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Design and Fabrication of a Low-Cost Gripper for a Swarm Robotic Platform

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This thesis details the design and construction of a torque-controlled robotic gripper for use with the Pheeno swarm robotics platform. This project required expertise from several fields of study including: robotic design, programming, rapid prototyping, and control theory. An electronic

This thesis details the design and construction of a torque-controlled robotic gripper for use with the Pheeno swarm robotics platform. This project required expertise from several fields of study including: robotic design, programming, rapid prototyping, and control theory. An electronic Inertial Measurement Unit and a DC Motor were both used along with 3D printed plastic components and an electronic motor control board to develop a functional open-loop controlled gripper for use in collective transportation experiments. Code was developed that effectively acquired and filtered rate of rotation data alongside other code that allows for straightforward control of the DC motor through experimentally derived relationships between the voltage applied to the DC motor and the torque output of the DC motor. Additionally, several versions of the physical components are described through their development.

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2019-05

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Attitudes Towards Autonomous Vehicles (AVs): Insights Gained through Surveys and Proposed Experiments on a Small-Scale Traffic Testbed

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In the next decade or so, there will be a shift in the industry of transportation across the world. Already today we have autonomous vehicles (AVs) tested in the Greater Phoenix area showing that the technology has improved to a

In the next decade or so, there will be a shift in the industry of transportation across the world. Already today we have autonomous vehicles (AVs) tested in the Greater Phoenix area showing that the technology has improved to a level available to the public eye. Although this technology is not yet released commercially (for the most part), it is being used and will continue to be used to develop a safer future. With a high incidence of human error causing accidents, many expect that autonomous vehicles will be safer than human drivers. They do still require driver attention and sometimes intervention to ensure safety, but for the most part are much safer. In just the United States alone, there were 40,000 deaths due to car accidents last year [1]. If traffic fatalities were considered a disease, this would be an epidemic. The technology behind autonomous vehicles will allow for a much safer environment and increased mobility and independence for people who cannot drive and struggle with public transport. There are many opportunities for autonomous vehicles in the transportation industry. Companies can save a lot more money on shipping by cutting the costs of human drivers and trucks on the road, even allowing for simpler drop shipments should the necessary AI be developed.Research is even being done by several labs at Arizona State University. For example, Dr. Spring Berman’s Autonomous Collective Systems Lab has been collaborating with Dr. Nancy Cooke of Human Systems Engineering to develop a traffic testbed, CHARTopolis, to study the risks of driver-AV interactions and the psychological effects of AVs on human drivers on a small scale. This testbed will be used by researchers from their labs and others to develop testing on reaction, trust, and user experience with AVs in a safe environment that simulates conditions similar to those experienced by full-size AVs. Using a new type of small robot that emulates an AV, developed in Dr. Berman’s lab, participants will be able to remotely drive around a model city environment and interact with other AV-like robots using the cameras and LiDAR sensors on the remotely driven robot to guide them.
Although these commercial and research systems are still in testing, it is important to understand how AVs are being marketed to the general public and how they are perceived, so that one day they may be effectively adopted into everyday life. People do not want to see a car they do not trust on the same roads as them, so the questions are: why don’t people trust them, and how can companies and researchers improve the trustworthiness of the vehicles?

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2019-05

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Image Processing for an Autonomous Throwing Arm and Smart Catching System

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In this paper, we propose an autonomous throwing and catching system to be developed as a preliminary step towards the refinement of a robotic arm capable of improving strength and motor function in the limb. This will be accomplished by

In this paper, we propose an autonomous throwing and catching system to be developed as a preliminary step towards the refinement of a robotic arm capable of improving strength and motor function in the limb. This will be accomplished by first autonomizing simpler movements, such as throwing a ball. In this system, an autonomous thrower will detect a desired target through the use of image processing. The launch angle and direction necessary to hit the target will then be calculated, followed by the launching of the ball. The smart catcher will then detect the ball as it is in the air, calculate its expected landing location based on its initial trajectory, and adjust its position so that the ball lands in the center of the target. The thrower will then proceed to compare the actual landing position with the position where it expected the ball to land, and adjust its calculations accordingly for the next throw. By utilizing this method of feedback, the throwing arm will be able to automatically correct itself. This means that the thrower will ideally be able to hit the target exactly in the center within a few throws, regardless of any additional uncertainty in the system. This project will focus of the controller and image processing components necessary for the autonomous throwing arm to be able to detect the position of the target at which it will be aiming, and for the smart catcher to be able to detect the position of the projectile and estimate its final landing position by tracking its current trajectory.

