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Old 04-19-2012, 11:03 AM
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Default USA Science & Engineering Festival


Don't know if any of y'all goin' to be in Washington, D.C. the last weekend in April, but the USA Science & Engineering Festival will be in full swing Saturday and Sunday.
"Passel" is not listed as a "Science Celebrity" on the Flyer, but I've been roped-in so will be there all three days.
Will probably be a mad-house, but it you're in the area, you may want to consider taking a look.
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File Type: jpg ScienceFestivalFlyerReduced.jpg (90.1 KB, 2 views)
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:31 PM
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I won't be there. I'll be working on putting together my new Professional pool table. I will drink some Guiness extra dark stout for you.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:47 PM
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Too bad you can't mount a web cam on a baseball cap.
You could give us a live feed.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:18 AM
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This thread reminds me of the Stargate Atlantis episode with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me3-r5rsUSI
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruff View Post
Too bad you can't mount a web cam on a baseball cap.
You could give us a live feed.
Actually, there may be a live feed.
Part of one of the projects (I'm supposedly involved in) involves four Penn State senior's Senior project, which is simulating a UAV flying around a virtual world, and controlled remotely from different locations. As part of the interface, the "UAV" is suppose to be sending back two onboard camera views (all simulated), and act as a relay for a person on the ground.
If it works, then actual video should be coming from the person on the ground, and be selectable as one of the video streams to be observed at the base or remote locations.
I believe they may be setting of a web application where people can browse to and see the streaming video.
I haven't seen it in action, and haven't had to support them intensely (it is volunteer time only, and I was volunteered to guide and answer questions if necessary). The four seem to be well organized, and dedicated, so I have had little imput to the project and let them research, design and implement almost everything.
So, sometime Friday, or early Saturday at the festival will be the first time I'll see the final result, and try to take a "remote" control application they've written and load it on a computer driving our cockpit displays in a helicopter simulator.
If it all works as specified, then we should be able to "take" control of the UAV and guide it from the left seat of the helicopter simulator.
If their simulation properly implements the Distributed Interoperability Standard, we technically should be able to "see" the UAV in our Out the Window display and they see our helicopter in their camera views.
There is a fair chance, since we haven't a chance (budget) to integrate before the festival, that it might not come together, but that would be part of the learning process as well.
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Last edited by passel; 04-20-2012 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:14 AM
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How did the interfacing of your/Penn State's projects work out?
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:21 PM
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Not that great.
One of the four students bailed on the project, so the standardized interface to be used between simulators wasn't completed.
Since the control application was complete, and the telemetry data was being transmitted, I had one of the students write a quick UDP transmitter to transmit six of the pieces of telemetry data received (Lat,Long, Alt, Roll, Pitch, Yaw) in a UDP packet every time the telemetry data was received.
I figured I could pick up that data, then create a Common Image Generator Interface (CIGI) Entity Control Message to send to our Image Generator (IG), so we could see them flying around in our Visual scene.
One issue would be that the telemetry was generated by the web server application and only produced the telemetry at 4hz, so would be fairly jerky.
The data also wasn't produced very steadily over the long term, and would pause and then continue often. It would pause for a second or two before resuming so that isn't good visually.
The standard Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) interface would dead-reckon between updates, so would have smooth that out some.
I would have to add dead-reckoning to my code if I wanted to smooth out the CIGI approach.

After he got his UDP transmitter working, I wrote a quick, simple UDP receiver in VB6 to just verify that the data was transmitted correctly and I was getting the expected values.
I simply put a control array of six labels on a form, drop a winsock control on it, and in the data receiver, block copied the bytes received into an array of six singles, then looped through the array and updated the labels. That only took a few minutes and less than a dozen lines of code, and showed that data was received and displayed correctly.

We took his code over to the simulator we brought up from Suffolk, Va. (the Penn State booths were quite a walk from where we were, probably taking 5-minutes or more one way) and loaded it on the computer that drove the cockpit displays. Unfortunately, the code was targeted for Net 4.0 and the computer didn't have that installed.
We went back to the Penn State booth and created an install package for the project, but that still didn't create a standalone install of everything needed. It may have wanted to go out to the internet, which we didn't have access to.

I guess I won't go into all the other things we did, we could only work early before the festival hours, or after.
But even while we weren't connected, the students could still talk about their project as a standalone event. They had the touchpad which would display a control page and video from the simulated UAV. The video was streamed from the touchpad so could be displayed on their "ground station". The simulated UAV would fly around and they could see it respond to flight plan updates, and commands.
But the technology involved really wasn't that interesting to most of the kids in the crowd, as most were fairly young.
I had brought a joystick with me, so I brought it over to the Penn State students, so they could hook it to the flight simulator (X-plane) they were using to simulate the UAV, disable their autopilot control, and allow the kids to fly it directly.
This was much more entertaining for the kids, so they had a fairly constant stream of kids stopping to fly (and crash) the plane, while the actual purpose of the project could be explained to the "grown-ups".

I did load their control software on a laptop that I had brought, that had Visual Studio 2010 Pro installed, and got it working on that machine.
I figured I could disconnect one of the displays in the cockpit and drive it from the laptop so we could at least see the video coming from the "UAV" from the remote location across the festival floor.
But the laptop wouldn't drive the display. Either the external video connection didn't work, or the length of cable from the equipment rack out to the cockpit was too long for the laptop's external driver.
So, in the end, we never integrated the two simulators.
The two days were very long, the crowds were very larger.
I heard it was the second largest event in attendance ever held at the Washington Convention Center.
Our sim was next to the stage where several "celebrity" guests held Q and A sessions and signed autographs, so I listen to a couple of sessions with Daniela Ruah (Kensi Blye) and Eric Christian Olsen (Marty Deeks) from "NCIS: Los Angeles".
I saw Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler, Ph.D) from "The Big Bang Theory" giving a Q & A, but was headed somewhere so didn't hang around to listen.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
I saw Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler, Ph.D) from "The Big Bang Theory" giving a Q & A...
Too bad her boyfriend Sheldon wasn't there with her... he would have shown the Penn State guys what they had to do.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:43 PM
hDC_0 hDC_0 is offline
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Default Video feed for the event.

I didn't see any streaming video but YouTube had
a few videos labelled "USA Science & Engineering Festival".
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