Presenter: Noah Cowan (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 17, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Control systems engineering commonly relies on the "separation principle", which allows designers to independently design state observers and controllers. Biological control systems, however, routinely violate the requirements for separability. Indeed, animals often rely on a strategy known as "active sensing" in which organisms use their own movements to alter spatiotemporal patterns of sensory information to improve task-level control performance.

Presenter's Biography:

Noah Cowan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2001 in Electrical Engineering. Following his Ph.D., he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley for 2 years. In 2003, he joined Johns Hopkins University, where he is now an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and directs the LIMBS Laboratory. Noah's research is devoted to understanding navigation and control in machines and animals. This research program has been recognized by a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) and a James S. McDonnel Complex Systems Scholar award.

Event Date(s):
  Friday February 27, 2015 at 9:00am

GRASP Lab - Industry Day February 27, 2015

Krishna P. Singh Center
3205 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA
9:00 am – 5:00 pm


09:00 – 10:00             Registration and Continental Breakfast

10:00 – 11:00             Presentations (Glandt Forum, 3rd Floor)

Presenter: Ayanna Howard (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 20, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Robots for therapy applications can increase the quality of life for children who experience disabling circumstances, by, for example, becoming therapeutic playmates for children with neurological disorders. There are numerous challenges though that must be addressed - determining the roles and responsibilities of both clinician, child, and robot; developing interfaces for clinicians to interact with robots that does not require extensive training; and developing methods to allow the robot to learn from their child counterpart.

Presenter's Biography:

Ayanna Howard is the Motorola Foundation Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, her M.S.E.E. from the University of Southern California, and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1999. Her area of research is centered around the concept of humanized intelligence, the process of embedding human cognitive capability into the control path of autonomous systems. This work, which addresses issues of autonomous control as well as aspects of interaction with humans and the surrounding environment, has resulted in over 180 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects – from scientific rover navigation in glacier environments to assistive robots for the home. To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being named a MIT Technology Review top young innovator of 2003, recognized as NSBE Educator of the Year in 2009, and receiving the Georgia-Tech Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award in 2013. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research lab and has released their first suite of educational technology products. From 1993-2005, Dr. Howard was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Following this, she joined Georgia Tech in July 2005 and founded the Human-Automation Systems Lab. She is currently the Associate Director of Research for the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines. Prior to that, she served as Chair of the multidisciplinary Robotics Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech for three years from 2010-2013.  


Presenter: Soon-Jo Chung (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 13, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The rapid and ubiquitous proliferation of reliable rotorcraft platforms such as quadcopters has resulted in a boom in aerial robotics. However, rotorcraft have issues of safety, high noise levels, and low efficiency for forward flight.

Presenter's Biography:

Prof. Soon-Jo Chung received the S.M. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Sc.D. degree in Estimation and Control from MIT in 2002 and 2007, respectively. He received the B.S. degree from KAIST in 2000 (school class rank 1/120). He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Beckman Fellow of the U. of Illinois Center for Advanced Study (2014-2015). His research areas include nonlinear control and estimation theory and optimal/robust flight controls with application to aerial robotics, distributed spacecraft systems, and computer vision-based navigation. He is a recipient of the 2014 UIUC Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, the NSF CAREER Award, and two best conference paper awards from IEEE and AIAA. He also received multiple teaching recognitions including the UIUC List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent and the instructor/advisor for the 1st place winning team of the AIAA Undergraduate Team Space Design Competition. Prof. Chung has been a Member of the Guidance & Control Analysis Group in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a JPL Summer Faculty Fellow/Affiliate working on distributed small satellites during the summers of 2010-2014.

Presenter: Dana Ballard (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 6, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The human motor control system is an extraordinarily complex system that consists of layers of neural control systems that address different demands of motive behavior. A primary distinction between these systems can be made on the basis of time. Systems in the forebrain operate on the order of

Presenter's Biography:

Dr. Dana Ballard is currently a Professor in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in 1974 from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Ballard's main research interest is in computational theories of the brain with emphasis on human vision. In 1985 Chris Brown and Dr. Ballard led a team that designed and built a high speed binocular camera control system capable of simulating human eye movements. The system was mounted on a robotic arm that allowed it to move at one meter per second in a two meter radius workspace. This system has led to an increased understanding of the role of behavior in vision. The theoretical aspects of that system were summarized in a paper ``Animate Vision,'' which received the Best Paper Award at the 1989 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. Currently, Dr. Ballard is interested in pursuing this research by using model humans in virtual reality environments. In addtion, he is interested in models of the brain that relate to detailed neural codes. A position paper on this work appeared in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Presenter: Hanumant Singh (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday January 30, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The Arctic and Antarctic remain one of least explored parts of the world's oceans. In this talk we look at efforts over the last decade to explore areas under-ice which have traditionally been difficult to access. The focus of the talk will be on the robots, the role of communications over low bandwidth acoustic links, and navigation and mapping methodologies. This is all within the context of real data collected on several expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Presenter's Biography:

