15
Oct
12

mind openers

Post from Harry Hutchinson:

Harry Hutchinson

I always tell people how cool my job is. I get to talk to all kinds of interesting people—researchers, inventors, regulators, rule-makers, and rebels. I see some very clever stuff and sometimes play with it.

Ahmed Noor is a frequent contributor to Mechanical Engineering magazine. His most recent article, “Intelligent and Connected” in the November issue, is a forward-looking discussion of smart transportation systems.

He also heads a lab, the Center for Advanced Engineering Environments, at Old Dominion University in Hampton, Va. When I was invited to an open house there, I was eager to go.

The lab works with commercial partners to further the development of computers as engineering tools, with a particular emphasis on communication and interfaces.

When I showed up, everyone was standing around talking to a telepresence robot. Michael Clark, from the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon, had brought it along. He has four of the things, which go by the brand name Anybots, and he studies ways to use them in education.

The robot fits into a box about the size of a nightstand. It rolls around on two wheels like a Segway. It has an adjustable pole for a neck and a head with two eyes that are cameras. One of the eyes contains a laser pointer. The robot’s forehead has a small screen where you can see the operator. 

In this case it was Scott Friedman, an M.D. controlling the robot from his home near Pittsburgh, 350 miles away. Through the robot, Friedman could follow us from room to room, see what was going on, and make his presence known.

Another demonstration at the open house was a walk-through of a highly detailed plant simulation developed by Eon Reality. It simulated a petroleum site in Angola.

Mats Johansson, Eon’s president, said it was developed to train technicians. You can open a schematic of the plant, click on the site you want, and the simulation will show you how to get there and what you will see. Then you can walk someone through the steps of what to do. The job checklist shows up in a window on the screen.

Eon also has a prototype of augmented-reality spectacles that work with a smartphone. You can call up an engineering drawing or a CAD model, for example, and see it projected on the lenses while you’re working on the equipment.

There was also a presentation on another emerging technology. Noor’s lab is working with a company called Emotiv on a computer interface that reacts to brain waves.

A student from the lab, Hari Phaneendra Kalyan, showed how the system works. He was able to open Internet Explorer and make Google.com appear on the command line, just by thinking it.

Then I got to try my head at it.

The controller is an EEG headset with 14 contact points. A schematic on the computer screen shows them black (no contact), yellow (getting warm), or green (go).

Kalyan and a fellow student, Ben Cawrse, helped me get ready. We discovered it’s a challenge to make green contact with all the electrodes if you wear a pony tail.

After a bit of trial and error, they worked some electrodes under my hair and put others on my forehead and behind my ears. That gave us 11 green lights out of a possible 14.

Given that many greens, I thought hard to move the cursor, but nothing happened.

The graph of brain activity came on screen. The blue line, which reads frustration level, was very high, so I knew the system was working.

I said I was stymied in trying to move the cursor, so Cawrse moved to another window labeled “mouse” and clicked an icon. Suddenly, wherever I looked on the screen the cursor went with me. The unexpected ease made the experience downright eerie.

Cawrse switched to a page with a list of commands. He selected “push.”

An image on the page showed a box floating in the air. Kalyan told me to think hard about pushing it. So I did, gritting my teeth, even leaning into it.

Nothing happened. I wondered where my blue line was—probably pretty high.

Then the screen changed a little, but not because of anything I did or thought. As usual, I was about a page behind. Nothing was supposed to happen on the screen during that exercise. We were teaching the system to know my “push” brainwaves.

It learned well. When I thought “push” at the right time, that virtual box started to slide into cyberspace.

There is a team at the lab working with Emotiv. They include Kalyan and Cawrse, who are computer science students, and Ajay Gupta of the computer science faculty.

Ahmed Noor estimates that this technology right now is about where voice-recognition was 20 years ago. He told me the lab is moving towards more advanced applications.

