TIET Newsletter
Mar 2019

In this Issue
  • Engineers develop inexpensive, smart stop sign to improve driver safety
  • Turning buildings into energy producers
  • Using reinforcement learning to achieve human-like balance control strategies in robots
  • TIET Updates

Engineers develop inexpensive, smart stop sign to improve driver safety

Sometimes, in the dark, the stop sign at road intersections blends with the night and the speeding motorist crossing that section crashes with another vehicle. According to Department of Transportation, more than half of all roadway fatalities occurred on rural roads are the result of the poor visibility of such road signals. Now engineers at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are building and testing a low-cost, self-powered thermal system that will detect vehicles, improve the visibility of stop signs, and prevent deaths.

To improve driver safety, the researchers in the UTSA College of Engineering created a low-cost, self-powered intersection detection and warning system to alert motorists about potential dangers. This next-generation stop sign uses a multi-pixel passive infrared sensor that detects a vehicle as it approaches an intersection. Once the vehicle is within the sensing range, sensor observes thermal signatures and processes them to detect passing vehicles, distinguishes the vehicle's direction of travel, estimates the velocity of its thermal signature and determines the classification of the vehicle, and then the signal beacon triggers the stop sign's flashing system. Compared to current traffic sensing technologies in urban areas such as magnetic loop inductors, video image processors and microwave radar, the new system consumes less power and offers better accuracy and is also much less expensive to produce.

Turning buildings into energy producers
Photovoltaics can be used directly in building and renovation projects and serve as a construction material in their own right. Integrating solar panels into facades and roofs can transform buildings into electricity producers and reduce CO2 emissions. To develop and promote this technology, Be-Smart project partners will design multifunctional solar panels that not only produce energy but also do the job of other building materials with insulating, soundproofing or aesthetic qualities. The use of BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaics) in facades and in the construction sector more broadly is expanding rapidly, thanks in part to the pioneering technology developed by EPFL and CSEM. This technology need to be more accessible so that it can be used more extensively and not just in flagship building projects.
This technology runs on solar energy and thus causes 10 to 20 times less CO2 than conventional thermal power plants. The photovoltaic technology used for this project is based on crystalline silicon, which is found in most solar panels. Since the panels need to have a guaranteed lifespan of 30 to 50 years if they are to be integrated into buildings, reliability is essential – and one of the project goals. At the moment, the energy payback period for a solar panel – i.e., the time needed for the panel to generate the same amount of energy used to make it – is between one and three years. According to the project partners, widespread use of this technology in facades and roofs could produce roughly the amount of energy currently consumed in Switzerland.

Using reinforcement learning to achieve human-like balance control strategies in robots
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed a hierarchical framework based on deep reinforcement learning (RL) that can acquire a variety of strategies for humanoid balance control. Their framework, outlined in a paper pre-published on arXiv and presented at International Conference on Humanoid Robotics, could perform far more human-like balancing behaviors than conventional controllers.
When standing or walking, human beings innately and effectively use a number of techniques for under-actuated control that help them to keep their balance. These include toe tilting and heel rolling, which create better foot-ground clearance. Replicating similar behaviors in humanoid robots could greatly improve their motor and movement capabilities. "Our research focuses on using deep RL to solve dynamic locomotion of humanoid robots," Dr. Zhibin Li, a lecturer in robotics and control at the University of Edinburgh, who carried out the study, told TechXplore. "In the past, locomotion was mainly done using conventional analytical approaches—model based, which are limited because they require human effort and knowledge, and demand high computing power to run online."

Requiring less human effort and manual tuning, machine learning techniques could lead to the development of more effective and specific controllers than traditional engineering approaches. A further advantage of using RL is that the computation for these tools can also be outsourced offline, resulting in faster online performance for high dimensional control systems, such as humanoid robots. The researchers tested the performance of their algorithm and achieved highly promising results.
  • TIET conducts webinars on upcoming and latest technologies every month.

  • TIET conducted webinar on SOLIDWORKS.

  • TIET offers certifications in Revit, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor, and 3ds Max for Students and Professionals.

  • TIET conducted free Faculty development program on SOLIDWORKS and BIM for the faculty involved in teaching these courses.

  • TIET is providing training on Rhino software.

Textbook Overview
CADCIM Technologies publishes textbooks on Computer Aided Design, Manufacturing, and Engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE), Civil, GIS, Animation, and Computer Programming software... More

New Releases
CADCIM announces the release of  Exploring Autodesk Navisworks 2019, 5th Edition; Pixologic ZBrush 2018: A Comprehensive Guide; Exploring AutoCAD Civil 3D 2019, 9th Edition; Exploring Oracle Primavera P6 Professional 18, 3rd Edition; Solid Edge 2019 for Designers, 16th Edition; SOLIDWORKS 2019 for Designers, 17th Edition; CATIA V5-6R2018 for Designers, 16th Edition; Learning SOLIDWORKS 2018: A Project Based Approach; Autodesk 3ds Max 2019: A Comprehensive Guide, 19th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2019 for MEP, 6th Edition; Creo Parametric 5.0 for Designers, 5th Edition; Autodesk Inventor Professional 2019 for Designers, 19th Edition; AutoCAD 2019: A Problem-Solving Approach, Basic and Intermediate, 25th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2019 for Structure, 9th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2019 for Architecture, 15th Edition; Blender 2.79 for Digital Artists; Autodesk Fusion 360: A Tutorial Approach... More

Upcoming Textbooks
Our team of authors is currently working on the new and latest releases of various software packages and will soon come up with AutoCAD 2020: A Problem-Solving-Approach, Basic and Intermediate, 26th Edition; Autodesk Inventor Professional 2020 for Designers, 20th Edition;  AutoCAD MEP 2020 for Designers, 5th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2020 for MEP, 7th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2020 for Structure, 10th Edition; Exploring Autodesk Revit 2020 for Architecture, 16th Edition; Autodesk 3ds Max 2020: A Comprehensive Guide, 20th Edition; Autodesk Maya 2019: A Comprehensive Guide, 11th Edition ... More

***The news items contained in this newsletter have been compiled from various publications and restructured to make our readers familiar with emerging technologies. TIET does not claim any copyright of these items.

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