Yu Uny Cao
research was supported in part by NSF Young Investigator award
MIP-9257982 with matching support from High-Level Design Systems.
The UCLA Commotion Laboratory is supported by
NSF CDA-9303148 and matching funds from the UCLA School of
Engineering and Applied Science.
- One analogy would be the contrast between application-specific
integrated circuits (ASICs) such as controllers or DSP chips, and
While we view taskable machines as task-specific, other researchers
such as Horswill  consider the notion of
- As examples: (1) Power and bandwidth limitations to
telemetry may require intelligent image analysis before downlink
from the sensing hardware. (2) Time delays and uncertainty in
uplink of operator controls (e.g., to a deep-space probe via radio,
or to a mobile robot via an unreliable link in the Internet) may
require intelligent partitioning of control between the taskable
machine and its remote operator. Cf.  for an
overview of intelligent scheduling.
- See , which describes a safety net
for mobile robots based on potential fields, and uses the term
``teleautonomy''. Other useful references are contained in the
substantial literatures on teleoperation and telerobotics.
- Note that: (1) A single robot translates to
a single point of system failure. (2) Taskable machines by
their nature do not require the riskier leading-edge technology
needed by universal robots. (3) A system of multiple robots
can provide graceful degradation under failures.
actuation, program and video traces which comprise feedback to
the remote experimenter will at the same time provide back-annotation
of the experimental protocol.
- Public policy considerations must also
be addressed, e..g., how should access to a space telescope be
prioritized between a local researcher and a remote researcher,
between a school assembly and a Ph.D. student's experiment, etc.?
- We are not as interested
in a ``remote undergraduate biology
or chemistry laboratory'' (cf. ). Requirements such as
manipulation, machine vision, safe operation in human environments,
etc., dominate such a concept; these are not so dominant in the
distributed sensing, monitoring, and exploration tasks that we
envision for colonies of mobile taskable machines.
example,  showed that by using a Web interface, it is
possible to make robotics applications widely accessible by
appropriately abstracting the interface. On the other hand, 
showed that low-level real-time control can also be achieved over
- For users, resources
include actuation, sensing, computation and communication capabilities
of the taskable hardware, which form the basis for the remote experiment.
For the taskable hardware, resources include space, communications media,
etc. and engender many resource-conflict issues.
- By ``security'', we mean ``protection'', i.e.,
``a mechanism for controlling the access of programs, processes or users
to the resource defined by a [computer] system'' .
Web applications include:
(1) Net-frog  uses QuickTime movies to demonstrate
dissections in the frog anatomy. Users use a mouse to practice dissection
on still images of frog; the program monitors and notifies the users if,
e.g., they try to cut at the wrong place.
(2) The Monterey BayNet project  establishes the
backbone for multiple educational initiatives and research projects.
ATM, Frame Relay, and ISDN networks are interconnected, with the
Multicast Backbone  and World-Wide Web providing
tools for complete connectivity to a wide variety of existing information sources.
Ongoing projects include the live exploration of Monterey Canyon
using a deep-sea remotely-operated vehicle, and a ``virtual telescope''
interface to astronomical data at The Monterey Institute for Research in
(3) The NERO project  is an ongoing
multiple-institution effort in Oregon to create a virtual classroom,
i.e., collaborative research and teaching among the member institutions
and with industrial sites.
ATM provides the basic network technology. Collaborative tools,
distance learning and real-time control applications
such as robotics and flight simulators are some of the research areas.
- I.e., submitting a job and receiving
an image result -- sometimes days later.
- Because network delays are relatively long
and unpredictable, the remote software modules are first
downloaded automatically by Onika, then the whole program executes
on the machine where all modules reside.
- The Onika interface is built on
top of X-windows; it is not as simple to achieve an iconic interface and
real-time video using existing Web facilities.
- Various research works toward
``Virtual Environments'' and "Virtual Reality"
have already produced a number of software packages, architectures,
and operating systems. Two examples are as follows: (i) The VEOS (Virtual Environment
Operating Shell) project , which is a management facility
for generation of, interaction with and maintenance of virtual environments.
An early demonstration in a blocks world allowed four participants to
independently navigate and manipulate movable objects
in a shared virtual space.
(ii) The work of  allows informal collaboration
by embedding an information retrieval tool (Gopher) to a ``text-based
virtual reality'' environment; this is an example of merging computer-mediated
conferencing and online information retrieval.
widely used Web facilities are HTTP 1.0 ,
HTML 2.0 , CGI 1.1 ,
and the most widely used browser
is Netscape (Version 1.1 as of mid-April 1995).
However, the current Web facilities
do not effectively support: (i) real-time animation
(although ``poorman's animation''
is achievable via, e.g., Netscape 1.1's ``server push''
and ``client pull''),
and (ii) file upload capability. We note that
adding file upload function into HTML fill-out forms
has been proposed [33,36], and has been implemented
experimentally by some browsers such as Hot Java.
Fri May 12 16:04:55 PDT 1995