2525 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Dept. of Civil Engineering
500 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Facilities › Telepresence
The MAST Laboratory telepresence system encompasses tools that streamline telecontrol, teleobservation, teleconferencing, and data and video archiving, as well as assist researchers in visualization and analysis of the experimental results. State-of-the-art telepresence capabilities also enable remote use of the MAST Laboratory resources. Together, software systems developed in-house and NEES standard telepresence software allow both on-site researchers and remote observers to participate on an equal footing, each having complete control of the information flow.
With the MAST Laboratory telepresence tools, researchers can:
- Remotely control and monitor the MAST crosshead 6-DOF position through a juried control process. Track the specimen with eight remotely controllable, positionable, robotic video cameras and eight digital still cameras.
- Monitor sound from the specimen with eight highly sensitive directional microphones.
- Watch and listen to the activities happening on the laboratory floor through two tele-robotic lab-sweep cameras and two omni-directional microphones.
- Receive live streams of an active experiment with up to 500 sensor data channels and 10 video and audio channels via Internet2.
- View and analyze data synchronously in the MAST Laboratory control room using in-house software and the 12-screen video wall.
- Use the NEES Real Time Dataviewer (RDV) for live and archived data viewing on any Java-enabled computer from anywhere in the world.
- Archive videos from up to eight lab video cameras onto the local terabyte RAID array with 35 hours storage per camera (depending on video frame rate).
- Communicate and discuss experimental results live with colleagues at remote locations through video teleconferencing.
Camera Tower: one of four portable telepresence towers
Camera equipment shelf.
Four robotic towers are used to position cameras along the full height of the specimen. Towers may be adjusted to heights of 12, 18, or 24 feet.
Each tower houses two shelves that may be positioned vertically independent of one another. A sophisticated control system is installed on each tower in order to control and monitor shelf movements and vital statistics remotely.
On each of the tower shelf are:
- 1 x Sony EVI-HD1 (in SD mode) video camera with remotely controllable pan, tilt, optical zoom (10x), and focus.
- 1 x Canon SX110IS 9-megapixel still image camera with pan/tilt head. Remotely controlled pan, tilt, zoom, focus, and shutter click.
- 1 x high-sensitivity directional microphone.
- 1 x high intensity 300W lamp that is operable remotely.
In addition to the tower cameras, two lab-sweep cameras and omnidirectional microphones are installed to provide an overview of the laboratory floor and to detect ambient sound in the environment.
The Central Control and Configuration (CCC) workstation in the control room provides a comprehensive control interface for all the towers and camera devices. Robotic camera functions - such as pan, tilt, zoom, focus and shutter click - may be controlled through the CCC. The CCC also provides an easy-to-use interface for positioning the tower shelves to the desired height.
The Central Control and Configuration program (CCC), running locally in the control room, is the control system for the MAST Laboratory's four 24-foot camera towers and other telepresence system components. This in-house developed program consists of a device control panel for controlling cameras and tower shelves, and a video and system monitoring panel for monitoring the tower cameras, labsweep cameras, and DVD recorders.
CCC software gives users the ability to control:
- the telepresence and archiving systems.
- pan, tilt, zoom, focus, and picture/video control for eight video cameras and eight still image cameras.
- the vertical motion and lights of all telepresence tower shelves.
Remote Hydraulic Control Software
Real Time Dataviewer (RDV)
Remote HCC is a NTCP-enabled Java application that can interface with the MAST Hydraulic Control Computer (HCC) from an offsite location.
The remote HCC's interface recreates what the operator sees on the screen of the Hydraulic Control Computer in the MAST control room. Any changes to the targets' values or system status will simultaneously be shown on both HCC and remote HCC screens.
Issuing a move command from the remote HCC does not move the MAST system. Rather, the hydraulics operator at the MAST control room will be notified that remote user intends to move the system. It is then possible to review the new targets and determine whether or not to execute the move.
Real-Time Data Viewer (RDV)
NEES Real-Time Data Viewer (a demo is available,Java required) is a software package for viewing time synchronized live or archived experimental data and video over the Internet from a Data Turbine server.
RDV is capable of displaying multiple time series data plots, videos, and images side-by-side. There are buttons for changing the playback mode to normal, forward, backward, or real-time. The "Time" slider can be used to go forward or backward in time to view the desirable data. There are also sliders for changing the playback time scale and the rate at which video is displayed.
The Flexible TelePresence System is a MJPEG video streaming and robotic camera control system (access flexTPS portal).
MAST flexTPS portal is fully integrated with GridAuth. Only authorized personnel may access all the cameras in the lab. Members of the general public may access two lab sweep cameras without login. Pan, tilt, zoom, and focus of the video camera can be controlled remotely through flexTPS.
Network & IT Infrastructure
Both gigabit and 10/100 ethernet connections are available throughout the Laboratory. There is also a secured 802.11n wireless network. External traffic is routed through the high speed Abilene Internet2 network.
A 12 terabyte onsite repository provides storage for archiving data and video. The repository can store hundreds of hours of video for each of eight cameras at 640x480 resolution and 25 frames per second. Data on the repository and other computers in the laboratory is backed up to a tape library daily.
Standalone and mobile video teleconferencing units are available for use in the laboratory. The standalone unit can interface with the wireless intercom to provide teleconferencing capability to the project personnel working on the test floor.
Two ruggedized Panasonic ToughBook laptops are available for use in the laboratory. They may be used to connect to the internal secured wireless network and to access the hydraulic control software and the DAQ software through remote desktop software.
|Video, Audio, & Lighting Equipment|
|Camera Tower (x4)||
|Video Camera (x10)||
|Digital Still Image Camera (x8)||
|Video & Data Streaming|
|MJPEG Video Streaming||
|Data Turbine Data & Video Streaming||
|Video & Data Archiving|
|On-Site Terabyte Repository||
|National Repository (NEEShub)||
|Network & IT Infrastructure|
|Teleconferencing & Remote Desktop|
|Video Teleconferencing Unit||
|Wireless Headset (Beltpack)||
|WiFi Laptop (x2) / Remote Desktop||
Software and Equipment Documents
|Control/Data Processing Processing||Dell Precision T3400 Dell PowerEdge R710 Dell Power Edge 2650|
|Experiment Laptop||Panasonic Toughbook 30|
|Strain-Guage Bridge||National Instrument SCXI-1520-8 National Instrument SCXI-1314|
|Network Management: Network Security Network Switches||SonicWall NSA 2400 Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches Cisco Catalyst 3750G Integrated Wireless LAN|
|Storage||hp Storageworks P3400|
|Disaster Recovery||Drobo B800fs|
|Video Encoding Servers||Dell Poweredge 2950 Kramer VM-1045|
|Video Processing||Axis 241S (factory specs) Axis 241s (MAST specs)|
|DAQ Rack Temperature Sensors||SeversCheck SC-TS01|
|Power Management||Powerware 9170|
|Image Processing/Lab Monitoring||Fit-PC2i Intense PC|
|Tower: Video Camera Still Image Camera Microphone Camera Pan-Tilt Unit||Sony EVI-HD1 Canon SX110IS Shure MX400SE PTU-D46|