IEEE Robotics and Automation Society IEEE

Plenaries & Keynotes

 

ICRA 2015 features three plenary speeches and twelve 3-way parallel keynotes by leaders in the field.

Schedule

Opening Remarks, 08:00-08:15, WSCC 4A
Wednesday Ruzena Bajcsy, ICRA 2015 Honorary Chair

Lynne Parker, ICRA 2015 General Chair

Nancy M. Amato, ICRA 2015 Program Chair

 

Plenaries, 08:15-09:05, WSCC 4A
Wednesday Daniela Rus
Thursday Helen Greiner
Friday Dean Kamen

 

Wednesday Keynotes
Room 13:50-14:20 17:30-18:00
WSCC 6A Danny Halperin Radhika Nagpal
WSCC 6B Peter Hart James Kuffner
WSCC 6C Jing Xiao Ayorkor Korsah

 

Friday Keynotes
Room 13:50-14:20 17:30-18:00
WSCC 6A Zexiang Li Danica Kragic
WSCC 6B Satoshi Tadokoro Carme Torras
WSCC 6C Yuru Zhang Alessandro De Luca

Plenaries

One Robot for Every Task

Daniela Rus, MIT
Wednesday, May 27
08:15-09:05
WSCC 4A

Abstract: The digitization of practically everything coupled with advanced robotics promises a future with democratized use of machines and wide-spread customization. However, pervasive use of robots remains a hard problem. What are the gaps that can take us to a future where robots are common, they figure things out, they operate aware of each other, and they contribute to making the world a better place?

In this talk I will discuss challenges toward pervasive use of robots and recent developments in customizing robots. What if we could automatically design, fabricate, and program robots from an intuitive description of the task so that anyone could use a robot? What if robots could be better at figuring things out? What if robots could be more adept at interacting with each other and with people? I will describe recent results in automating and customizing the fabrication of robots and enhancing their reasoning and communication capabilities. By enabling on-demand creation of programmable robots, we can begin to imagine a world with one robot for every task.

Biography: Daniela Rus is the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Rus's research interests are in robotics, mobile computing, and big data. The key focus of her research is to develop the science of networked/distributed/collaborative robotics, by asking: how can many machines collaborate to achieve a common goal? Rus is a Class of 2002 MacArthur Fellow, a fellow of ACM, AAAI and IEEE, and a member of the NAE. She earned her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. Prior to joining MIT, Rus was a professor in the Computer Science Department at Dartmouth College.

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Robotics Innovation Start Up Style

Helen Greiner, CyPhy Works
Thursday, May 28
08:15-09:05
WSCC 4A

Abstract: Innovation gets a lot of air time. There are endless debates on how to achieve it, foster it, or schedule it. But innovation isn’t a monolithic concept. It has horizons and frontiers, and is approached differently by different parts of the creative technical ecosystem.

The field of robotics provides excellent examples of this. Universities innovate. Corporate research labs innovate. Start-up companies innovate. But they all approach the development of new ideas from different perspectives, and from different starting points on the creative timeline.

Universities should be taking the long view – targeting advancements in timeframes of 10-100 years out. Corporate research draws on current customer needs for impetus, for example, making improvements to existing products or technologies. Start-ups take a different view. To a start-up innovation is lifeblood, immediate; and time to market is critical. In fact, in a start-up a key innovation can be so compelling that the entire company’s direction may pivot around it.

All of these types of research are needed for successful economic growth. They are vital to the creation and maintenance of robotics’ technical ecosystem, and are critical to “moving the needle forward.” This talk uses examples from Helen Greiner’s past and continuing career as a leading robotics entrepreneur to elucidate the nature and influence of innovation in start-up companies.

Biography: Helen Greiner is CEO of CyPhy Works, a startup company that designs and delivers innovative aerial robots. In 1990, she co-founded iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT), which has become the global leader of mobile robots with the success of the Roomba™ Vacuuming Robot and the PackBot™ and SUGV Military Robots. Ms Greiner served as President of iRobot until 2004 and Chairman until October 2008. She developed the strategy for and led iRobot's entry into the military market place. At iRobot, she created a culture of innovation that resulted in advanced but practical robot products. She also ran iRobot's financing projects which included raising $35M venture capital and a $75M initial public offering. Greiner holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in computer science, both from MIT. She was presented with an honorary PhD by WPI in 2009.