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2018-05

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Incorporating auditory models in speech/audio applications

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Following the success in incorporating perceptual models in audio coding algorithms, their application in other speech/audio processing systems is expanding. In general, all perceptual speech/audio processing algorithms involve minimization of an objective function that directly/indirectly incorporates properties of human perception.

Following the success in incorporating perceptual models in audio coding algorithms, their application in other speech/audio processing systems is expanding. In general, all perceptual speech/audio processing algorithms involve minimization of an objective function that directly/indirectly incorporates properties of human perception. This dissertation primarily investigates the problems associated with directly embedding an auditory model in the objective function formulation and proposes possible solutions to overcome high complexity issues for use in real-time speech/audio algorithms. Specific problems addressed in this dissertation include: 1) the development of approximate but computationally efficient auditory model implementations that are consistent with the principles of psychoacoustics, 2) the development of a mapping scheme that allows synthesizing a time/frequency domain representation from its equivalent auditory model output. The first problem is aimed at addressing the high computational complexity involved in solving perceptual objective functions that require repeated application of auditory model for evaluation of different candidate solutions. In this dissertation, a frequency pruning and a detector pruning algorithm is developed that efficiently implements the various auditory model stages. The performance of the pruned model is compared to that of the original auditory model for different types of test signals in the SQAM database. Experimental results indicate only a 4-7% relative error in loudness while attaining up to 80-90 % reduction in computational complexity. Similarly, a hybrid algorithm is developed specifically for use with sinusoidal signals and employs the proposed auditory pattern combining technique together with a look-up table to store representative auditory patterns. The second problem obtains an estimate of the auditory representation that minimizes a perceptual objective function and transforms the auditory pattern back to its equivalent time/frequency representation. This avoids the repeated application of auditory model stages to test different candidate time/frequency vectors in minimizing perceptual objective functions. In this dissertation, a constrained mapping scheme is developed by linearizing certain auditory model stages that ensures obtaining a time/frequency mapping corresponding to the estimated auditory representation. This paradigm was successfully incorporated in a perceptual speech enhancement algorithm and a sinusoidal component selection task.

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2011

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Best value implementation program for contractors

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The price based marketplace has dominated the construction industry. The majority of owners use price based practices of management (expectation and decision making, control, direction, and inspection.) The price based/management and control paradigm has not worked. Clients

The price based marketplace has dominated the construction industry. The majority of owners use price based practices of management (expectation and decision making, control, direction, and inspection.) The price based/management and control paradigm has not worked. Clients have now been moving toward the best value environment (hire contractors who know what they are doing, who preplan, and manage and minimize risk and deviation.) Owners are trying to move from client direction and control to hiring an expert and allowing them to do the quality control/risk management. The movement of environments changes the paradigm for the contractors from a reactive to a proactive, from a bureaucratic
on-accountable to an accountable position, from a relationship based
on-measuring to a measuring entity, and to a contractor who manages and minimizes the risk that they do not control. Years of price based practices have caused poor quality and low performance in the construction industry. This research identifies what is a best value contractor or vendor, what factors make up a best value vendor, and the methodology to transform a vendor to a best value vendor. It will use deductive logic, a case study to confirm the logic and the proposed methodology.

