Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bug-Bots in WR News!

Club member S.R. brought us this story from the January 30 edition of WR News about tiny, insect sized Robots who will aid soldiers and help spy on bad guys - Text copied below:

"You might think twice the next time you spot a fly on the wall! The U.S. Air Force plans to design flying robots disguised or made to look like, insects. The bug-like robots could spy on enemies, including terrorists, in other countries. They could also conduct missions that are too dangerous for humans. Today's flying robots tend to be controlled by pilots on the ground. The new bug robots will fly on their own, using instructions that have been preprogrammed. The robots could be as small as bees. The tiny machines will have wings that flap like those of real insects. That will let them fly undetected, or unnoticed, into buildings. "There would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm," explains researcher Greg Parker. He helps direct the research project at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio "If we know there's a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would [help us]. " The robots will also assist U.S. troops by taking pictures and recording video and sounds, including enemies' voices. The flying machines could even fire tiny weapons!
Engineers hope the robots will be airborne by 2030. "More and more military research is going into things that are small," says Loren Thompson, a defense expert involved with the project. "This type of technology is really the wave of the future."

Thanks S.R.!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Annoucing Google Mars!

Quoting the NASA News Service -
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA and Google announced Monday the release of a new Mars mode in Google Earth that brings to everyone's desktop a high-resolution, three-dimensional view of the Red Planet.

Besides providing a rich, immersive 3D view of Mars that will aid public understanding of Mars science, the new mode, Google Mars 3D, also gives researchers a platform for sharing data similar to what Google Earth provides for Earth scientists.

The mode enables users to fly virtually through enormous canyons and scale huge mountains on Mars that are much larger than any found on Earth. Users also can explore the Red Planet through the eyes of the Mars rovers and other Mars missions, providing a unique perspective of the entire planet.

Users can see some of the latest satellite imagery from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other probes orbiting the Red Planet. Viewers can learn about new discoveries and explore indexes of available Mars imagery. The new Mars mode also allows users to add their own 3D content to the Mars map to share with the world.

Today's announcement is the latest benefit from a Space Act Agreement NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., signed with Google in November 2006. Under its terms, NASA and Google agreed to collaborate to make NASA's data sets available to the world.

NASA Ames, along with its partners at Google, Carnegie Mellon University, SETI, and other institutions, helped produce the data to make this possible.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Google is headquartered close to Ames in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The address / link is - Try it out. There's quite a bit of information about Mars there. The application is really quite cool. It should be a great research tool.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Big Week For Anniversary's!

This is a big week for anniversarys is space science and Robot related news. This past week marks the 40th anniversary of the Appolo 8 mission. This mission is significant because it was the first manned orbit of the moon and for the famous photograph by astronaut William Anders of the "Earthrise" above the moon. - Info here:
On Jan. 3rd, 2004 the Mars rover Spirit landed on Mars and started its amazing life of exploration. The rover Opportunity touched down 21 days later. Deatails here: -
And finally last but certainly not least Jan. 2nd is the celebrated birthday of Isaac Asimov. Dr. Asimov never knew his exact birthdate because of differences in the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars and because of a lack of exact records, but it was sometime between October 4, 1919 and January 2, 1920. He was one of the Grand Masters of science fiction writing and a personal inspiration to me. While Asimov did not invent the Robot stories he took them to a next level from pulp fiction magazines with his development of the "Three Laws Of Robotics" and his Robot novel series and short stories, ultimately weaving the destiny of mankind, more than 20000 years in the future from the subtle manipulations of two telepathic Robots, R. Daneel Olivaw and R. Giskard Reventlov. After reading these stories the idea of telepathic Robots isn't only plausible, but kind fo scary! I hope everyone who read blog this will consider for a moment how Asimov and authors like him have truly influenced our present day life and our future as several generations of scientists, inspired by their creative genius have worked to make science fiction reality. Happy Birthday Dr. Asimov!

NASA TV to air FIRST kickoff event

For those of us who receive NASA TV, tomorrow Jan. 3rd at 10:00AM, they'll be broadcasting coverage of the 2009 season FIRST kickoff event from New Hampshire. Details here:

For information about FIRST and the FLL go here:

Qiuck Update

Sorry for several post today, but these past few weeks were quite busy. When we last left our Robot club we had all made good progress towards finishing our models and were about to begin working on the code that would enable our Robots to complete their objective. Hopefully we'll be adding some pictures this week - Stay tuned!

Happy Holidays & 2009

Just a note to wish everyone a Happy 20091 I hope everyone's holiday week was restful and warm. I'm looking forward to a big year robotically in 2009!