You’re not going to create much by pulling or pushing images on a screen. But if you can do that much today just by thinking it, where is this technology going to be in 20 years? Will people now locked silenced by severe physical disabilities be able to share some of their genius with us?

About these ads

24 Responses to “mind openers”


  1. September 29, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Quality articles is the key to invite the people to visit the web site, that’s what
    this site is providing.

  2. November 27, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with
    hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work
    due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to
    protect against hackers?

  3. March 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I always emɑiled tbis weƄpage post page tߋ all my associates, for the
    reason that if likе to read it next my friends will too.

  4. August 8, 2014 at 4:37 am

    It’s great that you are getting ideas from this post
    as well as from our argument made at this time.

  5. August 16, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Why users still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe all is accessible on web?

  6. August 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Fantastic blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover
    the same topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

    Bless you!

  7. August 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and
    i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.

    Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  8. August 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  9. August 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    This post is genuinely a fastidious one it helps
    new the web viewers, who are wishing for blogging.

  10. August 19, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Yes! Finally someone writes about garcinia cambogia extract dr oz show.

  11. August 19, 2014 at 7:21 am

    When using such a solution, you will be asked to talk about the events that
    affected you in the year, marriage, new baby, move to a new house, started college, changed
    employment status, etc. 6) Easy export and import:- A tax preparer can easily
    import W-2, Schedule D, Trial balance and Year-end balance, as well as
    forms like child’s form 8615 and K-1 data from 1041,
    1120S, and 1065 are easily exportable. Every year, thousands of vacancies
    open up in the public sector.

  12. August 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some
    overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, very good blog!

  13. August 25, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Emergency physician ultrasonography for evaluating patients at risk for ectopic pregnancy:
    a meta-analysis. There are a few things that must be identified about the HCG diet plan and consequently a single really
    should not start off using them without having any assistance of the
    homeopathic medical doctor. We got a brightlycolored
    box of cereal with every flavor.

  14. August 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    What’s up Dear, are you actually visiting this web page regularly, if so
    then you will definitely get nice experience.

  15. August 30, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Hello my family member! I wish to say that this article
    is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all important infos.

    I would like to see more posts like this .

  16. August 30, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I used to be suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not positive whether this post is written through him as nobody else
    recognize such specified approximately my difficulty. You’re wonderful!
    Thank you!

  17. September 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Firstly, it is important to check all of your foodstuffs for traces of the insect.
    The thing you have to remember is that this filter is the one that
    allows lots of fresh air into the motor to keep it cool.
    The important to making helpful telemarketing scripts is beginning with brief introduction of oneself and
    the company you are representing. Their workers are expert and can handle
    any kind of relocation job without any issue. I have literally seen a
    new vacuum burnt out after 1 use to clean a small mess like this.
    The 24 buttons can be customized to meet the needs of different
    users. To overcome these difficulties and to allow businesses
    to focus on their core business, managed storage services are becoming increasingly popular as a cost
    effective solutions and a great alternative
    to traditional storage management. The nearby public schools have dramatically improved
    and include dual-language curriculums. 3rd party logistics providers don’t just stock and handle merchandise, they provide
    crucial support for shippers and retailers who are looking into overseas markets.
    Unanticipated incidents or acts of God such as fire or floods can be dangerous for every single business who relies on their stored paperwork.

  18. September 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.

    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost
    moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  19. October 1, 2014 at 2:05 am

    It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to textbooks,
    as I found this piece of writing at this website.

  20. October 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better!

    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  21. October 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I am the webmaster of a internet site that is committed to Jane Norman Dresses.
    You could match your wedding gown and aroma with a a lot of flattering minimize of purple colours dresses in your bridesmaids.
    In addition, this comfortable fabric it doesn’t hurt and is
    also durable will ensure that you can use this beautiful dress on the long period
    of time rather than using it not until.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

October 2012
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Twitter from John Falcioni

Twitter from Engineering for Change


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers

%d bloggers like this: