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Topic: Robots

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory robots take part in Subterranean Challenge

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On August 15th through the 22nd, robots from all over the world will compete to find objects in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Systems Competition held in mining tunnels under Pittsburgh.

Among them will be a team led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, that features wheeled rovers, drones and climbing robots that can rise on pinball-flipper-shaped treads to scale obstacles.

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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APSU graduate Jordan Miller selected for National Science Foundation smart cities program

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – When recent Austin Peay State University (APSU) graduate Jordan Miller starts at Arizona State University this year, she’ll also enter a cutting-edge National Science Foundation-backed smart homes and cities program.

Recent Austin Peay State University computer science graduate Jordan Miller displays her robot in the Technology Building on campus. (APSU)

Recent Austin Peay State University computer science graduate Jordan Miller displays her robot in the Technology Building on campus. (APSU)

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NASA develops Flying Robots to help with work in Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Bees are known to be both busy and hard-working, and NASA’s new free-flying space robots, called Astrobee, will soon have the same reputation. Unlike bees that live on Earth, the robots will do their work flying alongside astronauts inside the International Space Station and will play a critical role in supporting innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Astrobee is a free-flying robot system that will provide a research platform for the orbiting laboratory. The system includes three robots—named Honey, Queen and Bumble— as well as a docking station for recharging.

Astrobee flight units and docking unit in granite table lab at the Atomated Science Research Facility N-269 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Silicon Valley California. (NASA)

Astrobee flight units and docking unit in granite table lab at the Atomated Science Research Facility N-269 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Silicon Valley California. (NASA)

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NASA’s Langley Research Center looks into creating Soft Robots

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – In NASA’s Langley Research Center’s makerspace lab in Hampton, Virginia, Chuck Sullivan and Jack Fitzpatrick are developing a series of soft robot actuators. “What we’re investigating is the viability of soft robotics in space exploration and assembly,” said Sullivan.

While the word ‘robot’ conjures images of metal arms and gears, soft robotic actuators are bioinspired, looking at the way nature works to create new robot movements.

In Langley’s Makerspace Lab, interns Chuck Sullivan and Jack Fitzpatrick are developing a series of soft robot actuators by 3D printing flexible silicone molds. While in the early stages of their research, the pair is looking at a series of properties to understand how actuators can be built and used in space. (NASA / Gary Banzinger)

In Langley’s Makerspace Lab, interns Chuck Sullivan and Jack Fitzpatrick are developing a series of soft robot actuators by 3D printing flexible silicone molds. While in the early stages of their research, the pair is looking at a series of properties to understand how actuators can be built and used in space. (NASA / Gary Banzinger)

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NASA ready to take on Challenges of going back to the Moon

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says space exploration brings humanity some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. We faced this hard fact on April 11th when the Beresheet spacecraft developed by Israel’s SpaceIL failed to successfully land on the Moon’s surface.

While the Beresheet spacecraft can claim many accomplishments, including being the first privately funded lunar spacecraft, we can learn many things from its failures. These are lessons we, too, must consider as NASA tries to conquer similar challenges as we move forward to the Moon with commercial and international partners.

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

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NASA studies Mt. Erebus Ice Caves to prepare for exploration of Icy Worlds in our Solar System

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mt. Erebus is at the end of our world — and offers a portal to another.

It’s our planet’s southernmost active volcano, reaching 12,448 feet (3,794 meters) above Ross Island in Antarctica. Temperatures at the surface are well below freezing most of the year, but that doesn’t stop visits from scientists: Erebus is also one of the few volcanoes in the world with an exposed lava lake. You can peer over the lip of its main crater and stare straight into it.

It’s also a good stand-in for a frozen alien world, the kind NASA wants to send robots to someday.

Aaron Curtis, a postdoctoral scholar at JPL, surveys frost growing in an ice cave under Mt. Erebus, an active volcano in Antarctica. (Dylan Taylor)

Aaron Curtis, a postdoctoral scholar at JPL, surveys frost growing in an ice cave under Mt. Erebus, an active volcano in Antarctica. (Dylan Taylor)

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New NASA Tracking Technology Could Help Track Firefighters inside Buildings

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In 1999, six career firefighters lost their lives responding to a five-alarm fire. They were part of a group of 73 dispatched to a smoke-filled warehouse in Worcester, Massachusetts. Lost inside the building’s tight corners, they were unable to find an exit before running out of oxygen.

Avoiding a tragedy like that has been a technical challenge for decades. In the outdoors, firefighters can use GPS to track one another, and radios to stay in communication. But when they move into a steel and concrete building, these technologies suddenly become unreliable.

A test of a new tracking technology, which can be followed on a computer map. JPL may have solved a longstanding technology problem for firefighters: how do you track them inside of buildings, which often block radio signals? (Paul Wedig/DHS-Science and Technology Directorate.)

A test of a new tracking technology, which can be followed on a computer map. JPL may have solved a longstanding technology problem for firefighters: how do you track them inside of buildings, which often block radio signals? (Paul Wedig/DHS-Science and Technology Directorate.)

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NASA Techs work to make Bulk Metallic Glass Gears for Robots

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Throw a baseball, and you might say it’s all in the wrist.

For robots, it’s all in the gears.

Gears are essential for precision robotics. They allow limbs to turn smoothly and stop on command; low-quality gears cause limbs to jerk or shake. If you’re designing a robot to scoop samples or grip a ledge, the kind of gears you’ll need won’t come from a hardware store.

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, technologist Douglas Hofmann and his collaborators are building a better gear.

Bulk metallic glass, a metal alloy, doesn't get brittle in extreme cold. That makes the material perfect for robotics operated in space or on icy planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Bulk metallic glass, a metal alloy, doesn’t get brittle in extreme cold. That makes the material perfect for robotics operated in space or on icy planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Awards prototype Robots to Two University’s for Research and Development

 

Written by Gina Anderson
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Humanoid robots will be helpful to astronauts on our journey to Mars, so NASA has awarded prototypes to two universities for advanced research and development work.

NASA is interested in humanoid robots because they can help or even take the place of astronauts working in extreme space environments. Robots, like NASA’s R5, could be used in future NASA missions either as precursor robots performing mission tasks before humans arrive or as human-assistive robots actively collaborating with the human crew.

NASA’s R5 robot, which is NASA's newest humanoid robot and was built to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. (NASA)

NASA’s R5 robot, which is NASA’s newest humanoid robot and was built to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Image released Dec. 12, 2013. (NASA)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory robot Robosimian places 5th at DARPA Robotics Challenge

 

Written by David Israel
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL, was the place to be late last month for an unusual two-day competition: the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials. But if you went expecting high-octane cars zooming around the track at blazing speed, you might have been disappointed.

The 16 robots participating in the challenge moved more like the tortoise than the hare, as they performed such tasks as opening doors or climbing a ladder; tasks aimed to speed the development of robots that could one day perform a number of critical, real-world, emergency-response tasks at natural and human-made disaster sites.

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