Hanumant Singh graduated from the MIT WHOI Joint Program in 1995 after which he joined the staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His interests lie at the intersection of imaging and robotics underwater. Over the course of his career he has participated in more than 50 research expeditions all over the world in support of Marine Archaeology, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Marine Chemistry, Coral Reef Ecology, Fisheries and Polar Studies.

Presenter: Subramanian Ramamoorthy (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday January 23, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Autonomous robots that seek to work together with human co-workers must adopt representations that span the hierarchy from the quantitative sensorimotor signals to more qualitative task specifications. Despite significant recent activity around methods for learning hierarchical representations, e.g., in computer vision, the problem of defining and learning action-oriented symbols remains somewhat open.

Presenter's Biography:

Dr. Subramanian Ramamoorthy is a Reader (Associate Professor) in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, where he has been since 2007. He is Coordinator of the EPSRC Robotarium Research Facility, and Executive Committee Member for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems. Previously, he received a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a Member of the Young Academy of Scotland at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

His current research is focussed on problems of autonomous learning and decision-making under uncertainty, by long-lived agents and agent teams interacting within dynamic environments. This work is motivated by applications in autonomous robotics, human-robot interaction, intelligent interfaces and other autonomous agents in mixed human-machine environments. These problems are solved using a combination of methods involving layered representations based on geometric/topological abstractions, game theoretic and behavioural models of inter-dependent decision making, and machine learning with emphasis on issues of transfer, online and reinforcement learning.

His work has been recognised by nominations for Best Paper Awards at major international conferences - ICRA 2008, IROS 2010, ICDL 2012 and EACL 2014. He serves in editorial and programme committee roles for conferences and journals in the areas of AI and Robotics. He leads Team Edinferno, the first UK entry in the Standard Platform League at the RoboCup International Competition. This work has received media coverage, including by BBC News and The Telegraph, and has resulted in many public engagement activities, such as at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, Edinburgh International Science festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Before joining the School of Informatics, he was a Staff Engineer with National Instruments Corp., where he contributed to five products in the areas of motion control, computer vision and dynamic simulation. This work resulted in seven US patents and numerous industry awards for product innovation.

Event Date(s):
  Saturday December 13, 2014 at 8:00pm

On Sat Dec. 13, electro-mechanical devices created by students in MEAM516/IPD516 Advanced Mechatronics in Reactive Spaces are putting on
an electro-mechanical opera with performers from the Curtis Institute of Music students.

They will be performing scenes inspired by the Orpheous myth as re-imagined with our technology by Lembit Beecher, Composer-in-Residence, Opera Philadelphia (recently finished).

Event Date(s):
  Thursday December 11, 2014 at 6:00pm

It’s time for the sixth-annual Robockey tournament!

The class of 89 students has been working nonstop for the past four weeks to design and build incredible teams of autonomous hockey-playing robots.  The tournament officially kicks off tomorrow with pool play matches, and ends on Thursday evening when we will pack Wu & Chen auditorium, connect the livestream, turn up the volume, and play some hockey!  Details:

Thursday, December 11th, final rounds start at 6:00 PM

Presenter: Nuno Martins (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Wednesday December 10, 2014 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

* Alternate Location: Levine 307*

This talk will focus on the design of distributed estimation systems that are formed by multiple non-collocated components. A shared network is used to disseminate information among the components.

Presenter's Biography:

Nuno Martins is Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also holds a joint appointment with the Institute for Systems Research. From 2012 until 2014 he was the Director of the Maryland Robotics Center. Martins holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. His research interests are in distributed control and estimation, team decision, optimization, networked control and communications. He received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2007, the 2006 American Automatic Control Council O. Hugo Schuck Award, the 2010 Outstanding Institute for Systems Research Faculty award and the 2008 IEEE CSS Axelby Award for the best paper in the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. He has served as a member of the editorial board of Systems and Control Letters (Elsevier), Automatica and of the IEEE Control Systems Society Conference Editorial Board. He was a program vice-chair for the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in 2013 and 2014.