Mobile robots are playing a significant role in Higher Education science and engineering teaching, as they offer a flexible platform to explore and teach a wide-range of topics such as mechanics, electronics and software. Unfortunately the widespread adoption is limited by their high cost and the complexity of user interfaces and programming tools. To overcome these issues, a new affordable, adaptable and easy-to-use robotic platform is proposed. Mona is a low-cost, open-source and open-hardware mobile robot, which has been developed to be compatible with a number of standard programming environments. The robot has been successfully used for both education and research at The University of Manchester, UK.
Nuclear facilities often require continuous mo nitoring to ensure there is no contamination of radioactive materials that might lead to safety or environmental issues. The current approach to radiological monitoring is to use human operators, which is both time consuming and cost in efficient. As with many repetitive, routine tasks, there are considerable opportunities for the process to be improved using autonomous robotic systems. This article describes the design and development of an autonomous, groundbased radiologicalmonitoring robot, Continuous Autonomous RadiationMonitoring Assistance (CARMA), and how, when it was deployed in an active area at the U.K. 's Sellafield nuclear site, it detected and located a fixed a source embedded into the floor. This deployment was the first time that a fully autonomous robot had ever been deployed at Sellafield, the largest nuclear site in Europe. Expanding Efforts in an Increasingly Important FieldMonitoring nuclear facilities and rapidly identifying any spread of radiological materials is of global concern.
Abstract. Nuclear power provides a significant portion of our current energy demand and is likely to become more wide spread with growing world population. However, the radioactive waste generated in these power plants must be stored for around 60 years in underwater storage pools before permanent disposal. These underwater storage environments must be carefully monitored and controlled to avoid an environmental catastrophe. In this paper, we present an underwater mobile sensor network that is being developed to monitor these waste storage pools. This sensing system will also be used in very old storage pools to build maps of their internal structure which can then be used for waste removal and pool decommissioning. In this paper, we outline the unique challenges of our application scenario which include robot localization in cluttered underwater environments and the effect of location errors on environment mapping. We also list other industrial applications that can benefit from our underwater sensor network.
Swarm robotics studies the intelligent collective behaviour emerging from long-term interactions of large number of simple robots. However, maintaining a large number of robots operational for long time periods requires significant battery capacity, which is an issue for small robots. Therefore, recharging systems such as automated battery-swapping stations have been implemented. These systems require that the robots interrupt, albeit shortly, their activity, which influences the swarm behaviour. In this paper, a low-cost on-thefly wireless charging system, composed of several charging cells, is proposed for use in swarm robotic research studies. To determine the system's ability to support perpetual swarm operation, a probabilistic model that takes into account the swarm size, robot behaviour and charging area configuration, is outlined. Based on the model, a prototype system with 12 charging cells and a small mobile robot, Mona, was developed. A series of long-term experiments with different arenas and behavioural configurations indicated the model's accuracy and demonstrated the system's ability to support perpetual operation of multi-robotic system.
Nuclear decommissioning is a global challenge with high costs associated with it due to the hazardous environments created by radioactive materials. Most nuclear decommissioning sites contain significant amounts of pipework, the majority of which is uncharacterised with regards radioactive contamination. If there is any uncertainty as to the contamination status of a pipe, it must be treated as contaminated waste, which can lead to very high disposal costs. To overcome this challenge, an in-pipe autonomous robot for characterisation is being developed. One of the most significant mechatronic challenges with the development of such a robot is the detection of elbows in the unknown pipe networks to allow the robotic system to autonomously navigate around them. This paper presents a novel method of predicting the direction and radius of the corner using whisker-like sensors. Experiments have shown that the proposed system has a mean error of 4.69 • in the direction estimation.
Ford, GM Team Up on Transmissions-General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are preparing to jointly develop nine-and 10-speed vehicle transmissions to help them meet future fuel economy standards. Although neither has yet made a formal announcement, the two automotive giants have signed a memorandum of understanding that would enable them to work cooperatively on transmissions that might be ready for production as early as 2015. Sea Turtle Robot Will Swim Autonomously-We've seen a robotic tuna and robots that swim more or less like people. Now engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have built a robot modeled on a sea turtle. Toyota's Latest Robot Lends a Hand-Toyota has developed a new robotic personal assistant that can help the elderly or other people with limited mobility who may need an extra hand doing things around the house. Gesture Sensors Could Help Mechatronics Engineers-A recent announcement from a company that specializes in sensors used for gesture detection sparked thoughts about using this type of control in mechatronic devices. The company mentioned using gesture controls in TV sets. That type of control works for interactive games, too. Ford, GM echipa pe Transmisii-General Motors si Ford Motor Co se pregătesc să elaboreze în comun transmisii de vehicule cu 9 si 10 viteze pentru a le ajuta să îndeplinească viitoarele standarde ale economiei de combustibil. Desi nici unul nu a făcut încă un anunţ oficial, cei doi giganti auto au semnat un memorandum de înţelegere care să le permită să lucreze în cooperare pe transmisii care ar putea fi gata pentru producţia încă din 2015. Robot broasca testoasa va înota autonom-Am văzut un ton robotizat şi roboţi care inoata mai mult sau mai puţin ca oamenii. Acum, inginerii de la Institutul Federal Elvetian de Tehnologie au construit un robot modelat ca o broască ţestoasă. Robotul cel mai recent al Toyota dă o mână-Toyota a dezvoltat un nou asistent personal robotizat, care poate ajuta persoanele în vârstă sau alte persoane cu mobilitate limitată, care ar putea avea nevoie de o mână suplimentara pentru a face lucrurile în jurul casei. Senzori de miscare a mainii ar putea ajuta Inginerii Mecatronisti-Un anunţ recent de la o companie care este specializata in senzori utilizati pentru detectarea miscarii mainii a stârnit gânduri despre folosirea acestui tip de control în dispozitivele mecatronice. Compania a menţionat utilizarea controlerelor de miscare a mainii în instalatii TV. Acest tip de control funcţionează de asemenea pentru jocuri interactive.
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