Sysbrain Lets Satellites Think For Themselves
Sysbrain is a cognitive software agent written especially for satellites, to help them act autonomously while in orbit. Sysbrain even allows satellites to go out on the human Internet and read English-language technical documents and receive instruction on subjects like identifying and avoiding obstacles.
Sysbrain is being developed at the University of Southampton by Professor Sandor Veres; he states that
“We have invented sysbrain to control intelligent machines. Sysbrain is a special breed of software agents with unique features such as natural language programming to create them, human-like reasoning, and most importantly they can read special English language documents in ‘system English’ or ‘sEnglish’. Human authors of sEnglish documents can put them on the web as publications and sysbrain can read them to enhance their physical and problem solving skills. This allows engineers to write technical papers directly for sysbrain that control the machines.”
(From Prof. Sandor Veres with sysbrain test satellites)
To test the control systems that could be applied in a space environment, Professor Veres and his team constructed a unique test facility and a fleet of satellite models, which are controlled by the sysbrain cognitive agent control system.
The ‘Autonomous Systems Testbed’ consists of a glass covered precision level table, surrounded by a metal framework, which is used to mount overhead visual markers, observation cameras and isolation curtains to prevent any external light sources interfering with experimentation. Visual navigation is performed using onboard cameras to observe the overhead marker system located above the test area. This replicates how spacecraft would use points in the solar system to determine their orientation.
The perfectly-balanced model satellites, which rotate around a pivot point with mechanical properties similar to real satellites, are placed on the table and glide across it on roller bearings almost without friction to mimic the zero-gravity properties of space. Each model has eight propellers to control movement, a set of inertia sensors and additional cameras to be ‘spatially aware’ and to ‘see’ each other. The model’s skeletal robot frame also allows various forms of hardware to be fitted and experimented with.
I was trying to think of examples of satellites thinking for themselves, which should strike you as a fair topic for science fictional treatment. For example, the first Star Trek movie contained Vger, which had been reprogrammed and enhanced in an alien encounter (if I remember correctly). V;ger was not strictly speaking a satellite, but rather an explorational vehicle, but it's close.
(V'ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
More recently, Lucasfilms has done its best to create autonomous weaponized nanosatellites. The buzz droid from Revenge of the Sith has the following characteristics:
An insidious weapon unveiled by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the later stages of the Clone Wars, buzz droids are tenacious saboteurs launched onto enemy starfighters via specialized missiles. When the missile achieves an optimum proximity to its target, it fragments to unleash a cloud of melon-sized metal spheres into the target's flight path. The spheres attach themselves to a target vessel, popping open to reveal an insect-like droid equipped with cutters and other tools of vandalism...
(From Star Wars Buzz Droid)
Perhaps readers can think of other examples.
From University of Southampton press releasevia our friends at Frolix_8.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2011)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 7 )
Related News Stories -
Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.' - George Lucas, 1977.
Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.' - EC Tubb, 1958.
Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'
Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'
Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'
Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'
NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!
The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System — call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'
Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'
Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'
Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'
Project Dylan - Amazon's Voice-Activated Wearable That Recognizes Human Emotions
Life imitates anime art.
Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'
Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'
Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'
Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories