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News from IRIM | February 24, 2021 Edition

Robograds Seminar | Motion Planning

March 15, 2021 | 1pm | Virtual Event

Speaker 1 | Vasileios Vassilopoulos : PhD Candidate | Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: TBA

Vasileios Vassilopoulos  is a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) of the University of Pennsylvania. I am currently a research assistant at GRASP Lab, working with Prof. Daniel Koditschek. My research interests lie in the intersection of Robotics, Control and Autonomy. I am currently working on motion and task planning in partially known or completely unknown environments, in the setting of legged robots. I am particularly excited about finding ways to make legged robots interact with the physical environment surrounding them, in order to solve challenging tasks autonomously.

I completed my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in Greece. For my diploma thesis, I worked with Prof. Evangelos Papadopoulos at the Control Systems Laboratory (CSL).

You can access a short video summary of my research work at Penn here.

Speaker 2 |  Baxi Chong : PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: TBA

Bio: TBA





Duke @ GT Team Bio-inspired to Create Soft and Efficient Path-finding Root-Bot

Duke researchers have been studying something that happens too slowly for our eyes to see. A team in biologist Philip Benfey's lab wanted to see how plant roots burrow into the soil. So they set up a camera on rice seeds sprouting in clear gel, taking a new picture every 15 minutes for several days after germination.

When they played their footage back at 15 frames per second, compressing 100 hours of growth into less than a minute, they saw that rice roots use a trick to gain their first foothold in the soil: their growing tips make corkscrew-like motions, waggling and winding in a helical path.

By using their time-lapse footage, along with a root-like robot to test ideas, the researchers gained new insights into how and why plant root tips twirl as they grow.

In experiments performed in physics professor Daniel Goldman's lab at Georgia Tech, observations of normal and mutant rice roots growing over a perforated plastic plate revealed that normal spiraling roots were three times more likely to find a hole and grow through to the other side.

Collaborators at Georgia Tech and the University of California, Santa Barbara built a soft pliable robot that unfurls from its tip like a root and set it loose in an obstacle course consisting of unevenly spaced pegs.

To create the robot, the team took two inflatable plastic tubes and nested them inside each other. Changing the air pressure pushed the soft inner tube from the inside out, making the robot elongate from the tip. Contracting opposing pairs of artificial "muscles" made the robot's tip bend side to side as it grew.

Even without sophisticated sensors or controls, the robotic root was still able to make its way past obstacles and find a path through the pegs. But when the side-to-side bending stopped, the robot quickly got stuck against a peg.

Finally, the team grew normal and mutant rice seeds in a dirt mix used for baseball fields, to test them out on obstacles a root would actually encounter in soil. Sure enough, while the mutants had trouble getting a toehold, the normal roots with spiral-growing tips were able to bore through.

A root tip's corkscrew growth is coordinated by the plant hormone auxin, a growth substance the researchers think may move around the tip of a growing root in a wave-like pattern. Auxin buildup on one side of the root causes those cells to elongate less than those on the other side, and the root tip bends in that direction.

Plants that carry the HK1 mutation can't dance because of a defect in how auxin is carried from cell to cell, the researchers found. Block this hormone and roots lose their ability to twirl.

The work helps scientists understand how roots grow in hard, compacted soil.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (PHY-1915445, 1237975, GRFP-2015184268), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF3405), the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (534683), the National Institutes of Health (GM122968) and the Dunn Family Professorship.

CITATION: "Mechanism and Function of Root Circumnutation," Isaiah Taylor, Kevin Lehner, Erin McCaskey, Niba Nirmal, Yasemin Ozkan-Aydin, Mason Murray-Cooper, Rashmi Jain, Elliot W. Hawkes, Pamela C. Ronald, Daniel I. Goldman, Philip N. Benfey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Feb. 19, 2021. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2018940118.

Read the Press Release Here

New time-lapse videos capture something that's too slow for our eyes to see: the growing tips of rice roots make corkscrew-like motions, waggling and winding in a helical path as they burrow into the soil. By using time-lapse footage, along with a root-like robot to test ideas, researchers have gained new insights into how and why plant root tips twirl as they grow. Credit: the Benfey lab, visit:
Researcher & Student Accolades

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Honors Desai’s Decades of Leadership, Service

Jaydev Desai has been helping lead the scientific exchange and events of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society for nearly two decades, devoting countless hours to create what he called “top-notch” programs for his colleagues worldwide.

This year, the society is recognizing his dedication with its Distinguished Service Award, citing Desai’s “distinguished leadership, outstanding service, and innovative contributions to IEEE RAS conferences and technical activities.”

Desai, however, was quick to share the credit.

“It is very gratifying, and humbling at the same time, to receive this recognition, but I can also say that I am not the only one. There are so many people who spend time working for the society,” said Desai, professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. “It really is a team effort — to run a large conference, for example, we all have to chip in to make sure that it is a success. Likewise, to launch new initiatives, the community has to come together to make it happen.”

Desai said it always has been important to him to give back to his professional community, which he has been involved in since the very beginning of his career. Now, he said, he also has the opportunity to involve the next generation of leaders in the society’s work and mentor them.

Read the Press from GT BME Here
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 Medical Robotics and Automation (RoboMed) Laboratory

Jaydev Desai; Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology

Located in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, on the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, the lab focuses primarily on research in the area of medical robotics from  the micro to meso to macro scale. Specifically, RoboMed lab research is targeted towards:
  • Image-guided Surgical Robotics
  • Haptic (sense of touch) interfaces for Robot-assisted Surgery
  • Reality-based soft-tissue modeling for Surgical Simulation
  • Model-based teleoperation in Robot-assisted surgery, and
  • Cell manipulation
Learn more about the lab here
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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