Video: Crowdsourcing App Helps Space Agency Improve Robots
A free iPhone video game app turns your Parrot AR.Drone into a simulated spacecraft, which you can use to simulate docking on the International Space Station. You get points for accuracy and speed, and the European Space Agency gets tons of data to help make better space robots. (Source: European Space Agency/Anneke Le Floc'h)
Excellent story and unique application for using mobile devices. I don't think I have the dexterity and coordination to make this work but I'm sure there is a whole generation of gamers than can help them gather data. Thanks.
Glad you enjoyed the story, Al. I thought it was a fun app, and also good to know that at least some space agencies are open to the crowdsourcing concept. I've heard of SETI's requests for help from millions of people with PCs, but not anything about NASA using the crowdsourcing approach. Anyone know?
Every time I see one of these stories, I can't help but think of an old Chicago-ism: "They're muscling in our rackets." Increasingly, I'm seeing a lot of tasks that robots can do more effectively than humans. And the kicker to this story is they now want all of us to help them learn. I know it's logical; it's all in the best interests of science and technology; it's probably helpful to mankind in a hundred different ways that I can't even imagine. Still, I have this niggling fear, and I know it's not the most enlightened view -- but they're muscling in our rackets.
In addition to to using crowd sourcing to improve their design, ESA also builds public awareness to their space programs (which could ultimately lead to more favorable funding for certain programs by the public and their government).
Chuck, your comments make me think of black and white 40s gangster movies, many of them located in Chicago. Anyway, in this case I think teaching robots how to dock on the ISS makes more sense than trying to teach humans to do it. Of course, astronauts and people who want to be astronauts might not agree.
Ann, maybe there's a movie here -- a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Public Enemy. As to it making sense for applications that humans don't want to do, I concur. From a completely logical standpoint, I know that robotics make sense in countless applications. Admittedly, my fear is illogical. Still, every time I read one of these stories...
Al, one aspect of AI that these researchers are trying to fulfill with crowdsourcing is to gather lots of data (lots of people in the crowd). Even if you were not very skilled at it, that data might be useful as well.
The main point of crowdsourcing is big numbers, so lots of data. In this case, ESA has designed the app to motivate players to do an excellent job, thus providing the type of data they want, i.e., what are the best ways to approach Object A reliably with millions of copies of Object B, in turn learning methods that can be taught to other robots.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.