Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

Design Patterns for Research Methods: Iterative Research

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Pre-print version of my article to be presented at the AAAI Spring Symposium: Experimental Design for Real World Systems

For the last two decades the idea of design patterns has been a useful abstraction for computer scientists and programmers. As computer scientists, and scientists of all fields, are more than just programmers, we can apply the patterns concept to more than just program design. Indeed, the meta-creative processes and research methods which generate the code can also be viewed through the patterning abstraction to identify research method patterns and the contexts where they can be applied. One example of a research pattern is Iterative Research. Two examples of this Iterative Research method will be presented: the first investigating the vehicle, interface, and team CONOPS for small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) used during Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) operations, and the second working to develop a multi-operator team HRI metric and robot usability evaluation method.

Originally I just had the Iterative Research pattern, but calling it a pattern was shamelessly inspired by Merlin Mann’s discussion of creativity patterns (The Problem with “Feeling Creative” | Toward Patterns for Creativity)

PDF:Research Method Patterns

On being a published photographer…

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Well, sort of…

One of my CC pictures of Ala Moana beach was included in the online Schmap guide for Hawaii: Schmap Guide to Honolulu

(No, I’d never heard of them before. Yes, they just sent me a message on Flickr and asked about the picture.)

CONOPS and Autonomy Recommendations for VTOL MAVs Based on Observations of Hurricane Katrina UAV Operations

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Preprint of my Autonomous Robots journal article based on our UAV work following Hurricane Katrina.

Title: CONOPS and Autonomy Recommendations for VTOL MAVs Based on Observations of Hurricane Katrina UAV Operations

PDF: UAVs at Hurricane Katrina journal preprint


This field study examines VTOL UAV operations conducted as part of an 8 day structural inspection task following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. From the observations of the 32 lights spread over 12 missions, four key findings are identified for CONOPS and the next level of artificial intelligence for rotary-wing UAVs operating in cluttered urban environments. These findings are 1) the minimum useful standoff distance from inspected structures is 2-5m, 2) omni-directional sensor capabilities are needed for obstacle avoidance, 3) GPS waypoint navigation is unnecessary, and 4) that these operations require three operators for one MAV. Based on the findings and other observations, a crewing organization and flight operations protocol for UAVs are proposed. Needed directions in research and development are also discussed. These recommendations are expected to contribute to the design of platforms, sensors, and artificial intelligence as well as facilitate the acceptance of UAVs into the workplace.

I’ll add this in once it gets published. It should be in Autonomous Robots eventually.

LaTeX and \flushleft

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

I’m assembling a big report for MSHA in LaTeX and using the book document class, which normally justifies just splendidly. So when it stopped justifying paragraphs correctly and was giving ragged right edges, that was a problem.

Long story short: I copied some different environments (description, etc) from the web and brought in a \flushleft, which I thought would just apply to that element. Wrong. It changed the setting from then on. Removed all the \flushlefts, and it sets the paragraphs correctly.

And hurray for science and methodical debugging…..”Well the first section is right, and the beginning of section two, and then it goes to shit after this list here. Hey, what’s this \flushleft doing here?”

HOWTO: 2-column images in LaTeX

Friday, February 15th, 2008

From Jason Rennie’s LaTeX Tips and Tricks:

2-Column Images
When in 2-column mode (using either \twocolumn or the multicols environment (package multicol)), use \begin{figure*} and \begin{table*} to create figures and tables that span the entire width of the page. \begin{figure} and \begin{table} span only one column.

Uni. South Florida Master’s Thesis: “Analysis of VTOL MAV Use During Rescue and Recovery Operations Following Hurricane Katrina”

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

At long last, here are all the materials from my Master’s Thesis:


There can be little doubt that Hurricane Katrina will always be remembered for the damage and devastation it caused. But it also provided the first opportunity for MAVs to be used and evaluated during Search and Rescue (SAR) as well as recovery operations. Researchers from The Center for Robot-Assisted Search And Rescue (CRASAR) made two separate deployments to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina: one during initial SAR operations and a second deployment during recovery operations 90 days later. Using data and observations from both of these deployments, this work draws four key findings about semi-autonomous Miniature UAV (MAV) operations in urban environments. These findings are intended to guide future MAV research as well as serve as a roadmap for the evolution from semi-autonomous to fully autonomous MAV capabilities. These findings are as follows: the minimum useful standoff distance from inspected structures is 2-5 m, omni-directional sensor capabilities are needed for obstacle avoidance, GPS waypoint navigation is unnecessary, and that these operations currently require three operators for one MAV.

Link to the PDF: Master’s Thesis

And linked offsite to save space (so, email me if these links ever break):

The sources (LaTeX, BibTeX, style class, and images to build the pdf):

The Keynote presentation: Master’s Defense
PDF export of presentation + videos: Master’s Defense PDF
(there is a list of which video goes to what slide in the zip)

And finally, as with the thesis itself, all of this is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: CC 3.0 By-NC

Other Theses with CC

Friday, August 17th, 2007

I will be publishing my Masters’ thesis under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial license (, so I’ve started a collection of other theses and dissertations doing this.
Access to Knowledge in a Network Society by Karsten Gerloff, published by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

A Framework for Open Source Projects by Gregor Rothfuss
BoingBoing post on CC licensed dissertations BoingBoing post pointing to some of the earliest known cases of CC-licensed academic work in the wild.  It should also be noted that my licensing my masters this way is primarily due to Cory’s evangelism on this count, and particularly some comments about the nature of “The Academy”

(also wicked old and posted from LAS waiting for HNL)

Overview of Requirements for Semi-Autonomous Flight in Miniature UAVs

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Here are the paper and the presentation for my first published paper, “Overview of Requirements for Semi-Autonomous Flight in Miniature UAVs”

Here is the paper (pdf link):

PDF of “Overview of Requirements for Semi-Autonomous Flight in Miniature UAVs”
and a zip file of the presentation with the included videos (45MB zip):

Zip of ppt and videos from my presentation at AUVSI 2006

and finally here is a pdf of the presentation (5MB pdf):

PDF of Semi-Autonomy Requirements (Presented at AUVSI 2006)

Also, here are the video segments individually:CNN clip about the Biloxi research , Flight obstacles short clip , Site Access short clip