story image 3

Virginia Chu of Georgia Tech, background, holds her team’s autonomous underwater vehicle in a test pool next to the site of the 2008 AUVSI competition in Point Loma while teammate Nate Tinkler communicates with the creation via his laptop computer. Tom Fenney of the Florida Institute of Technology holds his team’s autonomous underwater vehicle, “Subjugator,” during the 2008 AUVSI underwater vehicle competition in Point Loma on Aug. 1.

Over the past couple of weeks, San Diego has played host to two events that attract visitors from all over the nation and as far away as India and Japan because they are so unique.

Story image 2

While attendance at the first event far outweighs the second one, both events attract a crowd that dream of boldly going where no one has gone before.

While the visitors to the now world famous Comic-Con festival may dream of exploring the unexplored, the attendees of the second, less famous event are actually making progress towards doing exactly that.

This past weekend, an estimated 250 college and high school students from the U.S., Canada, Japan and India gathered at a cold-war era Naval research facility on a small Point Loma bluff high above the Pacific Ocean. They were there to match wits and their autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) against one another in the “Underseas Eleven” competition.

The eleventh annual event was hosted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Autonomous Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) organization at the San Diego Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center’s (SSC) historic TRANSDEC sonar test pool.

Two of the 26 teams that competed are based in San Diego. The San Diego City College team includes students from City College and San Diego State University (SDSU).

The second team, San Diego IBotics, was founded by some former members of the City College team and is now made up mostly of students from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), according to Jenny Wise, project manager for IBotics. Wise is a City College business major and the only woman on her 12-member team.

“I’m the mom,” she joked.

Wise, whose day job is as general manger of Hostelling International’s Point Loma Hostel on Udall Street, said the team is two years old and this is the first year that IBotics was expecting to pass the first qualifying round.

On Friday, the teams were working on their vehicles beneath white canopies along the eastern perimeter of the TRANSDEC basin while a group of judges made its way around the site to hear each team explain the technical details of their vehicle.

The facility itself looks like the set of a science-fiction movie. The central feature is a 200-foot-by-300-foot dark pool of 38-foot-deep water bisected by a huge bridge-like structure of steel girders.

There is a windsock along the western boundary and a small helicopter-landing zone just outside the fence to the south. The weeds pushing through the asphalt surface of the landing pad add to the sense of cold-war mystery and intrigue. The pool has been used as a test basin for sonar systems since it was constructed in 1964. The deep, clear water and sloping sides make it the ideal location for this unusual competition.

UCSD PhD students Gideon Prior and Nima Ghods were working on San Diego IBotics’ vehicle after the judges heard their presentation Friday. The small, stingray-shaped robot was a stark contrast to most of the other vehicles, which look like a haphazard collection of metal bars, housings, propellers and thrusters.

Several teams used simple waterproof cases about the same size and shape as a briefcase. The cases keep the electronic brains of their vehicles dry and provide a mounting surface for the thrusters that drive them through the water.

“That makes the design a lot quicker and they can get to some of the programming a lot earlier,” said Prior.

But Prior said the unusual shape of the IBotics vehicle is designed to mimic nature and increase hydrodynamic efficiency.

“It looks a lot cooler, too,” said Prior, adding that “cool points count at the end of the day.”

The main part of the competition is an underwater course of obstacles and tasks that the vehicles must navigate through within a certain time limit. However, points are also awarded based on the design and technical presentation of each team’s vehicle.

The idea of using unmanned, or autonomous vehicles for military and scientific applications is not a new one. In recent years, however, the concept of an unmanned aircraft patrolling the skies and actually engaging the enemy has transitioned from the realm of science fiction to the reality of the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The essential difference between aerial vehicles and submerged vehicles is that the radio waves used to communicate with the airborne vehicles do not transmit through water. So while an AUV is submerged, the operator cannot control its movement or receive live video signals and other data about its progress.

In the majority of cases, the underwater vehicle must be programmed to complete a series of tasks and make decisions based on the live data it receives from its sensors as the mission progresses.

The concept is not new, and for years researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) have used simple non-propelled AUVs that drift with ocean currents to study the major circulation in the oceans. The drifters are programmed to submerge and drift with the ocean current for periods of time, returning to the surface periodically to communicate position and scientific data back to the institution via satellite.

As the missions for AUVs grow in complexity, the need for new and innovative technologies increases. The AUV competition in Point Loma provides an opportunity for the Navy and the judges to meet and recruit new talent. The judges are mostly veterans of the highly specialized industry and many are potential employers of the young engineers and scientists in the competition. Representatives of Boeing and San Diego companies SeaBotix Inc., Remote Ocean Systems, Inc. and others — who are already engaged in the manufacture of underwater vehicles and components — were on hand to speak to students and exchange contact information.

