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EL Highlights April 2015

EL Highlights April 2015

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Programmatic/Technical Accomplishment

EL Disseminates Test Methods to Stimulate Progress in Robotic Dexterity

EL researchers Karl Van Wyk and Joe Falco developed a set of performance metrics and benchmarks to evaluate the grasping dexterity of robots, and with the help of Debbie Russell, posted these test methods online( for review and feedback by the robotic grasping community. This NIST effort on performance metrics and assessment for robotic systems is being promoted through the newly-formed IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Technical Committee on Robotic Hand Grasping and Manipulation. The project emphasizes that a robust set of formalized evaluations and benchmarks can help match robotic hand capabilities to end-user needs, as well as provide insight to robot system developers and researchers for improving their hardware and software designs. This suite of elemental tests and supporting data is the first of its kind. Multiple performance metric/test method pairs are presented, along with example implementations using the robotic hand technology available in the NIST Dexterous Manipulation Testbed. Data files from each example implementation are also provided. The current set of performance metrics for robotic grasping includes finger strength, grasp strength, slip resistance, touch sensitivity, finger force tracking, and sensor calibration. Future plans include development of additional benchmarks to evaluate grasp type, range of motion (per finger), repeatability, sensor sensitivity, in-hand manipulation, and grasp efficiency.

Contact:  Karl Van Wyk 301-975-3424 and Joe Falco 301-975-3455

EL's Schlenoff Chairs IEEE Working Group that Develops New Standard on Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation

The Standards Board of the IEEE Standards Association recently approved IEEE P1872 "Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation" as an IEEE standard. EL researcher Craig Schlenoff is the chair of the IEEE Ontologies for Robotics and Automation (ORA)Standards Working Group, in which this standard was developed. This new standard defines a core knowledge representation (i.e., ontology) that allows for the representation of, reasoning about, and communication of knowledge in the domain of robotics and automation. The standard ontology includes generic concepts, as well as their definitions, attributes, constraints, and relationships. These terms can be specialized to capture the detailed semantics for concepts in various robotics subdomains.The IEEE ORA Working Group is composed of164 representatives from 23 different countries and includes a cross-section of industry, academia, and government participants. The group will be recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society at the upcoming International Conference of Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in May2015

Contact: Craig Schlenoff 301-975-3456

NIST Releases Final Public Draft of Industrial Control System Security Guide Revision

NIST has released a new draft of SP 800-82, Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security, the second revision of the guide. This revisions includes updates to sections on ICS threats and vulnerabilities, risk management, recommended practices, security architectures, and security capabilities and tools for ICS. Downloaded more than 3 million times since its initial release in 2006, the NIST guide (NIST Special Publication 800-82 Guide to Industrial Control Systems(ICS) Security) advises on how to reduce the vulnerability of computer-controlled industrial systems used by industrial plants, public utilities, and other major infrastructure operations to malicious attacks, equipment failures, errors, inadequate malware protection, and other software-related threats. Most industrial control systems (ICS) began as proprietary, stand-alone collections of hardware and software that were separated from the rest of the world and isolated from most external threats. Today, widely available software applications, Internet-enabled devices, and other information technology (IT) offerings have been integrated into many systems, and the data produced in ICS operations are increasingly used to support business decisions. This connectivity has delivered many benefits, but it also has increased the vulnerability of these systems to malicious attacks, equipment failures, and many other threats. Due to their unique performance and reliability and safety requirements, securing industrial control system soften requires adaptations and extensions to security controls and processes commonly used in traditional IT systems. Recognizing this, a significant addition to the draft is a new appendix offering tailored guidance on how to adapt and apply security controls and control enhancements detailed in the 2013 comprehensive update of Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations (NIST Special Publication800-53, Revision 4) to ICS. SP 800-53 contains a baseline set of security controls that can be tailored for specific needs according to an organization's mission, operational environment, and the technologies used. The new draft SP 800-82, Revision 2 includes an ICS overlay that adapts and refines that baseline to address the specialized security needs of utilities, chemical companies, food manufacturers, automakers, and other users of industrial control systems. The final draft includes revisions and additions responding to comments that NIST received from approximately 30 organizations during the initial comment review period. Comments on the latest and final public review draft were due before March 10, 2015. The document is scheduled to be finalized by May 2015. 

Contact: Keith Stouffer 301-975-3877



EL Hosts US-Japan Workshop on Fire Research

EL hosted "Operation Tomodachi—Fire Research" on March 16-18, 2015 in Gaithersburg, Md. Tomodachi means friendship in Japanese. This workshop is organized by EL in partnership with the Japan Association for Fire Science and Engineering (JAFSE). This is a formal continuation of the kickoff meeting held at NIST in June2011. Due to the success of the kickoff meeting, EL signed a Statement of Intent with JAFSE to hold two more workshops, the first held in Tokyo in 2012 (see Fire Safety Journal 59:122-131, 2013 for a summary of that workshop) and the second to be held at NIST on March 16-18, 2015. The objective of the workshop is to develop scientific knowledge and translate it to building codes and standards that will be of use to both countries to reduce the devastation caused by unwanted fires and provide a forum for next generation researchers to present their work and develop research collaborations. Participants will tour EL's newly constructed National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL).Oral presentations are focused on two topics: Large Outdoor Fires (LOF) and Fire-Structure Interaction (FSI).The final program includes scheduled oral presentations from many organizations in the US and Japan representing including industry, academia and government. Poster sessions are planned in the areas of LOF and FSI, as well as two general fire safety science poster sessions. Papers will form a special issue of the journal Fire Technology.

Contact: Sam Manzello 301-975-6891


EL's Persily Joins Editorial Board of Building and Environment

Andrew Persily, chief of EL's Energy and Environment Division, was recently named to the editorial board of Building and Environment, the International Journal of Building Science and its Application. The journal publishes original research papers and review articles related to building science and human interaction with the built environment, including: thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort; indoor air quality; and the outdoor environment in the proximity of buildings. Persily was selected based on his 30 plus years of experience conducting research on indoor environments, specializing in building energy efficiency, building envelope performance, ventilation and HVAC system assessment, indoor air quality monitoring, and airflow and contaminant dispersal modeling. Building and Environment has a 5-year impact factor, as determined by the Journal Citation Reports, of 3.022.

CONTACT: Andy Persily 301-975-6418

EL's Payne Recognized by ASHRAE

W. Vance Payne of EL's Energy and Environment Division has received a Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Payne has been an ASHRAE member since 2005 and participated in ASHRAE conferences since 1992. Over his ASHRAE tenure, he chaired or made presentations at numerous technical sessions, and participated in work of several ASHRAE committees. Most recently he chaired two Technical Committees: TC8.11, Unitary and Room Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps (2012-2014), and TC8.8,Refrigerant System Controls and Accessories (2008-2010). He has also served on seven Standard Project Committees concerned with method of tests of various types of space-conditioning equipment and its components. Presentation of the award will take place on June 27, 2015, during the opening Plenary Session of the Society's Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

CONTACT: Vance Payne 301-975-6663

Created July 6, 2015, Updated September 21, 2016