LLNL Dragon Dynamics
Possibility at the push of a button
Automation is growing around the world, from household to heavy industry. One area that has so far made superficial use of this technology is the research space. These institutions generally work with too low a volume of material to justify investing in expensive automated systems, and when they do it is often reserved for procedures involving hazardous or delicate materials. Researchers in the High Explosives Applications Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are currently looking to perform density tests on hundreds of small test samples. The process is tedious, taking 3-4 minutes per sample by hand; consequently, researchers identified it as a way to introduce advanced automation technology into the research space. To automate these density measurements, the University of California Santa Barbara's Dragon Dynamics Capstone Team developed The Dragon, a novel, robot-based part handling system that transports parts between measurement apparatus, collects and stores data, and automatically calculates sample density.