Helen is highly decorated for her visionary contributions in technology innovation and business leadership. In 2014, she was named as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) by President Obama and Secretary of Commerce Pritzker. She was named by the Kennedy School at Harvard in conjunction with the U.S. News and World Report as one of America's Best Leaders and was honored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with the prestigious Pioneer Award. She has also been honored as a Technology Review Magazine "Innovator for the Next Century" and has been awarded the DEMO God Award and DEMO Lifetime Achievement Award. She was named one of the Ernst and Young New England Entrepreneurs of the Year (with iRobot cofounder Colin Angle), invited to the World Economic Forum as a Global Leader of Tomorrow and Young Global Leader, and has been inducted in the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Engineering. Helen is a Trustee of the Boston Museum Science (MOS). Ms. Greiner has served as the elected President and Board Member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC), as Trustee of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), a Trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as a member of the Army Science Board (ASB), and a member of the Board of Visitors of the Army War College (AWC).

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Innovation: Past, Present and Future

Dean Kamen, DEKA Research & Development Corporation
Friday, May 29
08:15-09:05
WSCC 4A

Abstract: This talk will discuss some of Kamen's past inventions, projects on which he is currently working and what he sees as the "future" by discussing the importance of students becoming excited and engaged in science and technology.

Biography: Dean Kamen is the founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation. Examples of technologies developed by DEKA include the HomeChoice™ portable dialysis machine, the iBOT™ Mobility System, the Segway™ Human Transporter, a DARPA-funded robotic arm, a new and improved Stirling engine, and the Slingshot water purifier.

Kamen has received many awards for his efforts, including the National Medal of Technology in 2000 and the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005 and has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1997.

Among Kamen’s proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use and enjoy science and technology.

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Keynotes

A Control Architecture for Human-Robot Collaboration

Alessandro De Luca, Sapienza Università di Roma
Friday, May 29
17:30-18:00
WSCC 6C

Abstract: The talk focuses on basic control problems related to physical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI), ranging from on-line collision avoidance to collision detection and fast reaction, up to the safe handling of intentional contacts. The control solutions are obtained within a hierarchical architecture that generates consistent robot behaviors, organized in three layers for safety, co-existence, and active collaboration. Typical pHRI tasks involve dynamically varying and uncertain environments. Therefore, human-robot coexistence needs workspace monitoring and efficient collision avoidance methods, driven by exteroceptive sensors (e.g., one or more RGB-D). On the other hand, unavoidable physical contacts may occur anywhere on the robot body, and safety requires their reliable detection and a fast robot reaction, preferably based only on proprioceptive sensing (using model-based residuals or motor currents). Moreover, a robot should be able to distinguish (by suitable filtering of signals) between accidental collisions and intentional contacts, the latter being interpreted as a physical request for collaboration. When an active collaboration is engaged between human and robot, the exchanged forces and the common motion at the contact should be accurately regulated. For this, the contact force at any generic location along the robot structure can also be estimated without using tactile or force sensors. The estimated forces are then used within generalized schemes of impedance or direct force control, both being designed so as to impose the requested behavior at the contact point. Results obtained on a KUKA LWR4 arm within the SAPHARI project will illustrate the whole control architecture and the performance of the developed robot control methods.

Biography: Alessandro De Luca is Professor of Robotics in the Department of Computer, Control, and Management Engineering at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he is also the Director of the Master program in Control Engineering. His research interests include control of human-robot interaction, dynamic modeling and control of robots with flexible elements, visual servoing, nonlinear control of robot manipulators and wheeled mobile robots, fault detection and isolation in robotics. He has published over 190 journal or conference papers and book chapters, with three best paper awards at ICRA 1998, IROS 2006, and BIoRob 2012. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, General Chair of ICRA 2007, RAS Vice-President for Publication Activities (2012-13), and is Program Co-Chair of the next ICRA 2016. He received the Helmholtz- Humboldt Research Award in 2005. the RAS Distinguished Service Award in 2009, and is an IEEE Fellow (class of 2007). He is the coordinator of the FP7-ICT European project SAPHARI Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction (2011-15). For more details: http://www.diag.uniroma1.it/~deluca.


Hard versus Easy in Robot Motion Planning: Closing the Ring

Danny Halperin, Tel Aviv University
Wednesday, May 27
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6A

Abstract: Early results in robot motion planning had forecast a bleak future for the field by showing that problems with many degrees of freedom are intractable. Then came sampling-based planners that have been successfully, and often easily, solving a large variety of problems with many degrees of freedom.

We strive to formally determine what makes a motion-planning problem with many degrees of freedom easy or hard. I'll describe our quest to resolve this (still wide open) problem, and some progress we have made in the context of multi-robot motion planning.

