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News from IRIM | March 10, 2021 Edition
The IRIM Seminar Series | Industry Day Panel 
Career Options in Robotics

Moderated by Gary McMurray; GTRI Division Chief,
Robotics, Modeling, and Sensing for Agriculture & IRIM Associate Director, Collaborative Robotics

March 17, 2021 | 12:15pm | Virtual Event
Access the Event Here :

The robotics industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The industry is rapidly changing as robotics have moved from the manufacturing floor into almost every segment of our lives. This seminar will be a panel discussion with industry leaders to discuss the career opportunities in their companies and the breath of opportunities available to the students. They will discuss internship opportunities as well as full-time positions with their respective companies

  • Jeff Burnstein – President of A3, Association for Advancing Automation
  • Jon Battles – Director of World Wide Advanced Technology, Amazon
  • Mark Joppru – ABB Robotics, Vice President – Consumer Segment & Service Robotics
  • Stephen Balakirsky – Georgia Tech Research Institute, Chief Scientist, Aerospace, Transportation, and Advanced Systems Lab

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

Unlike the problem of safe task and motion planning in a completely known environment, the setting where the obstacles in a robot’s workspace are not initially known and are incrementally revealed online has so far received little theoretical interest, with existing algorithms usually demanding constant deliberative replanning in the presence of unanticipated conditions. This research provides an avenue for incorporating partial prior knowledge within a deterministic framework well suited to existing vector field planning methods, by exploiting recent developments in semantic SLAM and object pose and triangular mesh extraction using convolutional neural net architectures. Under specific sufficient conditions, formal results guarantee collision avoidance and convergence to designated (fixed or slowly moving) targets, for both a single robot and a robot gripping and manipulating objects, in previously unexplored workspaces cluttered with non-convex obstacles. The empirical utility of the proposed control architecture is suggested with a numerical study including comparisons with a state-of-the-art dynamic replanning algorithm, and physical implementation on both a wheeled and legged platform in different settings with both geometric and semantic goals.

Bio: Vasileios Vasilopoulos is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) of the University of Pennsylvania, working with Prof. Daniel E. Koditschek. He received his Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 2014 and his M.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018, both in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests are in the areas of task and motion planning, mobile manipulation and legged robotics. He is a Student Member of the IEEE and the ASME.

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

Snake robots have the potential to locomote through tightly packed spaces, but turning effectively within unmodelled and unsensed environments remains challenging. Inspired by a behavior observed in the tiny nematode worm C. elegans, we propose a novel in-place turning gait for elongated limbless robots. To simplify the control of the robots’ many internal degrees-of-freedom, we introduce a biologically-inspired template in which two co-planar traveling waves are superposed to produce an in-plane turning motion, the omega turn. The omega turn gait arises from modulating the wavelengths and amplitudes of the two traveling waves. We experimentally test the omega turn on a snake robot, and show that this turning gait outperforms previous turning gaits: it results in a larger angular displacement and a smaller area swept by the body over a gait cycle, allowing the robot to turn in highly confined spaces.

Bio: Baxi Chong (Zhong) is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Physics of Georgia Tech, working with Prof. Daniel I. Goldman. He received his Diploma from the University of Hong Kong in 2016 (Undergraduate Thesis supervisor: Prof. Yuan Lin) and his M.S.E. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018 (Master Thesis supervisor: Prof. Howie Choset), both in Biomedical Engineering. His research interests are in the areas of geometric mechanics, motion planning and bio-inspired robots.




Toyota Teams with GT to Advance Autonomous Driving Testbed &  Human-Robot Collaboration

Georgia Tech robotics expert Charlie Kemp poses with his robot Stretch RE1 from Hello Robot, Inc. Robots like Stretch REI will be used in the TRI research to improve how people and robots work together. (Photo credit: Charlie Kemp, Georgia Tech)The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of 16 academic institutions selected for Toyota Research Institute’s (TRI) collaborative research program. 

Founded in 2015 and now in its second wave of investment with top universities, TRI will invest more than $75 million over the next five years. The university partners will focus on breakthroughs around tough technological challenges in key research priority areas of automated driving, robotics, and machine-assisted cognition.

“Georgia Tech is honored to work closely with TRI to advance robotics in key fields. It’s an exciting start to what we hope will be a longer-term collaboration,” said Seth Hutchinson, executive director of Georgia Tech’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines and professor and KUKA Chair for Robotics in the School of Interactive Computing

"This new phase of university research is about pushing even further and doing so with a broader, more diverse set of stakeholders. To get to the best ideas, collaboration is critical. And we sought out universities like Georgia Tech that share our vision of using AI for human amplification and societal good. The funded projects will contribute to two TRI focus areas: automated driving and home robotics," said Eric Krotkov, TRI chief science officer.

The two Georgia Tech projects total $2.2M over the next three years. Under the agreement, each team will be paired with TRI researchers, who will serve as co-investigators.

Read the Press Release Here

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

Panagiotis Tsiotras; David & Andrew Lewis Chair: School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology  & Associate Director at the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines

Motion planning and decision making are at the core of Robotics and A.I. In theory, these problems can be solved using optimal control or dynamic programming. However, computational cost for solving many real world problems is prohibitively high and is exacerbated by the “curse of dimensionality”. Randomized sampling-based methods (like RRT*) ameliorate this problem by avoiding apriori griding of the environment and incrementally building a graph online. On the other hand, deterministic search algorithms (such as A*) can be augmented with intelligent abstractions to speed up their performance, and decision theory can borrow ideas from information theory to model agents that are resource-aware. Current research in this area lies at the intersection of A.I, machine learning, optimal control and information theory.

Learn more about the lab here
Aggressive Driving with MPC with LTV Model
Dynamics and Control Systems Laboratory
Affiliate Event: Electronic Skins for Medical & Sports Applications
Takao Someya | Dean & Professor; School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo

March 23, 2021 | 9AM EDT

Access the Lecture at:
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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