NIST logo

EL Highlights April 2013

Return to Highlight page


EL Opens New Robot Test Facility; NIST Research Showcased for National Robotics Initiative
After four years of planning and construction, the new NIST Robot Test Facility (RTF), designated as Building 207, officially opened for business mid-April. This facility will be used by researchers to develop new measurement science and standard test methods for evaluating and improving the performance and capabilities of robot systems, ranging from mobile emergency response robots used in search and rescue situations to robotic arms with advanced capabilities for grasping and manipulation used in manufacturing applications.

In conjunction with the RTF opening, NIST hosted an April 17 meeting of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), composed of federal government program managers responsible for robotics research. Organized by the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the NRI promotes sharing of information about federal research programs and is intended to spur participation in a joint solicitation for robotics research funding. At this meeting, NIST showcased the new Robot Test Facility and our measurement science research in next-generation robotics and automation to about 40 representatives from several federal agencies. Al Wavering, Chief of the EL Intelligent Systems Division, welcomed the attendees, and EL researcher Elena Messina presented a summary of robotics research at NIST. Other briefings and discussions about the 2014 NRI solicitation and workshops rounded out the formal meeting agenda.

As the first event hosted in the new building, EL researcher Adam Jacoff provided a tour of the Robot Test Facility, featuring robots being evaluated using the Response Robots Standard Test Methods. These standard test methods were developed by NIST and external collaborators through sponsorship by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and are published under the ASTM E54 Committee on Homeland Security Applications. Also on display was the new Manufacturing Dexterous Manipulation and Collaborative Robotics testbed. EL researchers Joe Falco and Jeremy Marvel briefed the visitors on this new self-contained testbed that includes a lightweight robot arm, a grasping tool with fingers and “touch” sensors, and safety systems. EL is using this testbed to develop measurement science for safe collaboration between humans and robots, as well as more capable manipulation for manufacturing applications.

Contact: Elena Messina, (301) 975-3510
  Category: Interactions

EL Hosts IEEE 1588 Standards Meeting on the Future of Precision Clock Synchronization
EL researcher Kang Lee organized and hosted a meeting of the IEEE 1588 Standards Study Group at NIST on April 2-3. The purpose of this study group is to determine the future direction of the IEEE 1588 Standard for a Precision Clock Synchronization Protocol for Networked Measurement and Control Systems, also adopted as international standard IEC 61588. One use of the protocol is to help the systems achieve distributed clock accuracy in the sub-microsecond range, making it suitable for use in measurement and control systems. On some research networks, implementations of the protocol have been demonstrated to achieve sub-nanosecond distributed clock accuracy. At this meeting, participants examined the need to revise the standard and scope to address security issues and to extend its capabilities down to sub-nanosecond accuracy necessary for demanding industrial, commercial, and scientific applications, as well as for next generation, high-speed 100 GigaBit networks.

More than 60 international participants attended, representing industries and organizations including industrial automation, aerospace, test and measurement, power and utility (Smart Grid), telecommunications, semiconductor manufacturing, academia, and government. EL Director Shyam Sunder welcomed the group and addressed how NIST programs in smart manufacturing, Smart Grid, and cyber physical systems could benefit greatly from the IEEE 1588 standard, with its capability for high-accuracy clock distribution and synchronization for networked systems.

Contact: Kang Lee, (301) 975-6604
  Category: Interactions


EL Staff Recognized for Leadership in Developing First Manufacturing Simulation Data International Standard
During its 2013 Spring Simulation Interoperability Workshop, The Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) awarded Swee Leong, Frank Riddick, and Tina Lee each with the SISO Standards Development Recognition plaque.  This award recognizes key contributors who have successfully driven the development of new standards. Leong, Riddick, and Lee were recognized for their diligence and technical leadership as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Editor, respectively, for SISO’s Core Manufacturing Simulation Data (CMSD) standard (SISO-STD-008-01-2012).  CMSD is a standardized information model that provides neutral structures for the efficient exchange of manufacturing data in a simulation environment. The neutral structures can be used to support the integration of simulation software with other manufacturing applications.

In recent years, many organizations have applied CMSD specifications, both in draft and in final form, in various application domains where simulation has been involved.  These application domains include: design and planning, production engineering, supply chain, sustainable manufacturing, and construction.  Many different commercial simulation systems were involved in these application efforts, including ExtendSim V8, 3DCreate, Visual Components, Plant Simulation, Enterprise Dynamics, Arena, and the Queuing Event Simulation Tool (QUEST) to improve interoperability in terms of the representation of manufacturing simulation data.

POC: Sudarsan Rachuri, (301) 975-4264
  Category: Recognition

EL’s Ivezic and Kulvatunyou Receive OAGi Outstanding Contributor Recognition
Drs. Nenad Ivezic and Serm Kulvatunyou of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) were presented the Outstanding Contributor Award by the Open Applications Group (OAGi) at the recent OAGi annual meeting hosted by NIST. This award recognizes Ivezic’s and Kulvatunyou’s many valued contributions to the Open Applications Group standards validation and industry pilot projects over the years – predominantly with the automotive industry sector. Ivezic is now co-leading OAGi’s new effort on Sustainability Characterization of Product Assembly and Production Networks (SCPAP). Kulvatunyou is actively contributing toward OAGi’s standardization activities by developing a pattern-based information modeling methodology for manufacturing service capability (MSC) information, as well as a reference model for the MSC information that will eventually lead to a new OAGi Business Object Document (BOD), a message architecture based on nouns and verbs as reusable components.

Founded in 1994, OAGi is a not-for-profit open standards development organization. It focuses on building process-based business standards for mobile business, cloud computing, e-commerce, application integration, service oriented architecture (SOA), and web services.

Contact: Simon Frechette,  (301) 975-3335
  Category: Recognition

EL and University of Maryland Collaboration Gains Momentum/Recognition
A collaborative agreement between the Engineering Laboratory and the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD) on Modeling and Synthesis of Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) has yielded research worthy of recognition.

University of Maryland Ph.D. student Leonard Petnga and Associate Professor Mark Austin won the Best Paper award at the Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER-13), March 19-22, 2013, in Atlanta. The winning paper, titled “Ontologies of Time and Time-Based Reasoning for Model-Based Systems Engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems.”, discusses temporal semantics and their central role in developing a new time-based reasoning framework in developing Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for CPS. This class of problems is defined by a tight integration of software and physical processes, the need to satisfy stringent constraints on performance, safety and a reliance on automation for the management of system functionality. Petnga is a University of Maryland Cyber-Physical Systems Scholar at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Contact:  Allison Barnard Feeney, (301) 975-3181
  Category: Recognition