Biography: Dan Halperin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tel Aviv University. He then spent three years at the Computer Science Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University. In 1996 he joined the Department of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University, where he is currently a full professor and for two years was the department chair. Halperin's main field of research is Computational Geometry and its Applications. A major focus of his work has been in research and development of robust geometric software, principally as part of the CGAL project and library. The application areas he is currently interested in include robotics and automated manufacturing, algorithmic motion planning, and 3D printing.


Making Shakey

Peter Hart, SRI, retired
Wednesday, May 27
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6B

Abstract: Shakey, the world’s first mobile, intelligent robot, was developed at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) between 1966 and 1972. I worked on this project from the day it started until the day it ended (by which time I was the project leader). I’ll describe how the project got launched, how we approached this new world of robotics, what we actually did, and what the consequences have been for current technology and for modern life. Along the way, I’ll describe what the world was like back then, and how people reacted to the first real-world—i.e., non-fictional— robot.

Biography: Peter Hart has founded or led half a dozen companies and international research centers, and has invented or developed the theory of some of the most widely used procedures in modern computing. His technical writings have been cited over 74,000 times, which according to Google Scholar makes him the most- cited author in Robotics and the sixth most-cited author in Computer Science. He holds over 125 patents, and is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, the AAAI, and the Rensselaer Alumni Association, and is a Member of the SRI Hall of Fame.

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Seeing, caging, grasping

Danica Kragic, Royal Institute of Technology, KTH
Friday, May 29
17:30-18:00
WSCC 6A

Abstract: This talk is going to review our current work on sensor based grasping and caging considering both theoretical foundation and implementation in realistic scenarios. The notion of a caging grasp, which bounds the mobility of an object rather than necessarily immobilizing it completely, has recently received increased interest in robotics. Unlike classical grasp synthesis, where force-closure grasps are determined based on local contact information, the caging condition requires rigorous reasoning about connected components of the free configuration space of positions of an object. In terms of caging, we present a framework for the synthesis and provably correct verification of caging grasps on a class of 3D objects which exhibit geometric features we call `necks' and `forks' as well as demonstrate practical caging on objects that exhibit holes. In terms of grasping, we present a system for integrated grasp synthesis and grasp adaptation based on impedance control and finger gating.

Biography: Danica Kragic is a Professor at the School of Computer Science and Communication at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH. She received MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Rijeka, Croatia in 1995 and PhD in Computer Science from KTH in 2001. She has been a visiting researcher at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University and INRIA Rennes. She is the Director of the Centre for Autonomous Systems. Danica received the 2007 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award. She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Young Academy of Sweden. She holds a Honorary Doctorate from the Lappeenranta University of Technology. She chaired IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Computer and Robot Vision and served as an IEEE RAS AdCom member. Her research is in the area of robotics, computer vision and machine learning. In 2012, she received an ERC Starting Grant. Her research is supported by the EU, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and Swedish Research Council.


Robotics in Education in Africa

Ayorkor Korsah, Ashesi University College
Wednesday, May 27
17:30-18:00
WSCC 6C

Abstract: In 2006, a collaboration between Ashesi University College in Ghana and Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. resulted in the first university-level robotics course to be run in Ghana. At the time, only one high school robotics club in the country was known, and it was not clear how active the club was. Today, there are several educational robotics programs in Ghana, including one that has helped establish robotics clubs in numerous schools in all regions of the country. Gradually, robotics is coming into the consciousness and catching the imagination of the younger generation. This talk discusses the relevance, impact, and prospects of robotics in education in Africa, particularly in countries like Ghana with currently low levels of industrialisation.

Biography: G. Ayorkor Korsah is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Ashesi University College, Ghana, where she teaches courses in programming, data structures and algorithms, and AI robotics. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in computers science and engineering from Dartmouth College, and a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Ayorkor's research and professional interests range from designing algorithms for robot path-planning and team coordination to exploring the role of technology in education in developing communities.  In 2012, she co-founded, along with Ken Goldberg, the African Robotics Network (AFRON), aimed at promoting communication and collaborations to enhance robotics- related education, research, and industry on the continent. Along with a team of Ashesi University faculty and students, she also runs the annual Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX), an enrichment program involving leadership training, design, entrepreneurship and robotics, for high school students.


