Presenter: Sangbae Kim (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 29, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Mobile robot designers are increasingly searching for inspirations and design cues from biological models. Biomechanics research of animals provides an invaluable source of ideas for legged robot design but the process of implementation involves great complexity. The direct implementation of biological features and morphology often becomes ineffective and misleads engineers due to various reasons.

Presenter's Biography:

Sangbae Kim is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the director of Biomimetic Robotics Lab at MIT. His research focuses on bio-inspired robotic system design based on biotensegrity structure, composite structure manufacturing, and legged system control. His design approaches highlight the importance of understanding the difference between biological systems and counterparts of engineering systems by careful observations and embodiment of the principles. Kim’s achievement on bio-inspired robot development includes the world‘s first directional adhesive based on gecko lizards, and a climbing robot, Stickybot, that utilizes the directional adhesives to climb smooth surfaces. He received the Best Paper Award for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics 2008 and the Best Student Paper Award at IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2007. His bio-inspired climbing robot was selected as one of the best inventions in Time magazine in 2006 and also featured in more than 100 media exposures including Forbes magazine, Wired Science, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel. Kim received his B.S. in Mechanical engineering from Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. He earned his Ph.D. in M.E. from Stanford University, in 2008 and joined MIT in 2009.

Presenter: Drew Bagnell (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 22, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Programming robots is hard. While demonstrating a desired behavior may be easy, designing a system that behaves this way is often difficult, time consuming, and ultimately expensive. Machine learning promises to enable "programming by demonstration" for developing high-performance robotic systems. Unfortunately, many approaches that utilize the classical tools of supervised learning fail to meet the needs of imitation learning.

Presenter's Biography:

J. Andrew (Drew) Bagnell is an Associate Professor in the Robotics Institute and Machine Learning Departments at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon in 2004. Bagnell's research focuses on the intersection of  machine learning with computer vision, optimal control, and robotics. His interests in machine learning range from algorithmic and theoretical development to delivering fielded learning-based systems.

Tuesday October 12, 2010

Popular Science magazine has named Penn Engineering’s Katherine Kuchenbecker to its annual “Brilliant 10” list of the country’s top young scientists to watch.

Presenter: Marcia O'Malley (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday November 5, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Our lab has been designing and building exoskeleton-based therapeutic robots for stroke and spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and testing these devices, along with modified commercial devices, in the clinical domain for the past five years. In this talk, I will present an overview of our efforts to date. I will highlight the design and implementation of the RiceWrist device for upper extremity rehabilitation. Then, I will discuss robotic measures of motor impairment and how these measures can be used to ensure clinical relevance of robotic rehabilitation systems.

Presenter's Biography:

Marcia O’Malley is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Rice University, and is a co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics.  She holds a joint appointment in Computer Science at Rice, and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. At Rice, her research interests focus on the issues that arise when humans physically interact with robotic systems. One thrust of her lab is the design of haptic feedback and shared control between robotic devices and their human users for training and rehabilitation in virtual environments. Psychophysical studies provide insight into the effect of haptic cues on human motor adaptation, skill acquisition, and the restoration of motor coordination. Another area of interest is nanorobotic manipulation with haptic feedback, and the use of vision-based sensing for control of robotic manipulators and the generation of force feedback to the operator.  She has also explored the use of haptic devices for teaching the fundamentals of dynamic systems and control in the mechanical engineering curriculum.  In 2008, she received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University. O’Malley is a 2004 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator and the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2005. Additionally, she is chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics. She serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics and the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics.

Monday September 13, 2010

Joe Romano, a PhD student from the Penn Haptics Group, spent the summer at Willow Garage enabling the PR2 to perform fine motor control with its grippers using tactile information, as well as understand a variety of other tactile cues. Joe's approach attempts to recreate the same sensory information that humans use when completing similar tasks.

Tuesday September 21, 2010

The GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception) lab, upstairs at the University of Pennsylvania's Engineering School, is in the million-hits club at YouTube this summer, as videos of its book-sized quadro-rotor flying robots have been promoted as gadgets that can, as cheerfully put it, "fly in your window and kill you as you sleep.".......

