Presenter: Tadayoshi Aoyama (hosted by CJ Taylor)

Event Dates:
  Friday June 10, 2011 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

* Alternate Location: Levine 512 (3330 Walnut Street)*

First, the concept of “Multi–Locomotion Robot” that has multiple types of locomotion is introduced. The robot is developed to achieve a bipedal walk, a quadruped walk and a brachiation, mimicking locomotion ways of a gorilla. It therefore has higher mobility by selecting a proper locomotion type according to its environment and purpose. I show you some experimental videos with respect to realized motions before now.

Presenter: Silvia Ferrari (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday December 2, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Unmanned ground, aerial, and underwater vehicles equipped with on-board wireless sensors are becoming crucial to both civilian and military applications because of their ability to replace or assist humans in carrying out dangerous yet vital missions.  As they are often required to operate in unstructured and uncertain environments, these mobile sensor networks must be adaptive and reconfigurable, and decide future actions intelligently based on the sensor measurements and environmental information.

Presenter's Biography:

Silvia Ferrari is Paul Ruffin Scarborough Associate Professor of Engineering at Duke University, where she directs the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls (LISC).  Her principal research interests include robust adaptive control of aircraft, learning and approximate dynamic programming, and optimal control of mobile sensor networks.  She received the B.S. degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University.  She is a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of ASME, SPIE, and AIAA.  She is the recipient of the ONR young investigator award (2004), the NSF CAREER award (2005), and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award (2006).

Presenter: Alex Stoytchev (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 14, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Developmental robotics is an emerging field that blends the boundaries between robotics, artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, and philosophy. The basic research hypothesis of developmental robotics is that truly intelligent robot behavior cannot be achieved in the absence of a prolonged interaction with a physical or a social environment. In other words, robots must undergo a developmental period similar to that of humans and animals.

Presenter's Biography:

Alexander Stoytchev is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of the Developmental Robotics Laboratory at Iowa State University. He received his MS and PhD degrees in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001 and 2007, respectively. His research interests are in the areas of developmental robotics, autonomous robotics, computational perception, and machine learning.

Presenter: David Brainard (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 7, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The human visual system shares with most digital cameras the design feature that color information is acquired via spatially interleaved sensors with different spectral properties.  That is, the human retina contains three distinct spectral classes of cone photoreceptors, the L-, M-, and S-cones, and cones of these three classes are spatially interleaved in the retina.  Similarly, most digital cameras employ a design with interleaved red, green, and blue sensors.  In each case, generating a full color image requires application of a demosaicing algorithm that uses the

Presenter's Biography:

David Brainard received his AB in physics from Harvard University (1982) and MS (electrical engineering) and PhD (psychology) from Stanford University in 1989.  He is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and his research focuses on human color vision and color image processing.  He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America and the Association for Psychological Science.


Presenter: Srikumar Ramalingam (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday September 30, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

This seminar will focus on localization in GPS challenged urban canyons using skylines. In our experimental setup, a fisheye camera is oriented upwards to capture images of the immediate skyline, which is generally unique and serves as a fingerprint for a specific location in a city. We estimate the global position by matching skylines extracted from omni-directional images to skyline segments from coarse 3D city models.

Presenter's Biography:

Srikumar Ramalingam is a Research Scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab (MERL). He received his Ph.D. from INRIA Rhone Alpes (France) in 2007. His PhD was funded by Marie Curie Fellowship from European Union. His doctoral thesis on generic imaging models received INPG best thesis prize and AFRIF thesis prize (honorable mention) from the French Association for Pattern Recognition. His research interests include multi-view geometry for non-conventional camera models, discrete optimization, localization and robotics applications.

Presenter: Russel Epstein (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday September 23, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Spatial navigation is the ability to get from point A to point B in large-scale space. Humans and animals use a variety of strategies to solve this problem. One such strategy is landmark-based wayfinding, which is the use of fixed landmarks to determine one’s location and orientation in the world.

Presenter's Biography:

Russell Epstein is Associate Professor of Psychology at Penn. He is a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Institute for Neurological Sciences, and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. He received his PhD from Harvard in Computer Vision and did postdoctoral work in cognitive neuroscience at MIT and Cambridge University before joining the Penn faculty in 2002. His research focuses on the neural systems mediating visual scene recognition and spatial navigation in humans.

Presenter: R. Andrew Hicks (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday September 16, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

The first photograph was created in 1827 by Joseph Nicephore Niepce. In 1828, William Rowan Hamilton's founding papers on geometric optics began to appear. This seems to be a remarkable coincidence and one would think that the two siblings, photography and geometric optics, would each contribute to the growth of the other. But this never happened. Optical design in the 19th century was largely empirical, and today design is mostly performed by optimizing a cost function which is defined via ray tracing.

Presenter's Biography:

R. Andrew Hicks graduated from Queens College CUNY in with a BA in mathematics in 1988. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, in the field of Differential Geometry. He was enrolled in the CIS Masters program at Penn from 1995-96. From 1996-99 he was a postdoc at the GRASP laboratory of UPenn under Ruzena Bajcsy. He is currently professor of mathematics at Drexel University. His research interests include optical design, numerical analysis and computing.


Presenter: Russell H. Taylor (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday April 20, 2012 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

This talk will discuss ongoing NIH-funded research at Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie-Mellon University to develop technology and systems addressing fundamental limitations in current microsurgical practice, using vitreoretinal surgery as our focus.   Vitreoretinal surgery is the most technically demanding ophthalmologic discipline and addresses prevalent sight-threatening conditions in areas of growing need.  At the center of our planned approach is a “surgical workstation” system interfaced to a stereo visualization subsystem and a family of novel sensors, ins

Presenter's Biography:

Russell H. Taylor received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1976.  He joined IBM Research in 1976, where he developed the AML robot language and managed the Automation Technology Department and (later) the Computer-Assisted Surgery Group before moving in 1995 to Johns Hopkins, where he is a Professor of Computer Science with joint appointments in Mechanical Engineering, Radiology, and Surgery and is also Director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology.  He is the author of approximately 275 refereed publications, a Fellow of the IEEE, of the AIMBE, of the MICCAI Society, and of the Engineering School of the University of Tokyo.  He is also a recipient of the IEEE Robotics Pioneer Award, of the MICCAI Society Enduring Impact Award, and of the Maurice Müller award for excellence in computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery.

Monday May 23, 2011


Menglong Zhu at Penn has given PR2 a fantastic new skill: the ability to read. Using the literate_pr2 software he wrote, PR2 can drive around and read aloud the signs that it sees. Whether it's writing on a whiteboard, nameplates on a door, or posters advertising events, the ability to recognize text in the real world is an important skill for robots.

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Joe Romano is a GRASP PhD student under Katherine Kuchenbecker. His PR2_props code was demonstrated live at the Google I/O 2011 Developer Conference, May 10th and 11th, both on stage and as a demo . Hundreds of Google I/O attendees got to experience the joy of fist-bumping a robot (plus the high-five at the start of the I/O talk).  View the YouTube video.