Imagining a Cloud-enabled Shakey

James Kuffner, Google Research
Wednesday, May 27
17:30-18:00
WSCC 6B

Abstract: High-performance cloud computing has dramatically transformed how individuals and businesses manage data. What if the Shakey project had been developed during the present era of the internet, cloud computing, and modern data centers? This talk explores the technology and legacy of Shakey within the context of Cloud Robotics, and examines the long-term prospects for the future development of robot intelligence based on search, distributed computing, and big data.

Biography: James Kuffner is an Engineering Director at Google and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. He received a Ph.D. from the Stanford University Dept. of Computer Science Robotics Laboratory in 1999. He was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo working on software and planning algorithms for humanoid robots. He joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in 2002. He has published over 100 technical papers and received the Okawa Foundation Award for Young Researchers in 2007.


For Your Eyes Only? UAVs and the DJI Ecosystem

Zexiang Li, Robotics Institute, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Friday, May 29
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6A

Abstract: James Bond-type superspies and the very costly U-2s were needed to locate military targets early in the Cold War. Later, UAVs were introduced by the US military for reconnaissance and other types of operations. Although “they save lives”, as proclaimed by USAF General John Meyer, these UAVs were still too expensive and inaccessible to civilians. As of 2012, USAF deployed about 7500 UAVs.

Starting in the 1990’s, research programs were introduced in the robotics community to develop and miniaturize UAV technology for civilian use. Based on this work, a final-year project was done in 2005 at HKUST, aiming to develop a helicopter flight controller. One year later, one of the project’s team members, Frank Wang, went on to found a UAV company by the name of DJI while pursuing his studies at HKUST. Benefiting from the smartphone industry and the impressive manufacturing ecosystem in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong region, DJI introduced the Phantom family of products, a series of ready-to-fly UAVs equipped with gimbal-stabilized cameras.

Combining consumer-level price, a good user experience, and the ability to shoot high quality photos and videos from any height - 1000 meters or more above the ground - and at any angle, the Phantom quickly became a popular device (it was named one of the Top 10 Gadgets of the Year by Time Magazine in 2014) among hobbyists, filmmakers, and consumers. A new market for easy-to-fly aerial robotics that anyone could use emerged. Today the Phantom, together with the more professional DJI Inspire 1 and Spreading Wings series, are widely utilized in aerial photography/filmmaking, agriculture, sports, and infrastructure inspection for solar panels, power lines, bridges, high-rise buildings, communication towers, and more.

When equipped with infrared or near infrared cameras, flying platforms can also be utilized for crop monitoring and precision agriculture. Thermal cameras may help in firefighting and oil leakage detection. A great variety of new applications that cannot even be imagined today will emerge with the continued development of this technology. To facilitate such applications and development, DJI introduced a new Software Development Kit (SDK) to open their platforms to developers everywhere. A new venture fund, the Sky Fund, has been developed in partnership with Accel, a leading VC firm from Silicon Valley. DJI drones commanded more than 70% of the global market share in 2014, and over a million units are expected to be produced in 2015.

Biography: Zexiang Li attended South-Central University in 1978, received his BS degree in EE and Economics from CMU in 1983, then his MS degree in EECS, MA in math and PhD in EECS, all from UC Berkeley. He worked at ALCOA, CMU RI and MIT AI Lab. He was an assistant professor at NYU. In 1992, he joined the ECE Dept of HKUST. He co-founded the Automation Technology Center (ATC) and more recently the HKUST RI.

Zexiang Li’s major awards include the ALCOA Foundation Fellowship, the E. Anthony Fellowship, the University Scholar award from CMU, the E.I. Jury award from UC Berkeley, and the Outstanding Young Researcher award from NSF China. He became an IEEE Fellow in 2008.

Zexiang Li served as an associate editor for the IEEE TRA. He was the general Chair for ICRA’11.

Zexiang Li's research areas of interest include a multi-fingered robotic hand, parallel manipulators, work piece localization and inspection, motion control, precision assembly, and UAVs. He is the author of more than 100 journal and conference papers, and the books “A Mathematical Introduction to Robotic Manipulation” (CRC Press 1993), and “Nonholonomic Motion Planning” (Kluwer 1994).

Zexiang Li has co-founded several companies with his colleagues and students from the Automation Technology Center, including Googol Technology, DJI, QKM Technology, and ePropulsion. He recently co-founded the Songshan Lake Robotic Startup Center and the Clearwater Bay Venture Capital for robotic startups.

