The animal kingdom is full of both human and non-human animals worthy of investigation, emulation and re-creation. As such, my research group has created a comprehensive research program focusing on biologically-inspired robots, and has applied them to search and rescue, minimally invasive surgery, and manufacturing. These robots inspire great scientific challenges in mechanism design, control, planning and estimation theory. These research topics are important because once the robot is built (design), it must decide where to go (path planning), determine how to get there (control), and use feedback to close the loop (estimation). A common theme to these research foci is devising ways by which we can reduce multi-dimensional problems to low dimensional ones for planning, analysis, and optimization. In this talk, I will discuss our results in geometric mechanics, Bayesian filtering, and scalable multi-agent planning to support these reductions. This talk will also cover how my students and I commercialized these technologies by founding three companies: Medrobotics, Hebi Robotics, and Bito Robotics. In 2015, the surgical snake robot from Medrobotics cleared the FDA and has begun to democratize the delivery of medical care in the US and Europe If time permits, I will also discuss my educational activities, especially at the undergraduate level, with a course using LEGO robots, and the role of entrepreneurism in University education.
Howie Choset is the Kavcic-Moura Professor of Computer Science in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Howie started his robotics career in the GRASP Lab and today, he serves as the co-director of the Biorobotics Lab and as director of the undergraduate Robotics Major. Howie’s research group reduces complicated high- dimensional problems found in robotics to low-dimensional simpler ones for design, analysis, and planning. Motivated by applications in confined spaces, Choset has created a comprehensive program in modular, high DOF, and multi- robot systems, which has led to basic research in mechanism design, path planning, motion planning, and estimation. This work has contributed to strategically significant problems in diverse areas such as surgery, manufacturing, infrastructure inspection, and search and rescue. In addition to publications, this work has led to Choset, along with his students, to form several companies including Medrobotics, for surgical systems, Hebi Robotics, for modular robots, and Bito Robotics for autonomous guided vehicles. In 2015, Choset’s surgical snake robot cleared the FDA and has been in use in the US and Europe since. In 2017, Choset co-lead the formation of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, which is $250MM national institute advancing both technology development and education for robotics in manufacturing. Finally, Choset is a founding Editor of the journal Science Robotics.