The underwater portion of “Underseas Eleven” wrapped up Sunday, but a second, separate competition for autonomous surface vessels will begin this Thursday, Aug. 7 and run through Saturday, Aug. 9. It is open to the public most days between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and admission is free.

For more information, visit

Once a world leader, research shows that the U.S. is falling behind in the essential fields that drive technology forward. Interest, participation and achievement in math, science, engineering have fallen across the nation that once built great railroads, industry and put the first man on the moon.

The powerful distractions for young budding scientists are great and evident in the sell-out success of events like Comic-Con. At the AUVSI competition, however, at least a handful of young, elementary school-age children were observed making their way through the team exhibits.

On Sunday, with his teams chances of making the final gone, Nate Tinkler of Georgia Tech took the time to open up his team’s AUV and patiently answer a stream of simple but inquisitive questions from a San Diego second-grader. This week’s competition will provide another opportunity to inspire and encourage budding scientists and engineers at a historical and fascinating San Diego site that is rarely open to the public.

Scientific hopefuls dive headfirst into challenge

Gizmos duel in underwater robotics bout

The AUV Gamechanger Report 2008-2017 by Researach and markets

posted 31 Jul 2008, 15:11 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 31 Jul 2008, 15:14 ]

Although over 400 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have been produced to date, AUVs are still regarded as a relatively new technology. Many believe that they have the potential to ‘change the game’ in some specific areas of underwater operations. Considerable investments by research institutes, manufacturers and the military followed by a number of early applications are resulting in AUVs becoming increasing accepted in some of key roles where they have been shown to be more effective than previous technology.

The AUV Gamechanger Report 2008-17 considers the prospects for this truly game-changing technology and values the future markets for AUV manufacturers to 2017.

AUV technologies:
This report is geared to the needs of the senior executive and assumes no previous reader knowledge of the subject area. It describes how AUVs fit into the family tree of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), outlines the development of the industry and gives many examples of the various types of AUVs and the technologies involved. Individual sections discuss the fundamental technologies of positioning and obstacle avoidance and main AUV components such as power sources and survey sensors. A number of brief case studies give examples of the application of AUVs in situations ranging from seabed survey to ocean research and mine counter-measures work.

A $1.8 billion market:
The market modelling process is based on three scenarios and includes oil & gas, research and military applications. The AUV Gamechanger Report 2008-17 begins with identifying the existing fleet numbers, then examines the market drivers and prospects in each of the main application sectors before developing forecasts basis for total growth prospects to 2017 on a ‘scenario’ basis.

Industry players and competitive landscape:
Tables show AUV numbers by type and appendices outline significant companies, vehicle manufacturers and operators and AUV sector technology providers.

An acclaimed series:
The AUV Gamechanger Report 2008-2017 is the latest in an acclaimed series of business studies used by organisations in 37 countries worldwide. These include oil majors, investment banks, research institutes, hardware manufacturers, offshore contractors, agencies and departments of governments.

Executive Summary & Conclusions
Overview of key report findings, market forecasts, conclusions.

An Introduction to unmanned underwater vehicles
Overview of ROV vehicle types and their purpose, rationale & technical evolution of AUVs, significant points in AUV history.

Why AUVs? – The alternatives, advantages of using AUVs. Description of AUV applications including commercial oil & gas related activities submarine telecoms cables, military, ocean research and others.

AUV Technology
Hull shape & size, power, propulsion and maneuvering, buoyancy, positioning & navigation, communications, sensor payloads, autonomy.

Market Forecasts 2008-2017
Introduction – the existing fleet, the scenario approach, market drivers. Oil & gas sector forecasts, deepwater survey, deepwater field operations and pipelines. Hydrographic and research sectors. Submarine cable sector, military sector. Total market – units and values

Summary company profiles, hardware manufacturers & vehicle operators.

For more information visit

China to use intelligent robot for 1st time in Arctic expedition

posted 26 Jul 2008, 15:59 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 26 Jul 2008, 16:04 ]

Xinhua, China - Jul 15, 2008
It can work as a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) to precisely survey in a suspended position and as an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) to measure a range to obtain complete data in real time. Chinese scientists will use an intelligent robot for the first time in the country's scientific expedition to the North Pole, Zhang Haisheng, chief scientist of the expedition said Wednesday. The robot, named North Pole ARV, is the first Autonomous and Remote operated Vehicle (ARV) developed independently by Chinese more

Get all your answers...

posted 24 Jul 2008, 18:42 by Puneet Chhabra   [ updated 25 Jul 2008, 01:58 ]

Hi guys!

Ever thought AI could take computer programs/cyber bots to the next level of intelligence...?
Well, believe it or not I have Alice visiting me form MIT over summer. Check it out here
Don't forget to ask her out ;)


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