CISR in the Media
Harvard and Deakin University Collaborate at CISR
Harvard University Professor Robert D. Howe has arrived at Deakin University to work on collaborative research links with the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR). "We are very excited to host this world famous Professor in medical robotics and haptics”, said Professor Saeid Nahavandi, CISR Director. Three joint research collaborations in the field of haptically-enabled tele-operative systems have been initiated. Professor Howe also is an Honorary Professor of Deakin University.
CISR to Collaborate with General Dynamics IT on Virtual Training
The Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) will collaborate with US-based systems integration company General Dynamics Information Technology to help improve its advanced robotics and simulation capabilities.
The collaborative framework is centred on future research and development collaborations that will take advantage of CISR's expertise in haptic (force feedback) technology and General Dynamics IT's specialty in rapid graphical training environments, providing capacity for rapid immersive training scenarios in the Defence, Healthcare and Commercial sectors.
Deakin's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Lee Astheimer, and General Dynamics IT's Senior Vice President of the Defence Solutions Division, Al Whitmore, signed the collaborative framework agreement at a ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia.
"From Deakin's perspective, General Dynamics IT is a perfect fit for expanding our capabilities in advanced robotics and simulation into an international market," said Professor Astheimer.
A preliminary project resulting from collaboration between Deakin and General Dynamics IT is the 'Haptically-Enabled' Hot Fire Trainer program that has been developed for the US and Australian Defence Departments, nuclear industry and fire fighters. The system enables trainees to experience realistic training scenarios in a safe synthetic environment.
"The Hot Fire Trainer can accurately present heat, jet reaction and step-up forces, along with sound and visuals, to immerse a trainee in a real house, car, boat or aircraft fire," said Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of CISR.
Go Aussie 'OzBot' - CISR Robocop's on Active Duty
They may not look like Robocop, but the Deakin-designed OzBots are proving tough and fearless allies for a growing number of Australian law enforcement agencies.
Since its genesis several years ago, the OzBot has evolved into a family, consisting of the 18kg OzBot MK8 - and its sturdy little brother, OzBot Jnr. The OzBot MK8 is capable of climbing stairs, carrying a person and even towing a car.
The remotely controlled OzBots are already in-service within a number of Victorian and Queensland police units, including the Special Operations Group, Bomb Response Unit and Police Negotiators. Their potential in other fields is also emerging, with applications in areas such as domestic law enforcement, aeronautics and environmental management being explored.
An OzBot base platform has also been used to demonstrate the Australian Defence Force-funded "OzTouch" haptically-enabled manipulator. This state-of-the-art technology allows technicians to remotely touch and feel things like Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or landmines.
OzBot co-inventor, Dr Mick Fielding, explains that the OzBots are usually used as a "first responder" in security events, providing operators with live video, visible and IR illumination and bi-directional audio.
"The OzBots are hardy and persevering," said Dr Fielding. "In one incident, after an OzBot was thrown from a window by a perpetrator, the police simply turned it around, drove it back in to the building and continued their observations."
"The versatile robot design is as good as anything else in the world," said CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi. "We chose to call it OzBot to promote Australia's robotics capability."
"Australian users have recognised the advantages of committing to an Australian robot, particularly in terms of the logistics of maintaining ongoing customisation of the technology, so that their specific needs can be met."
Get the Motion - CISR's Universal Motion Simulator
The world-leading Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) at Deakin's Waurn Ponds campus has taken "virtual motion" to a whole new level.
Unlike stationary virtual systems, where the user does not actually move, the gigantic robotic arm of the UMS actually delivers realistic accelerations and manoeuvres at high speeds in any direction, and is able to replicate the gut wrenching G-forces of a military jet.
But the UMS is no fairground ride. It is the latest in high-tech simulation that is saving aircraft, defence and automotive industries serious capital. The UMS has been increasingly used by designers and engineers to test new vehicle designs - long before the innovations ever hit the production line.
"Once we load in the specifications of a particular vehicle type, the UMS can create the sensation and types of motion that drivers would experience if they were in the actual vehicle," Deakin's lead UMS engineer, Dr Kyle Nelson explained.
The accuracy is formidable - enabling simulation of even the most unusual vehicle motions, like the large tilt angles found in rugged terrain, or the slipping or rollover scenarios of a tank in the desert - all in a controlled, safe and low-cost environment at Deakin.
According to Dr Nelson, the highly-customised industrial robot that forms the basis of the UMS system offers a far greater range of motion, flexibility and degree of realism than the previous generation of Stewart platform-based simulators.
