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LEGO Digital Crawler with EV3 Controlled Gear Box

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Design, Featured, LEGO | 0 comments

LEGO Digital Crawler with EV3 Controlled Gear Box

This LEGO remote controlled crawler uses a sequential gearbox from Sariel and a Mindstorms EV3 to control the car. The remote control used force feedback and offers proportional control over speed and direction. It also allows you to change gears and change the forward and backward drive. The two EV3 Mindstorms communicate using Bluetooth. The remote uses two rotation sensors to measure speed and direction.

The building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer and Stud.io. Please notice that I had to replace the 35188 Technic Changeover Rotary Catch with another gear in the digital model and I could also not include Mindsensors Glide Wheel Rotation Sensor. These bricks do not yet exist in digital form. I also put up the model are ReBrickable and the inventory there is almost complete. Feel free to also use different wheels. In the LDD model I also had to use other shocks.

Here is a video that explains the model’s function:

And here is the crawler in action:

 

 

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Exposure bracketing and rendering in AutoPano Pro

Posted by on Aug 24, 2018 in Design, Documentation, Featured | 0 comments

Exposure bracketing and rendering in AutoPano Pro

Taking 360 degrees panoramic photographs has become easy due to the arrival of dedicated 360 cameras, such as the Ricoh Theta V. But their 4K resolution is spread thin across the whole 360 degree viewing angle. There is still a need to panoramas with high resolution that can only be taken by stitching multiple photographs together. The GigaPan Epic Pro is a robotic camera head that tilts and pans your camera before triggering the shot. You can stitch hundreds even thousands of photos together into one GigaPixel panorama. I have uploaded a few on GigaPan’s website.

One problem when shooting GigaPixel panoramas is that some parts of your panorama will be very light due to the sun shining directly on them while other areas might be very dark, for example by simply being in the shadow. Finding a compromise exposure for your camera might be difficult and hence we are using bracketing to shoot multiple photos of the same area. Each of these photos will be several exposures apart from the others. For any shot you will have in fact three shots, each with a low, medium and high exposure. When you stitch the panorama together in AutoPano Giga, for example, you can use all three exposures. Autopano has several modes to select the best exposed pixel.

There are two settings that you can play with that will heavily influence how your final panorama will look like. You can set the Color Mode to None, Auto and HDR.

You can also set the Blending Presets to Simple, Anti Ghosting, Exposure Fusion and HDR Output.

I systematically varied these two settings to get an impression on what results the may produce.

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Visions of our android future

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Culture, Featured | 0 comments

Visions of our android future

I started to play Detroit – Becoming Human and the start of the game introduces us to a world in which most of the work is done by androids. The designers paid attention to portraying every day life with androids. They show androids in the roles of care taker, cleaner, construction worker, but also as a companion. Many humans are without a job but still enjoy an android cleaning their mess. Of course this whole setup is a typical in-out-group setup. But if this is the future we are working towards then we will also have to address these questions. What if there is no more work left for humans? What if we like interacting with androids more than with other humans? Here are some of my highlights of everyday life in the game so far:

Android Parking

Detroit: Become Human

Android compartment in the back of the bus

The androids have to enter the public bus at the rear and are standing in a segregated compartment that is divided by a glass wall. This is of course a reference to Rosa Park who refused to give put her seat in the colored section of a bus for a white person in 1955.

Detroit: Become Human

An article on how autonomous cars make life and death decisions

The game features an article on how autonomous vehicles make life and death decisions by considering a wealth of background information to calculate the value of a person.

How machines make life and death decisions

Here is the text of the virtual news article:

When a driverless vehicle foresees an accident, the car’s computer makes life and death decisions – for example deciding which of two pedestrians to hit. But the exact process by which cars make these decisions is not very well understood.

Martin Forlong, of CrowneCars, tries to clarify: “In these situations, the car’s imaging system gathers data to determine, the pedestrian’s age, gender, life Expectancy, etc, in the blink of an eye.” This data is parsed through the public I record “to determine marital status, employment record, life expectancy and whether they have children.” The car then assigns a ‘value’ to each possible victim based on criteria like their contribution to society: “we put a premium on lives that will save other lives, like doctors and nurses.”

All this may sound very reasonable. But Felix Gamble, head of Anti-Automation League (AAL) says the system has no rights to make such judgements: “Somebody with a criminal record is not necessarily less I valuable to society than a doctor. That kind of information is irrelevant to the sanctity of human life.”

But Forlong dismisses such claims: “We want our cars to make the best possible i choices, and that means acting on the basis of all the information they can gather. The more, the better.”

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Simple LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 in Design, Documentation, Featured, LEGO | 1 comment

Simple LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover

This is simple Mars Rover model using two LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and a total of eight motors. The two EV3 are daisy chained and the model can be controlled using the EV3 IR Remote Control. The model uses the rocker-bogie suspension system including a differential in the middle axis. The two EV3s are suspended and remain horizontal in any position. There are much more complex Mars Rover models already available using many more Mindstorm bricks. My design goal was to keep it simple and experiment with the rocker-bogie suspension system. The principles works, but there is a bit too much flexibility in the model.

The 3D model and the building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer. The parts list and instructions are also available at Rebrickable.

 

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Fonthill Abbey

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Design, Featured | 0 comments

Fonthill Abbey

We launched our Fonthill Abbey website on which we document our efforts to bring this amazing building and the story of its owner back to life. We created an interactive Virtual Reality Game that allows you to experience a forgotten piece of history as you become Lord Horatio Nelson or Lady Emma Hamilton, guests of mysterious Lord Beckford. You will have the rare privilege of entering secluded Fonthill Abbey and meet its extravagant owner, but will you make it out alive?

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Comparison of color measurement accuracy of ColorMunki Design and FRU WR-10QC Colorimeter

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Design, Featured, Research | 0 comments

Comparison of color measurement accuracy of ColorMunki Design and FRU WR-10QC Colorimeter

I am working on a colour project and had purchased the WR10 colorimeter to complement my long serving work horse, the X-Rite Color Munki Design. My ColorMunki is already several years old and I was concerned that its accuracy might have declined. When I measured several hundreds of samples, I noticed that both colorimeters gave me considerably different LAB values.

To determine which device was closer to the truth I measured the 48 defined colours of Datacolor’s SpyderCHECKR 48. I calculated the absolute error both devices made. The results of a paired-sample t-test showed that the ColorMunki is producing significantly less measurement errors on L (t(47)=-9.229, p<0.001), L (t(47)=-4.590, p<0.001) and L (t(47)=-4.871, p<0.001). However, both devices measure colours that are significantly different from the target colour of the SpyderCheckr card on all three measurements. Figure 1 shows the means and standard deviation for all measurement errors.

Figure 1: Mean and Standard Deviation of all measurements for both devices.

There does seem to be some structure in the errors that WR-10 is producing. Have a look at the heat map (Figure 2). The data for my little experiment is available at the Open Science Framework (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/UWEFD).

Figure 2: Heat Map of the absolute errors

Although both devices show some significant deviation from the original, it is not far off from what can be expected of devices in this price range. The ColorMunki Design produces significantly better results than the FRU’s WR-10QC.

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