skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Dronevision: An Experimental 3D Testbed for Flying Light Specks
Today's robotic laboratories for drones are housed in a large room. At times, they are the size of a warehouse. These spaces are typically equipped with permanent devices to localize the drones, e.g., Vicon Infrared cameras. Significant time is invested to fine-tune the localization apparatus to compute and control the position of the drones. One may use these laboratories to develop a 3D multimedia system with miniature sized drones configured with light sources. As an alternative, this brave new idea paper envisions shrinking these room-sized laboratories to the size of a cube or cuboid that sits on a desk and costs less than 10K dollars. The resulting Dronevision (DV) will be the size of a 1990s Television. In addition to light sources, its Flying Light Specks (FLSs) will be network-enabled drones with storage and processing capability to implement decentralized algorithms. The DV will include a localization technique to expedite development of 3D displays. It will act as a haptic interface for a user to interact with and manipulate the 3D virtual illuminations. It will empower an experimenter to design, implement, test, debug, and maintain software and hardware that realize novel algorithms in the comfort of their office without having to reserve a laboratory. In addition to enhancing productivity, it will improve safety of the experimenter by minimizing the likelihood of accidents. This paper introduces the concept of a DV, the research agenda one may pursue using this device, and our plans to realize one.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Corporate Creator(s):
Ghandeharizadeh S.
Publisher / Repository:
First International Conference on Holodecks
Date Published:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Ghandeharizadeh S. (Ed.)
    We present flight patterns for a collision-free passage of swarms of drones through one or more openings. The narrow openings provide drones with access to an infrastructure component such as charging stations to charge their depleted batteries and hangars for storage. The flight patterns are a staging area (queues) that match the rate at which an infrastructure component and its openings consume drones. They prevent collisions and may implement different policies that control the order in which drones pass through an opening. We illustrate the flight patterns with a 3D display that uses drones configured with light sources to illuminate shapes. 
    more » « less
  2. Recovering rigid registration between successive camera poses lies at the heart of 3D reconstruction, SLAM and visual odometry. Registration relies on the ability to compute discriminative 2D features in successive camera images for determining feature correspondences, which is very challenging in feature-poor environments, i.e. low-texture and/or low-light environments. In this paper, we aim to address the challenge of recovering rigid registration between successive camera poses in feature-poor environments in a Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) setting. In addition to inertial sensing, we instrument a small aerial robot with an RGBD camera and propose a framework that unifies the incorporation of 3D geometric entities: points, lines, and planes. The tracked 3D geometric entities provide constraints in an Extended Kalman Filtering framework. We show that by directly exploiting 3D geometric entities, we can achieve improved registration. We demonstrate our approach on different texture-poor environments, with some containing only flat texture-less surfaces providing essentially no 2D features for tracking. In addition, we evaluate how the addition of different 3D geometric entities contributes to improved pose estimation by comparing an estimated pose trajectory to a ground truth pose trajectory obtained from a motion capture system. We consider computationally efficient methods for detecting 3D points, lines and planes, since our goal is to implement our approach on small mobile robots, such as drones. 
    more » « less
  3. Ghandeharizadeh S. (Ed.)
    Swarm-Merging, SwarMer, is a decentralized framework to localize Flying Light Specks (FLSs) to render 2D and 3D shapes. An FLS is a miniature sized drone equipped with one or more light sources to generate different colors and textures with adjustable brightness. It is battery powered, network enabled with storage and processing capability to implement a decentralized algorithm such as SwarMer. An FLS is unable to render a shape by itself. SwarMer uses the inter-FLS relationship effect of its organizational framework to compensate for the simplicity of each individual FLS, enabling a swarm of cooperating FLSs to render complex shapes. SwarMer is resilient to network packet loss, FLSs failing, and FLSs leaving to charge their battery. It is fast, highly accurate, and scales to remain effective when a shape consists of a large number of FLSs. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Pebble accretion is recognized as a significant accelerator of planet formation. Yet only formulae for single-sized (monodisperse) distribution have been derived in the literature. These can lead to significant underestimates for Bondi accretion, for which the best accreted pebble size may not be the one that dominates the mass distribution. We derive in this paper the polydisperse theory of pebble accretion. We consider a power-law distribution in pebble radius, and we find the resulting surface and volume number density distribution functions. We derive also the exact monodisperse analytical pebble accretion rate for which 3D accretion and 2D accretion are limits. In addition, we find analytical solutions to the polydisperse 2D Hill and 3D Bondi limits. We integrate the polydisperse pebble accretion numerically for the MRN distribution, finding a slight decrease (by an exact factor 3/7) in the Hill regime compared to the monodisperse case. In contrast, in the Bondi regime, we find accretion rates 1–2 orders of magnitude higher compared to monodisperse, also extending the onset of pebble accretion to 1–2 orders of magnitude lower in mass. We find megayear timescales, within the disk lifetime, for Bondi accretion on top of planetary seeds of masses 10−6to 10−4M, over a significant range of the parameter space. This mass range overlaps with the high-mass end of the planetesimal initial mass function, and thus pebble accretion is possible directly following formation by streaming instability. This alleviates the need for mutual planetesimal collisions as a major contribution to planetary growth.