"The UMS is the first system of its kind in Australia and this research has been achieved through the support of the Australian Research Council," said CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi.
Federal Minister for Defence The Hon Kevin Andrews Visits CISR
The Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Defence, Sarah Henderson MP Liberal member for Corangamite and Major General Paul McLachlan, AM, CSC, toured Centre for Intelligent Systems Research facilities on Monday 16 February 2015. Earlier Minister Andrews held a briefing at Deakin University's Waurn Ponds Campus to update industry and community leaders on the state of the Army's LAND 400 Combat Vehicle program.
"The LAND 400 program is the Australian Army's largest, most expensive and most complex combat vehicle program. It will provide the Army with an essential capability for future land operations," Mr Andrews said.
Deakin Motion.Lab and CISR create 'Vox Lumen' Interactive Visualisations for White Night Melbourne 2015
Deakin Motion.Lab, the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) and augmented reality partner AppeARition have collaborated to present "Vox Lumen: People into Light" at Federation Square for White Night Melbourne 2015.
Vox Lumen transformed Melbourne's iconic meeting place into an interactive world with stunning abstract digital projections, dancer-driven live motion capture, and interactive content that tracked the movement of crowds across Melbourne's biggest night of arts and culture. The event was a combination of live performance and audience interactivity.
The fusion of live performance and technology ran for 12 hours on Federation Square's main stage from 7pm-7am, featuring dancer/choreographer Steph Hutchison who wore CISR's high-tech Xsens motion capture suit. This marker-less full-body suit allows researchers to go mobile, taking a technology that is usually limited to a commercial lab setting into the heart of the city. The inertial-based suit measures the movement of the dancer using an internal gyroscope so that every movement directly affects the content on the screen.
Professor Nahavandi delivers Inaugural Harrison Lecture for Innovation
CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi was one of three keynote speakers at the Inaugural Harrison Lecture for Innovation where he spoke about innovations at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research. Federal Member for Corangamite, Ms Sarah Henderson MP, was the MC for the event, held at the National Wool Museum.
Presented by The Smart Geelong Network in partnership with The Geelong Advertiser, City of Greater Geelong and The National Wool Museum, the Harrison Lecture for Innovation both honours the legacy of James Harrison and looks at the modern, leading edge innovation in the region that is driving the new Geelong economy.
In 1851, at Rocky Point on the banks of the Barwon River in Geelong, James Harrison, invented the first commercial ice-making machine in the world. Thus began a culture for research and innovation in the region that continues today.
CISR Hosts Second Annual Autonomous Ground Vehicle Competition
The AGVC is an annual event intended to stimulate robotics related research in Australian tertiary institutions. The competition requires entrants to develop autonomous robotic vehicles to successfully negotiate an outdoor obstacle course. The 2nd AnnualAutonomous Ground Vehicle Competition (AGVC) was jointly organised by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), and hosted by CISR at the Deakin University Waurn Ponds Campus from 4th-8th December 2014.
AGVC 2014 was another very successful event; the standard of the competition was raised once again and competing teams made significant progress from 2013. This year there were 10 teams from around Australia, with the Mechatronics 2 team from University of New South Wales completing the course and claiming first prize. The winners received a $15,000 prize and the opportunity to compete in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition(IGVC) in the USA. The judging panel also presented a $1,000 Innovation Award for particularly innovative ideas or technologies to the Viking Robotics team from University of New South Wales in recognition of their achievement in controlling a Clearpath Robotics Husky platform solely from a mobile phone. Team UWA from the University of Western Australia were also received a $300 Encouragement Award from the judges.
Event hosts CISR and Executive Chair Professor Saeid Nahavandi wish to thank everyone who contributed their time and effort to AGVC 2014 over the past year, and for working tirelessly over the past week to ensure the success of this national event. In particular, special thanks to AGVC 2014 Coordinator Dr. Mick Fielding with support from Dr. James Mullins, Executive Co-Chair Professor Vinod Puri, Dr. Matthew Watson, Mr. Sameer Deshpande and Ms Trish O'Toole.
CISR would also like to thank DSTO and CSIRO for their support in hosting AGVC 2014, specifically Associate Professor Arthur Filippidis of DSTO, who has been instrumental in his support of AGVC since its conception, Dr. Despina Filippidis of DSTO and CSIRO's Dr. Louis Kyratzis and Dr. Tirtha Bandy, who provided a very rigorous judging panel, scrutinising all aspects of the competition from design, system integration, power management, intelligence and autonomy.
Further information about the 2nd Annual Autonomous Ground Vehicle Competition may be found at agvc's facebook page.
