The development of tools for complex dynamic security systems is not a straight forward engineering task but, rather, a scientific task where discovery of new scientific principles and math is necessary. For years, scientists have observed complex behavior but have had difficulty understanding it. Prominent examples include: insect colony organization, the stock market, molecular interactions, fractals, and emergent behavior. Engineering such systems will be an even greater challenge. This report explores four tools for engineered complex dynamic security systems: Partially Observable Markov Decision Process, Percolation Theory, Graph Theory, and Exergy/Entropy Theory. Additionally, enabling hardware technology for next generation security systems are described: a 100 node wireless sensor network, unmanned ground vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle.
This report contains the results of a research effort on advanced robot locomotion. The majority of this work focuses on walking robots. Walking robot applications include delivery of special payloads to unique locations that require human locomotion to exo-skeleton human assistance applications. A walking robot could step over obstacles and move through narrow openings that a wheeled or tracked vehicle could not overcome. It could pick up and manipulate objects in ways that a standard robot gripper could not. Most importantly, a walking robot would be able to rapidly perform these tasks through an intuitive user interface that mimics natural human motion. The largest obstacle arises in emulating stability and balance control naturally present in humans but needed for bipedal locomotion in a robot. A tracked robot is bulky and limited, but a wide wheel base assures passive stability. Human bipedal motion is so common that it is taken for granted, but bipedal motion requires active balance and stability control for which the analysis is non-trivial. This report contains an extensive literature study on the state-of-the-art of legged robotics, and it additionally provides the analysis, simulation, and hardware verification of two variants of a proto-type leg design.
This report describes an integrated approach for designing communication, sensing, and control systems for mobile distributed systems. Graph theoretic methods are used to analyze the input/output reachability and structural controllability and observability of a decentralized system. Embedded in each network node, this analysis will automatically reconfigure an ad hoc communication network for the sensing and control task at hand. The graph analysis can also be used to create the optimal communication flow control based upon the spatial distribution of the network nodes. Edge coloring algorithms tell us that the minimum number of time slots in a planar network is equal to either the maximum number of adjacent nodes (or degree) of the undirected graph plus some small number. Therefore, the more spread out that the nodes are, the fewer number of time slots are needed for communication, and the smaller the latency between nodes. In a coupled system, this results in a more responsive sensor network and control system. Network protocols are developed to propagate this information, and distributed algorithms are developed to automatically adjust the number of time slots available for communication. These protocols and algorithms must be extremely efficient and only updated as network nodes move. In addition, queuing theory is used to analyze the delay characteristics of Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) networks. This report documents the analysis, simulation, and implementation of these algorithms performed under this Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) effort.