Automated camera systems have enabled scientists to quickly track traits of thousands of plants. Now researchers at the Salk Institute are automating plant identification with 3D laser scanning and machine-learning algorithms. The algorithms teach a computer to analyze three-dimensional shapes of plant branches and leaves. They also may help scientists better quantify how plants respond to climate change, genetic mutations or other factors.
Salk researchers are using 3D laser scanning to capture the structure of plant architectures, thereby automating the process. They shine a laser at each plant to “paint” its surface with a beam. Resulting data – called a 3D point cloud – show fine details of a plant’s surface. But quantitatively analyzing point clouds can be challenging because the technology is so new and the datasets so large.
“The resolution and accuracy of this data is much better,” said Saket Navlakha, an associate professor in Salk’s Integrative Biology Laboratory. “But methods that have been developed for analyzing leaves and branches in 2D images don’t work as well for 3D point clouds.”
Some mosquitoes are night owls of the insect world, able to avoid running into walls, even in complete darkness. Now, researchers have figured out how these pesky insects do this, and they’ve used that information to build a sensor that may one day help keep helicopters safe.
From an article in Science by Elizabeth Pennisi.
The team homed in on an organ only some insects possess: an array of about 12,000 cells arranged in a circle around the base of each antenna—like an upside-down umbrella—that detects how the antenna wobbles. The researchers filmed Culex quinquefasciatus, a mosquito that transmits Zika and West Nile viruses, flying at different distances from the ground or a wall. The many thousands of resulting images helped the group visualize how air moves off the insect’s long, slender wings and how that flow changes as the mosquito moves closer to a surface (as seen in the video below). Continue reading →
Most new cars sold today include a bevy of sensors such as cameras and radar to help power modern conveniences like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. Very few automakers, however, sell cars with the high-powered laser sensor known as LIDAR, and for good reason: most LIDAR are ridiculously expensive, with the leading suppliers pricing theirs at around $75,000. But now, Volvo says it has found a LIDAR maker that can produce the sensors cheap enough to justify installing them on its consumer vehicles — which it says will allow these cars to drive themselves.
From an article in The Verge by Andrew J. Hawkins.
In 2018, Volvo made a “strategic investment” in a little-known Florida-based LIDAR company called Luminar to use the startup’s high-resolution long-range sensor to build self-driving cars. Today, Volvo is announcing that new LIDAR-equipped cars, which the Swedish automaker says will be able to drive themselves on highways with no human intervention, will start rolling off the production line in 2022. Continue reading →
Eisenhower Memorial Includes Gehry-Designed Panels of Normandy Coast
When it opens in September, one of the most dramatic features of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be a 450-foot-long stainless steel tapestry depicting the coast of Normandy, France, the site of the Allied D-Day Victory on June 6, 1944.
If only we had a leader like Ike today.
From an article in ConstructionDive by Jenn Goodman.
The 60-foot-high woven metal tapestry along the southern edge of the memorial site will serve as a striking backdrop to larger-than-life-size bronze statues depicting scenes from the life of the 34th U.S. president and five-star general.
Etched with a line drawing created by project architect Frank Gehry, the distinctive, transparent tapestry will shimmer during the day and reflect light at night, while leaving sightlines to surrounding buildings open, said Victoria Tidwell, deputy director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
Retrofitting and renovations are projects that often require a high level of detail for pre-design documentation. When it comes to a power plant, add to the mix multiple heights of pipes, ducts, exposed steel structure and a limited access window for onsite measurements and your documentation phase has now become a challenging logistical exercise. How do you quickly develop a 3D digital twin of existing conditions so you can properly plan for new piping and structure?
ECM – Global Measurement Solutions, leading provider of 3D Lidar Scanning and Design Engineering Services, was presented with such a task when asked to provide a 3D model of a power plant slated for renovations. Faced with retrofitting of the recovery exhaust containment areas, the client required an accurate 3D digital file indicating all surrounding pipes, structure, and fittings, down to the access hatches and bolt locations. The 3D scan data was to be taken in color, so the resulting digital file enabled ease of pipe and duct identification. Continue reading →
This is an excerpt from an article on Lidar News that provides an inside look at Surveying and Mapping, LLC – SAM and how technology has helped them become the largest geospatial service company in the U.S. (Originally posted September 2018.)
SAM Heavy-lift UAS
Surveying and Mapping, LLC (SAM) was founded in 1994 with a core guiding principle of leveraging the latest technologies to maximize value for clients. Today, SAM is the largest geospatial service company in the U.S. and has a reputation for being a technology leader in the AEC industry.
Since its founding, SAM has continuously expanded its services to include a broad range of geospatial services including manned and unmanned aerial mapping, airborne, mobile and terrestrial LiDAR, photogrammetry, geographic information systems (GIS), subsurface utility engineering (SUE), utility coordination (UC), hydrographic surveying, and construction phase services.
VCSELS – Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers are being used by Apple for Face ID and more, like gesture recognition.
VCSELS Patented by Apple
This past December 2018 Patently Apple posted two patent reports covering inventions from Google and LG. Google’s patent win covered using a depth camera like Apple’s TrueDepth camera for gesture recognition that interprets hand gesturing commands to control features found on future Pixel phones, tablets, Chromebooks and/or slate hybrids. It will use vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs which Apple uses for Face ID and more.
It may seem like a fairly straightforward upgrade from UAS photogrammetry to UAS Lidar, but that is simply not the case. It’s really all about a higher level of systems integration and fail-safe, standard operating procedures that most firms are not ready for. Time for a reality check.
There’s no question that the introduction of relatively low cost UAVs and lightweight, high resolution, digital camera systems has forever changed the digital mapping industry. Add to this the availability of open source, structure from motion algorithms and it’s a game changing package for the traditional land surveying and environmental mapping firms – even the small ones.
In most cases the projects being mapped were not likely candidates for full – sized photogrammetric flights, but these small UAS are becoming more capable. Once beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) is permitted, the traditional photogrammetric mapping firms may have to respond, if that’s possible.
This paper focuses on the use of the Teledyne Optech Titan multispectral lidar and novel analysis software to automatically classify the land/water boundary.
Rapid mapping of near-shore and coastal regions has become an indispensable task for the local authority to serve the purpose of coastal management and post-disaster monitoring. Aerial photogrammetry and satellite remote sensing have been utilized to fulfill such a task in the last few decades.
Airborne LiDAR can further compensate the drawbacks of these image capturing approaches as a result of the direct geo-referenced 3D point cloud. The recent introduction of multispectral airborne LiDAR, such as the Teledyne Optech Titan, can potentially enhance the capability of water mapping, minimize the involvement of manual intervention and reduce the use of supplementary information or ancillary data. Continue reading →
The ABB Ability mobile gas-leak detection system can now be mounted on a drone and flown into areas with suspected gas leaks, such as along natural gas pipelines.
By Chris McNamara, Smart Industry Content Director
The original method of hydrocarbon gas-leak detection was almost comically simplistic—and dangerous to boot. You walk around holding a flame and when it flares, you know you’re on to something.
The newest method, as displayed on the exhibit floor at ABB Customer World last week,is bit more…well…elevated. The ABB Ability mobile gas-leak detection system can now be mounted on a drone and flown into areas with suspected gas leaks, such as along natural gas pipelines. In real time, the 3-kg device (the size of a large shoe box) sends data to operators about gas levels at parts-per-billion granularity.