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News from IRIM | January 27, 2021 Edition
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Direct Fabrication and Tailoring of Soft Robot Bodies

Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado | Assistant Professor, Engineering Product Development Pillar; Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Research Affiliate, Mechanical Engineering; MIT

February 3, 2021 | 12pm | Virtual Event
Abstract:  Material properties and composite structures play key roles in tailoring the performance of soft robots. Unfortunately, current design and fabrication approaches limit the achievable complexity and functionality in these two categories and as a result hinder soft robot performance. This talk will discuss approaches that allow the design and direct fabrication of novel soft robot composite structures. The processes combine computational topology optimization, to determine required three-dimensional multi-material composite structures, and direct fabrication using an all-in-one fabrication workflow with resilient hybrid polymers, enabling precise tailoring of mechanical and functional properties. The library of polymer mixtures synthesized for compatibility with the processes spans five orders of magnitude in elastic modulus. Application examples in bio-inspired soft robots and sensors, as well as soft grippers will be described. The results demonstrate the potential of having an all-in-one fabrication workflow capable of producing tailored complex soft robot composite bodies.
Bio: Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Product Development Pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and a Research Affiliate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. At SUTD, he is the director of the Bio-Inspired Robotics and Design Laboratory and the deputy director of the Digital Manufacturing and Design (DManD) Centre. He received his Ph.D., M.Sc., and B.Sc. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include: soft robotics, bio-inspired design, and advanced additive manufacturing processes. He was recognized with an MIT’s Technology Review 2012 TR35 Young Innovator Award for South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand for his contributions to novel vehicles for long-term exploration of harsh environments. 

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 Save the Date Line Up
  • Monday February 15 | Topic: Multi-Agent Systems | Speakers: Kunal Garg (Umich)
     and Yousef Emam (GT)
  • Monday March 15 | Topic: Motion Planning | Speakers: Vasileios Vassilopoulos (UPenn)
    and Baxi Chong (GT)
  • Monday April 19 | Topic: Computer Vision Speakers: Martin Li (CMU)
    and  Erik Wijmans (GT)



The Aerodynamics of Drone Racing

Smith With DroneThe Drone Racing League Simulator, one of the most immersive and visually stunning drone racing simulators on the market, according to Xbox News, was recently released with the help of Tech’s Marilyn Smith.

The professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering and director of the Vertical Lift Research Center for Excellence created a code in 2014 to simulate wind tunnel tests that has since reached far across disciplines and organizations.

The algorithms that would come to revolutionize drone racing simulations started out as a MATLAB code used by Smith’s team to reverse engineer a wind tunnel test to validate their results on a project. MATLAB is a coding program used primarily to perform large amounts of analytical functions, using an interface familiar to most engineers. The value of Smith’s code lay in its ability to take into account a variety of unsteady aerodynamic factors on a tethered sling load — any cargo or container carried beneath a helicopter and held on a tether and swivel. It began to garner attention when Smith’s Ph.D. student, Daniel Prosser (AE 2015), presented the code to a group of Georgia Tech professors and U.S. Army liaisons at his dissertation presentation.

“The people at this presentation said that no one has ever been able to capture these physics with this level of complexity and accuracy” said Smith. “They asked if we could expand this little MATLAB code to see if it can be used instead of computational fluid dynamics or wind tunnel tests to predict sling load behavior. And indeed, it correlated incredibly well with flight tests during validation. It was amazing.”

The importance of an unsteady aerodynamics code that predicts forces and moments in real time was not lost on the designers of Army pilot flight simulators. The algorithms were used to create a flight simulator program aid for the training of Army pilots, enabling them to practice flying with the motion-altering effects of a tethered sling load. Smith later integrated autonomous vehicle control into those algorithms to further predict the effects of untethered bodies

Read the Full Article Here

New Publications

Explainable AI for Robot Failures: Generating Explanations that Improve User Assistance in Fault Recovery,  D. Das, S. Banerjee, S. Chernova

Memory-Augmented Reinforcement Learning for Image-Goal Navigation, L. Mezghani, S. Sukhbaatar, T. Lavril, O. Maksymets, D. Batra, P. Bojanowski, ...

PVA: Pixel-aligned Volumetric Avatars, A. Raj, M. Zollhoefer, T. Simon, J. Saragih, S. Saito, J. Hays, S. Lombardi

Investigating the impact of the user interface for a powered hip orthosis on metabolic cost and user comfort: a preliminary study, S.E. Lee, C. Kilpatrick, I. Kang, H. Hsu, W.L. Childers, A. Young

Modeling and control of swing oscillation of underactuated indoor miniature autonomous blimps, Q. Tao, T.J. Tan, J. Cha, Y. Yuan, F. Zhang
Researcher & Student Accolades
Industrial Robot with TrophyHave you won/been nominated for an award from an academic or professional society? Have you been invited to speak at a conference or advisory panel? Do you have great new publications or lab news to share? IRIM wants to know!

Enter your information in the form linked to below and we will share your news via web and social media channels, as well as keep recorded for annual progress and impact reports.

This form will remain available through June 2021
IRIM Faculty Lab Highlight

The Sensing Technologies Laboratory | Ellen Yi Chen Mazumdar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Georgia Tech, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Scientific advancements in fields ranging from flow diagnostics to autonomous vehicles rely on the ability to quantitatively sense, measure, and understand physical phenomena.  As we study more complex systems in harsher environments, new methods are needed for gathering and perceiving information.

The Sensing Technologies Lab develops new diagnostic techniques and sensor systems for energetic materials, combustion, multiphase flows, hypersonics, as well as robotics.  We utilize optical diagnostics, digital holography, magnetostatics, and machine learning/system identification methods to study complex physical phenomena.

Learn more about the lab here


The Incredible Potential of Soft Robotics | Professor  Ellen Yi Chen Mazumdar
EVPR COVID News & Guidance

Reminder: Lab Personnel Density Guidance
Georgia Tech is piloting a revised guideline to accommodate laboratories with lower personnel numbers and sufficient excess space in their laboratory. Read the revised guideline.

Weekly Testing Locations
If you live or work on campus, we strongly encourage you to get tested weekly, even if you aren’t experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. This is an essential part of protecting yourself and the Georgia Tech community. There are several options for getting tested, both on and off campus. See the current schedules and locations at this link.

Vaccine Roll-Out
The Institute has been working diligently with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop a vaccine rollout plan for the entire campus community. This plan consists of consecutive phases with corresponding groups. See the vaccine plane here.

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