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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."
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.
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, 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.
White Night Melbourne....details
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.
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 Annual Autonomous 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 www.agvc.net.au.
Geelong Advertiser....details(238 KB)
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
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)....details
Geelong Advertiser....details(168 KB)
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.
Geelong Advertiser....details(37 KB)
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
CISR's Ozbot™ mobile platform recently appeared in a 2013 Avalon Air Show feature story in the May issue of the Silicon Chip magazine.
"OzBot is a 'ruggedised mobile platform' for use by the military and law enforcement authorities. Developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), it can relay video and audio streams to a hand-held controller. In addition, auxiliary devices can be attached to the vehicle such as an X-ray scanner to view the inside of a suspicious package... The device can navigate over rough terrain and can also climb stairs"
“If you’ve ever wanted to slip on a fighter pilot suit, or step right into a video game, or try landing a helicopter with engine failure; then this is your wildest fantasy come true”. This was the introduction for the CISR Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) when it recently featured on the March 22 episode of the Discovery Channel series, Daily Planet.
Presenter Dan Riskin described Deakin's Universal Motion Simulator as the “ultimate virtual experience”, a platform that can simulate just about any vehicle, from motorcycles to tanks. Currently the UMS is used as a flight simulator for fighter pilots; it’s safer and costs much less than taking you up in a real jet.
In the Universal Motion Simulator, the pilot looks through 3D virtual-reality goggles for a realistic view, is bombarded by “killer speakers” and subjected to intense aerial manoeuvres that can pull several g’s of force. But what sets the UMS apart is how it feels. As CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi explains even the control stick is designed to feel like the real thing: “It can reflect the forces external to the aircraft, bringing it to the user’s hand”.
As Discovery Channel viewers learned, at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research we can also read the reaction of a pilot’s brain as he flies using electroencephalograph (EEG) signals. “We want to see through the analysis of EEG signals whether a person has certain behaviour and can learn certain tasks faster, or if the person is not suitable for certain tasks. We want to detect whether a person is suitable to become a pilot” says Prof. Nahavandi. The Discovery Channel feature shows researchers testing pilot’s behaviour in severe weather conditions to find out who adapts more quickly in different scenarios.
“People who see the simulator always have the same reaction: how can I take a ride on that?” If this is you, why not check out the CISR YouTube Channel to see more UMS footage or contact us for details on joining the team!
See more UMS....CISR YouTube Channel
The CISR team recently put science communicator Dr Graham Phillips through his paces on the new Universal Motion Simulator (UMS). Dr Phillips' report on his experience aired on the first episode of ABC TV's premier science program, Catalyst on March 15 2012.
As Dr Phillips discovered, the UMS looks very different to more conventional flight simulators because it is designed to overcome some of their limitations, providing a higher range of motion compared to traditional Stewart platform simulators, at a lower cost. CISR Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi explained that the UMS can "provide realistic-type motion, whether it is a land vehicle, air vehicle or sea vehicles".
Dr Phillips revealed that the simulators controls feature "advanced force generators and haptic technology" developed at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research. Prof. Nahavandi explained that these force reflective devices allow the pilot to feel as though they are actually flying a real aircraft, "if you hit some turbulence, you can actually feel the force in your hand".
Dr Phillips found during his test flight that "the UMS's robotic arm doesn't respond to just the pilot's controls. Rather, to provide more realism, it's one of the new breed of simulators that creates a virtual model of aircraft being flown, together with the forces that affect it, such as turbulence. That entire virtual environment is packaged up and sent to the robotic arm, and that determines how it moves."
Impressed by its capability, Dr Phillips called the UMS an amazing machine, "Very realistic, I must say".
The next generation in flight simulation was unveiled at the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) today by Federal Innovation Minister Kim Carr. CISR's Haptically Enabled Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) will take trainee pilots and drivers through their paces in a safer, cheaper and more realistic training environment than currently available elsewhere in the world.
"Traditional flight simulators have restricted movement and a limited ability to replicate a real flying experience. Robotic experts at CISR have integrated the latest in haptics technology - adding a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects - to produce a commercial system that is ideal for flight simulation," Senator Carr said.
Senator Carr said that the Australian Government is proud to have invested $285,000 in this technology through the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme. "We are excited that new funding of $210,000 - recently awarded under the ARC Linkage Projects scheme - will help CISR researchers utilise the technology to develop effective pilot training methods and improve aviation safety."
"No other simulator can provide the full experience of flying a military jet with all the gut wrenching G-forces while only seven metres off the ground," explained Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research.
"What sets the UMS apart from standard simulators is the integration of haptics technology, which provides a sense of touch and feel to virtual or remote objects, and its ability move at high speed and in any direction."
"While suited for training pilots, the UMS is also the perfect platform for simulating land based vehicles including tanks and other armoured vehicles, trucks, race cars and motorbikes. Its training capabilities are endless."
Geelong Advertiser....details(2.2 MB)
The Australian....details(102 KB)
Australian Popular Science....details
Geelong Advertiser....details(151 KB)Universal Motion Simulator Flyer(466 KB)
Nelson, K., Black, T., Creighton, D. and Nahavandi, S.
“A Simulation-Based Control Interface Layer for a High-Fidelity Anthropomorphic Training Simulator”
Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2010, Orlando, USA.
PDF (252 KB) | Web | BibTeX | Endnote/RefMan
On 8 December, Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips announced $100,000 funding to support the activities of ICT Geelong, Victoria's high-tech development cluster.
