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Chen J.,IdaTech LLC | Chitrakaran V.K.,OC Robotics | Dawson D.M.,Clemson University
Automatica | Year: 2011

In this paper, an adaptive nonlinear estimator is developed to identify the range and the 3D Euclidean coordinates of feature points on a moving object using a single fixed camera. No explicit model is used to describe the movement of the object. Homography-based techniques are used in the development of the object kinematics, while an adaptive nonlinear estimator is designed by employing signal filters. Lyapunov design methods are utilized to facilitate the design of the estimator and filters as well as the convergence and stability analysis. The performance of the estimator is demonstrated by simulation results. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Buckingham R.,OC Robotics
Nuclear Engineering International | Year: 2011

Safire is a snake-arm robot developed by CC Robotics and Ontario Power Generation to perform outage inspections in the Upper Feeder Cabinets (UFC) in Candu reactors. The robot offers new inspection tools and reduces worker's job, and is designed for the challenging work environment combining radiation, elevated temperatures, and confined spaces. The robot is a remotely controlled robot that is equipped with a 2.2m long, 12.5mm wide, 18 degrees-of-freedom arm that literally snakes under the catwalk and between the hangers, carrying cameras to take images of the pipe work. Safire is controlled from within a trailer parked up to 500m from the UFC. Safire includes tip-mounted camera tool and high power LED lights, and the robot is designed to be a dose-tolerant workhorse, gathering data during every outage in order to build up a picture of the state of the feeders and track any changes. Source

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.93M | Year: 2014

The global Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) market was $25.5bn in 2001 and is growing. The market potential for future robotics and autonomous systems is of huge value to the UK. The need for expansion in this important sector is well recognised, as evidenced by the Chancellor of the Exchequers announcement of £35m investment in the sector in 2012, the highlighting of this sector in the 2012 BIS Foresight report Technology and Innovation Futures and the identification of robotics and autonomous systems by the Minister for Universities and Science in 2013 as one of the 8 great technologies that will drive future growth. This expansion will be fuelled by a step change in RAS capability, the key to which is their increased adaptability. For example, a home care robot must adapt safely to its owners unpredictable behaviour; micro air vehicles will be sent into damaged buildings without knowing the layout or obstructions; a high value manufacturing robot will need to manufacture small batches of different components. The key to achieving increased adaptability is that the innovators who develop them must, themselves, be very adaptable people. FARSCOPE, the Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems Centre for PhD Education, aims to meet the need for a new generation of innovators who will drive the robotics and autonomous systems sector in the coming decade and beyond. The Centre will train over 50 students in the essential RAS technical underpinning skills, the ability to integrate RAS knowledge and technologies to address real-world problems, and the understanding of wider implications and applications of RAS and the ability to innovate within, and beyond, this sector. FARSCOPE will be delivered by a partnership between the University of Bristol (UoB) and the University of the West of England (UWE). It will bring together the dedicated 3000 square metre Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), one of the largest robotics laboratories in Europe, with a trainin and supervising team drawn from UoB and UWE offering a wide breadth of experience and depth of expertise in autonomous systems and related topics. The FARSCOPE centre will exploit the strengths of BRL, including medical and healthcare robotics, energy autonomous robotics, safe human-robot interactions, soft robotics, unconventional computing, experimental psychology, biomimicry, machine vision including vision-based navigation and medical imaging and an extensive aerial robotics portfolio including unmanned air vehicles and autonomous flight control. Throughout the four-year training programme industry and stakeholder partners will actively engage with the CDT, helping to deliver the programme and sharing both their domain expertise and their commercial experience with FARSCOPE students. This includes regular seminar series, industrial placements, group grand challenge project, enterprise training and the three-year individual research project. Engaged partners include BAE Systems, DSTL, Blue Bear Systems, SciSys, National Composites Centre, Rolls Royce, Toshiba, NHS SouthWest and OC Robotics. FARSCOPE also has commitment from a range of international partners from across Europe, the Americas and Asia who are offering student exchange placements and who will enhance the global perspective of the programme.

News Article
Site: http://www.rdmag.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

Previous studies have suggested the fear of snakes started when mammals developed perceptive abilities capable of focusing on threatening things. Regardless of whether one’s fear approaches phobia—ophidiophobia—or just a passing revulsion, it may be an echo of an ancient mammalian fear pre-wired into the brain. But the snake’s sleek body allows it to navigate efficiently through a variety of terrains, including subterranean tunnels. And humans can learn something from that. Recently, OC Robotics successfully demonstrated their snake-arm robot in an in-bore pipe welding feasibility test called the LaserPipe project. “Modern industrial sites require regular maintenance to replace or repair deteriorated pipes,” according to the U.K.-based OC Robotics. “A result of the challenging environment, confined space and limited external access is that external orbital cutting and welding processes are not viable for many applications and, consequently, in-bore remote processing has generated significant interest in recent years.” In the test, the snake-arm robot successfully demonstrated remote location of a weld joint, alignment of the laser, and in-bore laser welding. The technology is driven by wire ropes and controlled via OC Robotics’ proprietary software. “Snake-arm robots are ideally suited for confined and hazardous applications, as the motors, electronics and control systems are situated outside the environment, with only the arm itself being deployed into the work space,” according to OC Robotics. The project was a collaboration with TWI Ltd. Other institutions, such as Carnegie Mellon Univ., have developed snake robots for use in disaster relief. Additionally, the development has popped up in the medical field, among other areas.

Buckingham R.,OC Robotics | Graham A.,OC Robotics
Industrial Robot | Year: 2012

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of snake-arm robots to conduct inspection and repair operations within nuclear power plants. The systems that have been developed and deployed are described. Operational experience and results are provided. Inspection and repair of aging plant is increasingly important to continue to generate electricity safely from high value assets. Design/methodology/approach - Snake-arm robots are hyper-redundant, multi-jointed, wire rope drive manipulators that are able to snake between obstructions and gain access to areas that are inaccessible to people. Findings - The benefits to nuclear operators arising from the deployment of snake arm robots include significant dose saving, increased quality and quantity of acquired data and the ability to enable repairs in highly confined spaces. Originality/value - The two case studies are first-of-kind applications and indicate a direction of travel for the coming decades, both in the nuclear sector and far beyond. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Source

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