CISR's Counter-IED Robot - Technology for the Future
CISR's haptically-enabled robotic system, which gives operators a realistic 'grasp and feel' of remote objects, could become a vital capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to investigate or disarm explosive devices with reduced risk to our soldiers and defence personnel.
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Deakin University signed a licence agreement today to further develop the technology to a standard suitable for future ADF consideration.
Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said the licence agreement allows Deakin University to engage commercial partners to manufacture and distribute the technology and other haptic systems. "This licence agreement is the capstone of a thorough development and evaluation process that has produced technology of potential benefit to the ADF."
"Certainly one of the big challenges we've had in Afghanistan has been IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). We are looking at technology that can actually make things safer and clearly that type of haptic technology might be quite useful in handling explosives, and in particular home-made ones," Dr Zelinsky said. "It's technology for the future."
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said "The haptic arm system allows operators to remotely grasp and feel the weight and texture of objects in real time and improves their awareness of the situation and ability to take appropriate action"
"Remotely operated counter-IED robots fitted with the haptic arm system could also be employed in civilian environments to safely remove or neutralise hazardous materials."
"It takes the human away from the danger zone but at the same time provides the right level of dexterity and immersion to complete their job," said Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of CISR. "This is cutting edge technology. Technology that nobody else in the world has and we developed it here at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research at Deakin University with Aussie brains."
Dr Zelinsky said the defence organisation worked with the best. "Certainly Saeid and his team are among the best in Australia at what they do and that's why we work with them," he said.
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel....details
The Hon Warren Snowdon examines CISR's Counter-IED Robot at Committee for Geelong Defence Luncheon
On Monday 8th July the Committee for Geelong hosted a Defence-focussed luncheon at Simonds Stadium, sponsored by Winchester Australia and the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory. The keynote speaker for the event was the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel. Minister Snowdon outlined the opportunities available to organisations within the Geelong region to help service the needs of Australia's armed forces.
Minister Snowdon also operated CISR's haptically-enabled counter-IED robot at the luncheon. The CISR robotic system is equipped with 3D vision and can be driven to remote locations and operated from afar. "(The system can be deployed) wherever you don't want a human to be exposed to a particular environment", said CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi.
The distinguishing factor from other robots in its class is that the CISR counter-IED robot has a lifelike sense of touch. Professor Nahavandi explained that the system's intuitive and safe operation enables many practical applications. The multi-point haptic technology may be used for medical surgery or by law enforcement agencies and Defence to de-activate explosive devices.
CISR's Universal Motion Simulator and OzBot™ on Scope
Both CISR's Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) and OzBot mobile platform recently featured on Channel 10's Scope science TV show. The UMS appeared in the Simulations episode, which first aired on Thursday 14th March.
CISR researcher Kyle Nelson explained, "This state-of-the-art platform is designed to train pilots and the drivers of other vehicles by providing them with super realistic flying and driving experiences." The UMS can simulate an incredible range of real vehicular movements and manoeuvres.
"Our motion simulator has six degrees of freedom, including two axis of continuous rotation, so it can move in just about every way a real helicopter can - in both controlled flight and accident situations. And, by swapping the simulator's controls and adjusting the settings of the software that determines its movements, we can reconfigure it to train aeroplane pilots, or the drivers of tanks, trucks or boats."
Making the flying experience even more life-like for pilots is the UMS's haptic technology. This allows a pilot to feel the forces that can act on a helicopter in real life. "We use electroencephalography, or EEG to monitor activity in the pilot's brain, and electrocardiography, or ECG, to monitor the beating of their heart", said Mr Nelson.
CISR's Dr Mick Fielding demonstrated the OzBot robot on Thursday 27th June during Scope's 'Tech Science' episode. As Dr Fielding described, "Ozbot is a remote controlled platform designed for use in both urban and rugged terrain. Its low centre of gravity makes it resistant to tipping, its caterpillar tracks give it great traction on almost any surface, and its motors provide it with impressive strength."
"A pair of cameras mounted at the back of the vehicle can pan, tilt and zoom, and be used together to provide 3D vision with depth perception for the operator...Alternatively, an X-ray source and receiver plate can be mounted on Ozbot, so its operator can see through objects like bags, boxes and cars."
Dr Fielding also described the robotic arm that can be attached to Ozbot. This haptically controlled manipulator can handle objects delicately, and force sensors in its gripper and wrist mean the operator can 'feel' the weight, pressure and texture of objects being inspected.
Watch the UMS episode online....tenplay
Watch the OzBot episode online....tenplay
See more UMS and OzBot....CISR YouTube Channel