Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts

Monday, August 18, 2014

Improving Robotics and Human Intelligence through Online Education

Human intelligence takes a heightened position in the modern age as the use of robotic rescue equipment offers emerging opportunities to enhance military capabilities. Human intelligence matched with robotic equipment creates stronger interfaces between the two that extends human capabilities. Petrisor, et. al. (2013) discusses how e-learning in a digitized battlefield creates cooperation between human and artificial intelligence in obtaining higher performance. 

The idea for developing learning and adapting machines was first introduced in the 1950’s by BF Skinner who wrote The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching as well as Teaching Machines. As a behavioral psychologist he developed a machine that not only was intrinsically rewarding to students but also rewarded them externally for correct answers. 

The use of machines as well as the platform by which students learn has radically improved. Online learning can do much more than Skinner’s early experiments and now integrates various forms of media, communication tools, and content to produce highly intensive programs for students to learn and develop.  

Online learning is a leading method of integrating various technologies to help operate military robotics. The ability to use information quickly, integrate technology, focus on managing and effectively controlling robots has been tested by the Robo-Security Min-robot Project with significant success. 

The world of robotics is present and we will need military members with high technological skills, theoretical knowledge, and virtual functionality to work within this field. Online education is seen as an important method of training military members who work in these fields and ensuring that they understand how their senses work with virtual information and physical outputs. Programs are still in their infancy and are still in the process of being developed. 

Petrisor, S., et. al. (2013). The robo security mini robot between contemporary military imperatives and the new educational paradigms. Paper Presented: The 9th International Scientific Conference. ELearning and software for education.  Bucharest

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How E-Learning is Changing the Nature of Combat

A Patriot Breeze by Dr. M. Abel

Technology is here to stay while the development of higher levels of skill to effectively handle that technology is important.  A paper by Eparu & Atanasiu (2014) discusses the need to raise technological abilities through online training by encouraging higher levels of military systems development. The human ability to develop strategy and make political decisions is enhanced through proper systems and technological knowledge that allow for a more collaborative response to threats. 

The nature of the battlefield has changed. Data and information can be drawn from thousands of data points to understand the situation and the potential for threat. Understanding how data can lead to better conclusions of current and future activities is important for improved performance. 

The far majority of militaries are simply not prepared to measure, collect and properly use new information effectively. Misinterpretations of the data, improper measurements, and a lack of capabilities to act decisively on that information appear prevalent. 

Officers have some difficulty in understanding this macro data or solve problems using that data in unique ways. More complexity requires a different way of handling competing information, weighing and balancing options, and coming to conclusions in difficult situations. 

Those decisions also impact the specific use of technology on the ground level. There is a natural chain-reaction throughout the battlefield as new data is decided on and those decisions are spread quickly to change specific activities. Individual soldiers will need to use technology based equipment to respond quickly and effectively to emerging threats. 

You can see this example in enemy troop movements that are not yet completely formulated but are nevertheless represented sparsely in the data. Officers will need to interpret the change of events, make a decision that counters risks and raises opportunities, and then send their decisions to multiple battlefield components that use their individual tools to respond. 

The author’s conclusion is that all modern militaries update knowledge using e-learning methods. The development of higher functioning ranges through the use of verbal, decision-making, information gathering, analysis and a whole host of contributing skills that can be taught online. Game simulation is only one of the skills needed to accomplish military goals. E-learning programs can be more effective through developing learning policy, measuring performance, applying learning resources, maintaining learning standards, and satisfying users. 

Eparu, D. & Atanasiu, M. (April 24-25,2014) New training for successful military action. The 10th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Substance Allows for Super Muscle Strength

Researchers from the University of California Berkeley believe they can develop artificial muscle that is one thousand times stronger than human muscle (1). They are creating the material from vanadium dioxide at the micro-level. As the material heats up to 67 degrees it becomes an extremely strong structure that has wide application.

The new artificial muscle may someday be used in Prosthetics or other medical procedures (2).  Controlled by a sensor similar to human muscles it may function and work nearly identical to human limbs. Researchers hope that such developments will lead to a new era of medicine and robotics. The Sci-Fi is nearly here! 

The team works for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and are astounded at the strength (3). Prior robotics is slower and less agile than human tissue. This new discovery may offer a new wave of development.  Building a suit of such material will allow someone to lift up a small car and throw it across the street.  

It isn’t hard to imagine some places where this would be beneficial. A warehousing company may need to lift large packages and having suits of such material means that the individual worker could carry large boxes easily. It becomes an enhancement of human abilities that can increase productivity and safety. Certainly, such developments are further out in the future but they are likely to be here soon enough.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Google Acquires New Robotic Technology

Google is making moves to acquire robotics firms to develop higher capabilities and products. Their purchase of Boston Dynamics and seven other companies indicate that they have made their way into the military market (1). The program is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that seeks to create a new generation of robots. Combining the knowledge of multiple agencies through acquisition raises Google’s stature in this field.

The goal for the time being is to develop robots that mimic things in nature. It is likely that someday they will try and put different capabilities into the same robot. At present some of the interesting stuff includes a 28 mph running cheetah, SquishBot which changes shape to get in tight areas, and Petman which mimics human abilities (2). Each of these robots takes significant research, designing, and software. 

 Google has developed the Android service, plenty of applications, and has satellites that map the world. They are in a unique position to incorporate the knowledge and abilities of other companies to create new functional uses (3). As a strategy it is likely that Google will obtain additional military contracts and use their wide breadth of knowledge to converge to fast developing new civilian and military products. 

There are other applications outside of military that delve into supply chain management, search and rescue, industrial automation, and space flight. Such robots have high capabilities and are not subject to environmental constraints that humans are. As these robots develop we are likely to officially enter the second industrial revolution as this technology becomes sold to other industries.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sea Lions Hear and React to Navy Sonar

According to the journal Marine Environmental Research San Diego sea lions also react to underwater sonar. Younger sea lions react even more heavily to sonar sounds. According to the study, 15 captive sea lions reacted in varying ways. As they were swimming across the pool to hit a paddle the bursts of sonar forced them to change their heart rate, stay deeper underwater or jump out and stay on land. Some simply refused to finish their routes or participate anymore. 

The Navy is seeking to collect and understand more about the sparse information available about wildlife as it relates to military activities. In this case, the sonar test is helping them understand both the capabilities as well as the impact of underwater sound waves. So far the use of tactical sonar signal (1 s duration, 3250–3450 Hz) has a noticeable impact on this species. 

What is the benefit of this research? Certainly it is nice to know if there is a damaging impact on sea life and if adjusting the frequency lowers the risk. In addition, such research may help us learn about the capabilities of sea life. Robotics is taking special interest in trying to mimic wildlife capabilities in man made equipment. Doing so raises the level of technology available for both civilian and military purposes. At present the study is limited to impact alone. 

Houser, et. al. (2013). Behavioral responses of California sea lions to mid frequency (3250–3450 Hz) sonar signals. Marine Environmental Research, 92.

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