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2011

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Smooth surfaces for video game development

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The video game graphics pipeline has traditionally rendered the scene using a polygonal approach. Advances in modern graphics hardware now allow the rendering of parametric methods. This thesis explores various smooth surface rendering methods that can be integrated into the

The video game graphics pipeline has traditionally rendered the scene using a polygonal approach. Advances in modern graphics hardware now allow the rendering of parametric methods. This thesis explores various smooth surface rendering methods that can be integrated into the video game graphics engine. Moving over to parametric or smooth surfaces from the polygonal domain has its share of issues and there is an inherent need to address various rendering bottlenecks that could hamper such a move. The game engine needs to choose an appropriate method based on in-game characteristics of the objects; character and animated objects need more sophisticated methods whereas static objects could use simpler techniques. Scaling the polygon count over various hardware platforms becomes an important factor. Much control is needed over the tessellation levels, either imposed by the hardware limitations or by the application, to be able to adaptively render the mesh without significant loss in performance. This thesis explores several methods that would help game engine developers in making correct design choices by optimally balancing the trade-offs while rendering the scene using smooth surfaces. It proposes a novel technique for adaptive tessellation of triangular meshes that vastly improves speed and tessellation count. It develops an approximate method for rendering Loop subdivision surfaces on tessellation enabled hardware. A taxonomy and evaluation of the methods is provided and a unified rendering system that provides automatic level of detail by switching between the methods is proposed.

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2011

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A control engineering approach for designing an optimized treatment plan for fibromyalgia

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There is increasing interest in the medical and behavioral health communities towards developing effective strategies for the treatment of chronic diseases. Among these lie adaptive interventions, which consider adjusting treatment dosages over time based on participant response. Control engineering offers

There is increasing interest in the medical and behavioral health communities towards developing effective strategies for the treatment of chronic diseases. Among these lie adaptive interventions, which consider adjusting treatment dosages over time based on participant response. Control engineering offers a broad-based solution framework for optimizing the effectiveness of such interventions. In this thesis, an approach is proposed to develop dynamical models and subsequently, hybrid model predictive control schemes for assigning optimal dosages of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, as treatment for a chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. System identification techniques are employed to model the dynamics from the daily diary reports completed by participants of a blind naltrexone intervention trial. These self-reports include assessments of outcomes of interest (e.g., general pain symptoms, sleep quality) and additional external variables (disturbances) that affect these outcomes (e.g., stress, anxiety, and mood). Using prediction-error methods, a multi-input model describing the effect of drug, placebo and other disturbances on outcomes of interest is developed. This discrete time model is approximated by a continuous second order model with zero, which was found to be adequate to capture the dynamics of this intervention. Data from 40 participants in two clinical trials were analyzed and participants were classified as responders and non-responders based on the models obtained from system identification. The dynamical models can be used by a model predictive controller for automated dosage selection of naltrexone using feedback/feedforward control actions in the presence of external disturbances. The clinical requirement for categorical (i.e., discrete-valued) drug dosage levels creates a need for hybrid model predictive control (HMPC). The controller features a multiple degree-of-freedom formulation that enables the user to adjust the speed of setpoint tracking, measured disturbance rejection and unmeasured disturbance rejection independently in the closed loop system. The nominal and robust performance of the proposed control scheme is examined via simulation using system identification models from a representative participant in the naltrexone intervention trial. The controller evaluation described in this thesis gives credibility to the promise and applicability of control engineering principles for optimizing adaptive interventions.

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2011

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HTLS upgrades for power transmission expansion planning and operation

Description

Renewable portfolio standards prescribe for penetration of high amounts of re-newable energy sources (RES) that may change the structure of existing power systems. The load growth and changes in power flow caused by RES integration may result in re-quirements of

