Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vijay Kumar's Lab Combines Tango with a Quadrotor

TerraSwarm researcher  and UPenn professor Vijay Kumar and his students have combined Google's Project Tango smartphone with a quadrotor to create an autonomous drone that can navigate without assistance using only off-the-shelf parts.  By attaching Tango to the drone, the need to install additional sensors is eliminated, at least in the test environment, according to an article written for the phillysportsreport.com.

To watch a video of their drone in action or read more about it, go to:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Internet of Things: A New Class of Computer

MIT Technology Review examined how the tech industry is gearing up for the Internet of Things, a type of computing in which everyday objects have network connectivity and can send and receive data. Cisco Systems has been predicting that as many as fifty billion "things" or objects could be connected to communications networks by 2020, far exceeding the number of today's PCs and smartphones.

University of Michigan professor and TerraSwarm researcher, David Blaauw was interviewed for the article:
“There is lot of quibbling about what to call it, but there’s little doubt that we’re seeing the inklings of a new class of computer,” says David Blaauw, who leads a lab at the University of Michigan that makes functioning computers no bigger than a typed letter o.

As computers with wireless capability gets cheaper, connecting more things to the Internet is becoming more affordable.

Blaauw noted:
“Every time there has been a new class of computing, the total revenue for that class was larger than the previous ones. If that trend holds, it means the Internet of things will be bigger yet again.”

Meanwhile tech companies are lining up to figure out the winning combination of software, interfaces and processors for what's ahead. To read the entire article, go to Business Adapts to a New Style of Computer (May 20, 2014): http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527356/business-adapts-to-a-new-style-of-computer/

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TerraSwarm Roboticist Vijay Kumar Talks about Swarming UAS

TerraSwarm Roboticist and University of Pennsylvania Professor, Vijay Kumar, delivered the final keynote address at AUVSI's  Unmanned Systems North America last week.  His talk about Swarming UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) was highlighted on the AUVSI website and reported in Robotics Tomorrow eMagazine.

Kumar was quoted in the article:
"Small flying robots can move faster than humans and other types of robots in some situations, such as in surveying buildings after an earthquake or other disaster. You can put these things together and build a 3-D map of a collapsed building without actually entering the building." 
"There are many technological challenges in developing such swarms. The robots don’t necessarily need to be very intelligent to do it; they just need to know where they are and what some of the other robots are doing."
According to Kumar, one of the biggest challenges in developing such swarms is power consumption. To read more about these challenges and some of the work his students are doing, read the full article, Swarming UAS are the Future Researcher Kumar Says:

Monday, May 19, 2014

TerraSwarm Workshop Explores Future Directions of Localization

The TerraSwarm Research Center held a Localization Workshop on May 16, 2014 at the University of Michigan, hosted by Professor Prabal Dutta and his group. Twenty four attendees from Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Diego, University of Michigan, and University of Texas Dallas reviewed the state of the art in localization and discussed future directions. Professor Anthony Rowe gave an outbrief from the ISPN Localization Competition, where it was found that the infrastructure-free localization techniques compared quite well to infrastructure-based techniques. Professor George Pappas presented an overview of differential privacy, later prompting Professor Rowe and Professor Edward A. Lee to make connections with the work in big data from new TerraSwarm faculty member Jeff Bilmes. The Localization Workshop provided groundwork for the SwarmOS Workshop on May 29 in Berkeley, where there will be sessions about building Accessors for localization and University of Michigan's Get All The Data (GATD) will be explored. The presentations from the Localization workshop are available at http://www.terraswarm.org/services/wiki/Main/May2014LocalizationWorkshop.