    more » « less
  5. Light microscopy provides a window into another world that is not visible to the unaided eye. Because of this and its importance in biological discoveries, the light microscope is an essential tool for scientific studies. It can also be used with a variety of easily obtained specimens to provide dramatic demonstrations of previously unknown features of common plants and animals. Thus, one way to interest young people in science is to start with an introduction to light microscopy. This is an especially effective strategy for individuals who attend less advantaged or under-resourced schools, as they may not have been previously exposed to scientific concepts in their classes. However, introducing light microscopy lessons in the classroom can be challenging because of the high cost of light microscopes, even those that are relatively basic, in addition to their usual large size. Efforts are underway by our laboratory in collaboration with the Biophysical Society (BPS) to introduce young people to light microscopy using small, easy-to-assemble wooden microscopes developed by Echo Laboratories. The microscopes are available online as low-cost kits ($10 each with shipping), each consisting of 19 parts printed onto an 81⁄2 x 11 inch sheet of light-weight wood (Fig. 1). After punching out the pieces, they can be assembled into a microscope with a moveable stage and a low-power lens, also provided in the kit (Fig. 2). Photos taken with a cell phone through the microscope lens can give magnifications of ~16-18x, or higher. At these magnifications, features of specimens that are not visible to the unaided eye can be easily observed, e.g., small hairs on the margins of leaves or lichens [1]. As a member of the BPS Education Committee, one of us (SAE) wrote a Lesson Plan on Light Microscopy specifically for use with the wooden microscopes. SAE was also able to obtain a gift of 500 wooden microscope kits for the BPS from Echo Laboratories and Chroma Technology Corp in 2016. The wooden microscope kits, together with the lesson plan, have provided the materials for our present outreach efforts. Rather than giving out the wooden microscope kits to individuals, the BPS asked the Education Committee to maximize the impact of the gift by distributing the microscopes with the Lesson Plan on Light Microscopy to teachers, e.g., through teachers’ workshops or outreach sessions. This strategy was devised to enable the Society to reach a larger number of young people than by giving the microscopes to individuals. The Education Committee first evaluated the microscopes as a tool to introduce students to scientific concepts by providing microscopes to a BPS member at the National University of Colombia who conducted a workshop on Sept 19-24, 2016 in Tumaco, Columbia. During the workshop, which involved 120 high school girls and 80 minority students, including Afro-Colombian and older students, the students built the wooden microscopes and examined specimens, and compared the microscopes to a conventional light microscope. Assembling the wooden microscopes was found to be a useful procedure that was similar to a scientific protocol, and encouraged young girls and older students to participate in science. This was especially promising in Colombia, where there are few women in science and little effort to increase women in STEM fields. Another area of outreach emerged recently when one of us, USP, an undergraduate student at Duke University, who was taught by SAE how to assemble the wooden microscopes and how to use the lesson plan, took three wooden microscopes on a visit to her family in Bangalore, India in summer 2018 [2]. There she organized and led three sessions in state run, under-resourced government schools, involving classes of ~25-40 students each. This was very successful – the students enjoyed learning about the microscopes and building them, and the science teachers were interested in expanding the sessions to other government schools. USP taught the teachers how to assemble and use the microscopes and gave the teachers the microscopes and lesson plan, which is also available to the public at the BPS web site. She also met with a founder of the organization, Whitefield Rising, which is working to improve teaching in government schools, and taught her and several volunteers how to assemble the microscopes and conduct the sessions. The Whitefield Rising members have been able to conduct nine further sessions in Bangalore over the past ~18 months (Fig. 3), using microscope kits provided to them by the BPS. USP has continued to work with members of the Whitefield Rising group during her summer and winter breaks on visits to Bangalore. Recently she has been working with another volunteer group that has expanded the outreach efforts to New Delhi. The light microscopy outreach that our laboratory is conducting in India in collaboration with the BPS is having a positive impact because we have been able to develop a partnership with volunteers in Bangalore and New Delhi. The overall goal is to enhance science education globally, especially in less advantaged schools, by providing a low-cost microscope that can be used to introduce students to scientific concepts. 
    more » « less