Presenter: Jean Gallier (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday October 8, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Computer vision problems such as contour grouping often lead to quadratic optimization problems. We begin by reviewing the problem of finding the maximum of a quadratic function, f(x) = x^T A x, on the unit sphere. Then, we describe a contour grouping problem studied by Jianbo Shi and Qihui Zhu. We present Shi's objective function (involving certain kinds of cuts in a weighted graph). Since this maximization problem is hard, we present Shi's relaxation of the problem and we show that a simpler formula can be obtained (in term of a weight matrix, P).

Presenter's Biography:

Jean Gallier is a Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in Mathematics. He obtained his Ph.D in Computer Science at UCLA in 1978. Gallier has done research in a number of areas of CS, including program correctness, incremental parsing and error recovery, logic programming, unification, term-rewriting and equational logic, polymorphic lambda calculi, and linear logic. For the past fifteen years, he has focused on geometric modeling, surfaces splines, surface reconstruction from meshes and recently on optimization problems arising in computer vision. Generally, he is interested in applying differential and algebraic geometry tools to problems in computer science. He is the author of four books, the last one, "Discrete Mathematics", to appear in the UTM Springer series (2011).

Presenter: Irfan Essa (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday September 24, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

My research group is focused on a variety if approaches for video analysis and synthesis. In this talk, I will focus on two of our recent efforts.  One effort aimed at robust spatio-temporal segmentation of video and another on using motion and flow to predict actions from video. 

Presenter's Biography:

Irfan Essa is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing(iC) of the College of Computing (CoC), and Adjunct Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech), in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Irfan Essa works in the areas of Computer Vision, Computer Graphics, Computational Perception, Robotics and Computer Animation, with potential impact on Video Analysis and Production (e.g., Computational Photography & Video, Image-based Modeling and Rendering, etc.) Human Computer Interaction, and Artificial Intelligence research. Specifically, he is interested in the analysis, interpretation, authoring, and synthesis (of video), with the goals of building aware environments, recognizing, modeling human activities, and behaviors, and developing dynamic and generative representations of time-varying streams. He has published over a 150 scholarly articles in leading journals and conference venues on these topics and has awards for his research and teaching.

He joined Georgia Tech Faculty in 1996 after his earning his MS (1990), Ph.D. (1994), and holding research faculty position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Media Lab) [1988-1996]. His Doctoral Research was in the area of Facial Recognition, Analysis, and Synthesis.

Wednesday September 15, 2010

The GRASP Lab Quadrotor Video in Gizmodo..."The Quadrotor Drone Learns Several Terrifying New Tricks"

The last we checked in with U Penn's frighteningly maneuverable little quadrotor, we noted that it could probably zip through your window and kill you in your sleep. Well, now it can fly through windows while they're moving.....Read More

Presenter: Kingsley Fregene

Event Dates:
  Friday October 1, 2010 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

* Alternate Location: Levine 307 (3330 Walnut Street)*

This talk will describe the dynamics and control of autonomous multi-vehicle systems that are developed using the hybrid intelligent control agent (HICA) paradigm. HICA is a systems- and control-oriented approach for the modeling, control and coordination of multi-agent systems in which each agent exhibits both continuous-valued and discrete-event dynamic characteristics (i.e. is a hybrid system). A HICA essentially wraps an intelligent agent around a hybrid control system core.

Presenter's Biography:

Kingsley Fregene is a Lead Research Scientist at Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Labs in Cherry Hill, NJ. His industrial R&D activities are in the general area of systems and control for autonomous vehicles and micro-scale devices. He received the Ph.D. and M.A.Sc. degrees from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 2002 and 1999 respectively and the B.Eng degree, with first class honors, from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, in 1996 (all in Electrical & Computer Engineering).  Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was a Senior Research Scientist in the Guidance & Control group at Honeywell Labs, Minneapolis, where he also led several industry-university research collaborations. He has held visiting research positions at the Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.  He is a senior member of the IEEE and AIAA. His services to the technical community include: reviewer for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers Program; program committee and associate editor for IEEE Conference on Decision and Control; IEEE Technical Committee on Aerospace Controls; and Guest editor for an upcoming special issue on UAVs and Control of the IEEE Control Systems Magazine.  He holds 2 patents, with several more pending.