Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Goodbye Reactor

The Boom

The Reactor - note robot on right

Today is my last day working on Remote Handling at the Joint European Torus (JET). I've certainly learned alot about large scale applied robotics in this very unique environment. The size, precision, man-in-the-loop feedback, Human-machine-interfaces and large forces involved in the systems here are much greater than anything I'd come across while working at a University (something to do with funding perhaps).

In the words of my current boss 'they struggeled to keep me stimulated' which is why its onwards to the PhD...

Interestingly the anthropomorphic robot here (you can see it with its arms folded in the above image) has a limited range of abilities (though much greater than any robot I'd seen elsewhere) so tools are specially designed and adapted to be used by this system. In my PhD I'll be doing the opposite and attempting to get a humanoid robot to move like a human and therefore be able to use human tools.

Mail Strike Cancelled

New sensor finally here! Seems to work but analogue voltage response appears to be non-linear, a little bit annoying but shouldn't take that long to figure out.

I have 1 evening to integrate it into the enactive torch before moving out of my house and into desk-less limbo. The race is on!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Another good definition

"Enactive knowledge is neither symbolic nor iconic. It is direct, in the sense that it is natural and intuitive, based on experience and the perceptual consequences of motor acts" [from the Enactive07 website.]

Friday, 12 October 2007

Enactive Knowledge

Found a great definition of Enactive Knowledge.

I'm still learning about Enaction in preparation for the upcoming Enactive 07 conference. It appears that such devices as the Haptic Torch are Enactive Systems due to the physical motion used by the user to identify scenery. I've always thought this to be better than a system that simply presents all obstacle information to the user without any sort of feedback. All you end up with is redundant and unwanted information that confuses the user and makes it harder to identify important features.

New Enactive Rig

Dreamed up some improvements to the Enactive Rig and modelled it in Catia. Looks like it should work. Time and money are of course the deciding factors. Would hate to spend money on getting this thing manufactured then leave it sitting on a desk because I'm too busy with PhD.

Need to get priorities right that's for sure!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

DS Homebrew

Discovered this great gadget awhile ago (but quiet at work today so I discovered it a bit more). Its a RoboDS which seems to be the pre-built application of the DSerial2 cart.

Was thinking of getting into arduino as PICs are a pain to source and the MPLAB environment isn't as friendly as processing. This might sway me though as the DS would make a great development platform (its already got sound, a screen for debugging and a touch screen for an interface!) Not sure how much memory you have to play with but an SD adaptor in the other (front) game slot could solve this for $40 (and I already have a DS - bonus!).

Of course the temptation to play Zelda when things are getting bad would require some hefty will power. It would also be rather gutting to see both screens permenantly blank out after accidently pouring in 10V.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Enactive Rig

Spent a bit of time designing a (very simple) desk based enactive torch rig.

Really this model just illustrates a concept (and is better than trying to describe such a system verbally).

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Simple Life Form

Got the animation studio set up again last night, its been awhile but made this (and a few other things). Am still just playing with this medium before commiting to something bigger (as you can imagine it takes ages to make anything). Also still playing with different software, this one is AnimatorDV, pretty good for free.

Royal Mail halts science

About to start working with a new sensor for the enactive torch. Looks great, sounds even better. Where is it? Ask her majesty's postmen! This is the second time a strike has got in the way of me and this sensor.
This new ultrasound should get rid of the some of the glitches that plauged the haptic torch. The main one being a dead-zone which ignored anything closer than about 2 inches.
With any luck this post strike (the third one this summer!) will be over in less than a week...


Welcome to The_Ad_Lab! I tried setting this up before but didn't really keep up with it, however I'm about to leave my day job, PhD start date is getting closer and some good things are happening in my other research. Lets start blogging!