Renewable portfolio standards prescribe for penetration of high amounts of re-newable energy sources (RES) that may change the structure of existing power systems. The load growth and changes in power flow caused by RES integration may result in re-quirements of new available transmission capabilities and upgrades of existing transmis-sion paths. Construction difficulties of new transmission lines can become a problem in certain locations. The increase of transmission line thermal ratings by reconductoring using High Temperature Low Sag (HTLS) conductors is a comparatively new technology introduced to transmission expansion. A special design permits HTLS conductors to operate at high temperatures (e.g., 200oC), thereby allowing passage of higher current. The higher temperature capability increases the steady state and emergency thermal ratings of the transmission line. The main disadvantage of HTLS technology is high cost. The high cost may place special emphasis on a thorough analysis of cost to benefit of HTLS technology im-plementation. Increased transmission losses in HTLS conductors due to higher current may be a disadvantage that can reduce the attractiveness of this method. Studies described in this thesis evaluate the expenditures for transmission line re-conductoring using HTLS and the consequent benefits obtained from the potential decrease in operating cost for thermally limited transmission systems. Studies performed consider the load growth and penetration of distributed renewable energy sources according to the renewable portfolio standards for power systems. An evaluation of payback period is suggested to assess the cost to benefit ratio of HTLS upgrades. The thesis also considers the probabilistic nature of transmission upgrades. The well-known Chebyshev inequality is discussed with an application to transmission up-grades. The Chebyshev inequality is proposed to calculate minimum payback period ob-tained from the upgrades of certain transmission lines. The cost to benefit evaluation of HTLS upgrades is performed using a 225 bus equivalent of the 2012 summer peak Arizona portion of the Western Electricity Coordi-nating Council (WECC).

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2014

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Understanding plasticity and fracture in aluminum alloys and their composites by 3D X-ray synchrotron tomography and microdiffraction

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Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in these materials is critical in assessing their fatigue resistance. Two distinct experimental studies were performed to further the understanding of fatigue damage mechanisms in aluminum alloys and their composites, specifically fracture and plasticity. Fatigue resistance of metal matrix composites (MMCs) depends on many aspects of composite microstructure. Fatigue crack growth behavior is particularly dependent on the reinforcement characteristics and matrix microstructure. The goal of this work was to obtain a fundamental understanding of fatigue crack growth behavior in SiC particle-reinforced 2080 Al alloy composites. In situ X-ray synchrotron tomography was performed on two samples at low (R=0.1) and at high (R=0.6) R-ratios. The resulting reconstructed images were used to obtain three-dimensional (3D) rendering of the particles and fatigue crack. Behaviors of the particles and crack, as well as their interaction, were analyzed and quantified. Four-dimensional (4D) visual representations were constructed to aid in the overall understanding of damage evolution. During fatigue crack growth in ductile materials, a plastic zone is created in the region surrounding the crack tip. Knowledge of the plastic zone is important for the understanding of fatigue crack formation as well as subsequent growth behavior. The goal of this work was to quantify the 3D size and shape of the plastic zone in 7075 Al alloys. X-ray synchrotron tomography and Laue microdiffraction were used to non-destructively characterize the volume surrounding a fatigue crack tip. The precise 3D crack profile was segmented from the reconstructed tomography data. Depth-resolved Laue patterns were obtained using differential-aperture X-ray structural microscopy (DAXM), from which peak-broadening characteristics were quantified. Plasticity, as determined by the broadening of diffracted peaks, was mapped in 3D. Two-dimensional (2D) maps of plasticity were directly compared to the corresponding tomography slices. A 3D representation of the plastic zone surrounding the fatigue crack was generated by superimposing the mapped plasticity on the 3D crack profile.

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2014

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A P-value based approach for phase II profile monitoring

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A P-value based method is proposed for statistical monitoring of various types of profiles in phase II. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated by the average run length criterion under various shifts in the intercept, slope and error

A P-value based method is proposed for statistical monitoring of various types of profiles in phase II. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated by the average run length criterion under various shifts in the intercept, slope and error standard deviation of the model. In our proposed approach, P-values are computed at each level within a sample. If at least one of the P-values is less than a pre-specified significance level, the chart signals out-of-control. The primary advantage of our approach is that only one control chart is required to monitor several parameters simultaneously: the intercept, slope(s), and the error standard deviation. A comprehensive comparison of the proposed method and the existing KMW-Shewhart method for monitoring linear profiles is conducted. In addition, the effect that the number of observations within a sample has on the performance of the proposed method is investigated. The proposed method was also compared to the T^2 method discussed in Kang and Albin (2000) for multivariate, polynomial, and nonlinear profiles. A simulation study shows that overall the proposed P-value method performs satisfactorily for different profile types.

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2013