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Technical Paper

VEVI: A Virtual Environment Teleoperations Interface for Planetary Exploration

Remotely operating complex robotic mechanisms in unstructured natural environments is difficult at best. When the communications time delay is large, as for a Mars exploration rover operated from Earth, the difficulties become enormous. Conventional approaches, such as rate control of the rover actuators, are too inefficient and risky. The Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center has developed over the past four years an architecture for operating science exploration robots in the presence of large communications time delays. The operator interface of this system is called the Virtual Environment Vehicle Interface (VEVI), and draws heavily on Virtual Environment (or Virtual Reality) technology. This paper describes the current operational version of VEVI, which we refer to as version 2.0. In this paper we will describe the VEVI design philosophy and implementation, and will describe some past examples of its use in field science exploration missions.
Technical Paper

Operator Interfaces and Network-Based Participation for Dante II

Dante II, an eight-legged walking robot developed by the Dante project, explored the active volcanic crater of Mount Spurr in July 1994. In this paper, we describe the operator interfaces and the network-based participation methods used during the Dante II mission. Both virtual environment and multi-modal operator interfaces provided mission support for supervised control of Dante II. Network-based participation methods including message communications, satellite transmission, and a World-Wide Web server enabled remote science and public interaction. We believe that these human-machine interfaces represent a significant advance in robotic technologies for exploration.
Technical Paper

The NASA Ames Controlled Environment Research Chamber - Present Status

The Controlled Environment Research Chamber (CERC) at the NASA Ames Research Center was created for early-on investigation of promising new technologies for life support of advanced space exploration missions. The CERC facility is being used to address the advanced technology requirements necessary to implement an integrated working and living environment for a planetary habitat. The CERC, along with a human-powered centrifuge, a planetary terrain simulator, advanced displays, and a virtual reality capability, is able to develop and demonstrate applicable technologies for future planetary exploration. There will be several robotic mechanisms performing exploration tasks external to the habitat that will be controlled through the virtual environment to provide representative workloads for the crew.
Technical Paper

Micro-Flying Robotics in Space Missions

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board issued a major recommendation to NASA. Prior to return to flight, NASA should develop and implement a comprehensive inspection plan to determine the structural integrity of all Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) system components. This inspection plan should take advantage of advanced non-destructive inspection technology. This paper describes a non-intrusive technology with a micro-flying robot to continuously monitor inside a space vehicle for any stress related fissures, cracks and foreign material embedded in walls, tubes etc.
Technical Paper

Navigation in a Challenging Martian Environment Using Data Mining Techniques

This paper discussed how data mining techniques could give advantage to the robot in navigation, in terms of speed. The input of our navigation system is the sensory information collected by the robot's equipped landmark sensor and infra-red sensor, the process of the system is the proposed data mining technique, and the output of the system is the execution of the moving direction in a 2D Martian environment. The results demonstrate efficient goal-oriented navigation using data mining techniques.
Journal Article

Autonomy and Intelligent Technologies for Advanced Inspection Systems

This paper features a set of advanced technologies for autonomy and intelligence in advanced inspection systems of facility operations. These technologies offer a significant contribution to set a path to establish a system and an operating environment with autonomy and intelligence for inspection, monitoring and safety via gas and ambient sensors, video mining and speech recognition commands on unmanned ground vehicles and other platforms to support operational activities in the Cryogenics Test bed and other facilities and vehicles. These advanced technologies are in current development and progress and their functions and operations require guidance and formulation in conjunction with the development team(s) toward the system architecture.