Minister Rich-Phillips said the funding was provided under the government's Innovation Through Clusters program to promote the region's ICT potential, foster collaboration and progress key projects which would continue to deliver economic benefits to the Geelong region.
Robert Reed, Chairman of ICT Geelong, said the region had some great infrastructure and capability to leverage off. “Deakin University is undertaking world-class research and live projects with industry partners in haptics, robotics and simulation.”
Read more....The Australian
Leading mechatronic company Wittenstein is showcasing CISR's Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) in the October edition of their MOVE magazine.
The Universal Motion Simulator is a state-of-the-art haptically enabled, full motion simulator for training and performance analysis which features Wittenstein's control loading systems (CLS) to replicate helicopter control. Wittenstein's CLS includes a cyclic stick, a collective stick and directional pedals which allow the simulator user to feel completely immersed in the real-world training environment.
"This project is another opportunity for CISR to discover and deliver innovative research that directly benefits society through the creation of knowledge and the provision of solutions to real-world problems", says CISR Director, Professor Saeid Nahavandi.
CISR's Universal Motion Simulator project is also supported by the Australian Department of Defence, the Australian Research Council and Rockwell Collins.
CISR's Ozbot™ mobile platform recently featured in the November issue of the Qantas inflight magazine.
"a diminutive mechanical superhero - the OzBot, a nimble machine that can check for explosive devices using 3D stereovision, tow a 4WD vehicle or, using X-ray equipment, approach an armed offender during a hostage situation"
CISR's Ozbot™ ruggedised mobile platform provides first-responder capability for tactical reconnaissance or mission critical tasks.
OzBot™ uses haptic technology that allows a user to "feel" objects being inspected by the robot, despite being up to 500 metres away.
The OzBot™ platform is suitable for both urban and unstructured terrain including missions that require a stair climbing capability.
|CISR's OzBot, as featured on the the New Inventors program along with CISR team members Mick Fielding and James Mullins|
Can technology help the blind 'see' art?
|Haptic technology gives sense of touch to virtual medical procedures
"OzBot is one of Victoria Police's greatest assets. It goes where no humans dare - under cars, into the room with an armed offender and next to a suspicious package. It is fearless"
- Extract from Police Life magazine, February 2010
|The Haptic Gripper, invented by Prof Saeid Nahavandi & Zoran Najdovski, was featured on a recent episode of the New Inventors|
CISR were participants at an Australian Defence & Homeland Security Business Delegation, comprising of 6 companies, which recently visited New Delhi and Mumbai.
Frontier India Strategic and Defense....details
The OzBot, developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, uses haptic technology that allows an operator to physically feel remote environments through position-force control and experience realistic force feedback.
Canberra Times (p. 2)....details (194 KB)
Project title: Haptic realisation of visual art for the blind and visually impaired
Australian Research Council....details (37KB)
Geelong College AD Astra magazine (p. 20)....details (2.4MB)
The Greek word haptikos means a sense of touch, so Professor Saeid Nahavandi thought it would be perfect as the name for a futuristic device that might have come straight from a science fiction novel.
It's a device that would allow a surgeon in Melbourne to operate directly on a patient hundreds of kilometres away, out in the Mallee or up in the mountains. Or even permit an astronomer on Earth to pick up and feel and test the soil on the moon or Mars.
Professor Saeid Nahavandi and Dr Doug Creighton have been awarded funding for their ARC Linkage Project titled "Distributed Real-time Multiobjective Scheduling for Joinery Manufacturing Processes using Discrete Event Simulation".
Australia's furniture manufacturing industry is a major contributor to the economic wealth of the Australian economy with an annual $9.5 billion turnover. The Australian Furnishing Industry Association (AFIA) estimates that there are 15,000 furniture design and manufacturing firms, employing 66,000 people. However, Australian manufacturers are experiencing high levels of fixed cost (associated with plant and equipment) and low equipment-utilisation ratio and long delivery time. This research aims to enable Australian manufacturers to stay competitive in the dynamic global market, by providing a better strategy to allocate their constrained resources including workforces and facilities.
CTD success stories....Several other CTD projects have also been selected for further development towards implementation under the new CTD Extension Program. One of these success stories is a counter-improvised explosive device robot being developed in collaboration with Deakin University
A major grant has been awarded to researchers at Deakin University developing an intelligent robot that allows its operator to feel what the robot's gripper is feeling.
Deakin University media release....details (23 KB)
A unique robot that can deliver sensory information to Australian soldiers as they use the machine to inspect suspicious or dangerous objects from a distance could be on the front line within two years
The Age....details (134 KB)
When Andrew Nowrojee was busy making his postapocalyptic robot film, little did he know that film giant Pixar was coming up with a lookalike creatures
The Herald Sun....details (118 KB)
Software developed in Australia that uses rapid modelling tools and techniques to improve airport security systems could be on the market within 12 months
The Australian... details (161 KB))
Deakin researchers have developed initiatives which are revolutionising airport security systems across the globe
The Geelong Advertiser... details (107 KB)
The innovative software platform, developed by Deakin University's Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, is based on "discrete event" simulation technology, using software algorithms developed in-house.
The researchers' software simulates the functionality of baggage-handling systems and can portray how a system at a typical airport would cope with upgrades to security systems, taking into account individual airport infrastructure and flight schedules.
Deakin University researchers have developed an innovative software platform - believed to be the first of its kind - which allows for simulation of baggage handling systems and how they would cope with changes to airport security.