Team TRACLabs posed for a group photo in preparation for the DARPA Robitics Challenge on June 2, 2015 in Ponoma, California. Team TRACLabs, based in Houston TX, is the only small business-run team to advance to the DRC Finals with DARPA funding. Two broad strategies guided our approach through the Virtual Robotics Challenge and Trials: (1) rely on human intelligence for high-level decision making and (2) treat the competition primarily as a matter of system integration.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at December 7th, 2013 @ 2:25 pm · Uncategorized
TRACLabs scientists are programming our Hercules robot to perform seven of the DARPA Robot Challenge (DRC) competition tasks, which are focused on disaster relief activities. The tasks are:
- Walk across a debris field
- Open a series of doors and walk through them
- Close a series of valves
- Attach a hose to a spigot
- Cut a hole in a wall
- Climb a ladder
- Remove debris from in front of a door
The DRC takes place December 19 and 20, 2013 in Miami FL.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at September 20th, 2013 @ 9:21 pm · Automation
TRACLabs scientists worked with NASA mission controllers to use our PRIDE electronic procedure software during the last two International Space Station (ISS) Extravehicular Activities (EVA), also called spacewalks. The detailed procedure for each spacewalk was authored in our electronic format and mission controllers checked off the activities as the occurred. TRACLabs was present in NASA Mission Control Center (MCC) to assist in this activity. The software proved valuable in keeping all mission controllers synchronized with respect to the progress of the spacewalk.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at June 21st, 2013 @ 9:50 pm · Robotics
DARPA sponsored a Virtual Robot Challenge held June 18-20. Over 20 teams competed to complete three tasks: 1) maneuver a robot through a course with mud, hills, and obstacles; 2) enter a vehicle and drive it; and 3) pick up a hose and mate it to a connector. Each team performed each task five times using a simulated robot provided by DARPA. Teams were scored based on completing tasks and subtasks, time to complete tasks, and number of bits uploaded to the robot from the operator control stations. TRACLabs was one of eleven teams to received a DARPA grant to participate in this challenge. TRACLabs was assisted by researchers from SUNY-Buffalo. Final results will be announced by DARPA on June 25. Winning teams will continue their research using a DARPA-supplied robot. For more information see: http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/
Posted by David Kortenkamp at June 18th, 2013 @ 10:50 pm · Uncategorized
TRACLabs developed critical software that supported the “Surface Telerobotics” experiment on-board the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday June 17, 2013. Surface Telerobotics demonstrates a future exploration “concept of operations” in which an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft remotely operates a robot on a planetary surface. The primary objective of Surface Telerobotics is to collect baseline engineering data (from crew, robot, and data communications) to characterize system operation.
During the first test session, Expedition 35 Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy on the ISS remotely operated the K10 planetary rover in the NASA Ames Roverscape outdoor testbed in California. Cassidy used the robot to perform surface site survey and to begin deploying a simulated Kapton film-based radio antenna. Subsequent test sessions, to be conducted in July and August, will focus on completing antenna deployment, inspecting the deployment, and studying human-robot interaction.
Please look at the following video to get more information about the experiment:
TRACLabs is collaborating with researchers at Rice University’s Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces (MAHI) Laboratory headed by Professor Marcia O’Malley and with researchers at TIRR foundation to build a robotic upper-limb exoskeleton that can assist in physical therapy. Rice researchers recently visited TRACLabs to inspect a preliminary version of the exoskeleton. In the picture below, the exoskeleton is in the foreground. TRACLabs is developing the mechanical and electrical components of the exoskeleton building on preliminary designed by Rice University. TRACLabs is also building software to control the exoskeleton and interface to both the patient and the therapist. This software is following early designs by Rice University scientists.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at September 27th, 2012 @ 9:23 pm · Automation, Robotics
TRACLabs was pleased to have four interns this past summer at our Houston location and one intern located in Buffalo NY. Shown below from left to right are: Brian Lemke from Texas A&M, Jeff Johnson from Indiana University, Joshua James from the University of Texas, and Nicholas Barrash from Georgia Tech. These interns worked with our robot (also shown below) as well as our procedure assistance software.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at May 18th, 2012 @ 10:53 pm · Automation
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) researchers and their contractors visited TRACLabs for a Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) that focused on technologies for on-board satellite autonomy. The one-and-a-half-day meeting discussed topics such as planning, execution, fault detection, and flight experiments. TRACLabs has contracts with AFRL to provide on-board autonomy technology.
Posted by David Kortenkamp at March 9th, 2012 @ 4:32 pm · Robotics
Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, and her student Zach Henkel recently visited TRACLabs. Dr. Murphy is collaborating with TRACLabs on a robotic system for the Army that will evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Dr. Murphy is a leading expert in the use of robots for search and rescue operations and directs the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue. Dr. Murphy and her student are shown in the picture below with the TRACLabs dual-arm manipulation robot with a Texas A&M survivor interface.