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Taming the Swarm

Radhika Nagpal, Harvard University
Wednesday, May 27
17:30pm-18:00
WSCC 6A

Abstract: In nature, groups of thousands to millions of individuals can cooperate to create complex structure purely through local interactions, from cells that develop into complex organisms, to social insects like army ants that self-assemble bridges, rafts, and even nests out of their own bodies. What would it take to create our own artificial collectives of the scale and complexity that nature achieves? In this talk, I will discuss one of our recent and ongoing endeavors - the Kilobot project - a 1024 ("kilo") robot swarm testbed for studying collective intelligence. I will describe some of the challenges for building and programming robot swarms at this scale, and I will discuss how we have used the Kilobot swarm to study collective algorithms inspired by both engineering (e.g. coordinate system formation) and nature (collective transport, self-assembly), and some of the lessons we have learned. Time permitting, I will also share some examples where our work in robotics has led to new work in biology, and some ideas on collectively influencing academic culture. A central theme for all of our work is understanding the global-to-local relationship: how complex and robust collective intelligence can be systematically achieved from large numbers of simple agents.

Biography: Radhika Nagpal is the Kavli Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. At Harvard, she leads the Self-organizing Systems Research Group and her research interests span computer science, robotics, and biology; recent work includes the Termes robots for collective construction and the Kilobot thousand-robot swarm (Science 2014). She is also the author of a blog article on tenure-track life, and an advocate for a more inclusive and nurturing culture in science. Her awards include the Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship (2005), NSF Career Award (2007), Anita Borg Early Career Award (2010), Radcliffe Fellowship (2012), and most recently, Nature 10 award (2014).

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Toward social implementation of disaster robotics

Satoshi Tadokoro, Tohoku University
Friday, May 29
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6B

Abstract: Robotics is becoming a powerful tool for disaster response, recovery and preparedness after its history of 50 years. For example, unmanned aerial vehicles quickly surveyed wide disaster areas, remotely-operated underwater vehicles repaired leakage of subsea oil plants, unmanned ground vehicles worked in contaminated areas of damaged nuclear power plants, and underground robots were applied to accidents of mines and constructions. Promotion of social implementation of robotics with ICT is highly demanded.

The record of robot applications to disasters in the last decade shows gaps that have be filled in order to materialize more effective full usage of robotic solutions. At first, technologies need more improvement and evolution for the required tasks at disasters with higher technology readiness levels. Secondly, social barriers to deployment and application of robots have to be lowered.

In order to resolve these technical and social issues, an international committee shall be established in cooperation with all the relevant stakeholders under the umbrella of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society with support of the United Nations.

Under the above background, this keynote will discuss the issues related to the social implementation of disaster robotics.

Biography: Satoshi Tadokoro was an associate professor of Kobe University in 1993-2005, and is a research professor of Tohoku University since 2005. He experienced two major earthquake disasters: Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 and Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in 2011. He is a president of International Rescue System Institute since 2002 and IEEE RAS President-Elect in 2014-2015. He served as a project manager of MEXT DDT Project on rescue robotics in 2002-2007 having contribution of more than 100 professors nationwide, and of a NEDO project that developed a rescue robot Quince, which was used in nuclear reactor buildings of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident as the first Japanese robot. He is a project manager of Japan Cabinet Office ImPACT Project at present. IEEE Fellow.

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Clothing assistants: Challenges for robot learning

Carme Torras, Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC)
Friday, May 29
17:30-18:00
WSCC 6B

Abstract: Textile objects pervade human environments and their versatile manipulation by robots would open up a whole range of possibilities, from increasing the autonomy of elderly and disabled people, housekeeping and hospital logistics, to novel automation in the clothing Internet business. Although deformable objects can be accurately rendered and rigid objects efficiently handled, the manipulation of clothing in the real world has proven elusive, because the vast number of degrees of freedom involved in non-rigid deformations leads to unbearable uncertainties in perceptions and action outcomes. Several learning challenges arising in this context will be addressed in the talk, such as garment recognition and pose estimation from rgb-d data, learning human-robot collaboration from demonstrations, safe physical human-robot interaction, reinforcement tuning of skills, and symbolic learning to plan and act. Progress in grasping garments in a task-suitable way and helping people to dress will be showcased.

Biography: Carme Torras is Research Professor at the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC). She received M.Sc. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Universitat de Barcelona and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Prof. Torras has published five books and about two hundred papers in the areas of robot kinematics, computer vision, geometric reasoning, machine learning and manipulation planning. She has been local project leader of several European projects in the frontier between AI and Robotics, among which the FP6 IP project “Perception, Action and COgnition through Learning of Object-Action Complexes” (PACO-PLUS), and the FP7 STREP projects “GARdeNIng with a Cognitive System” (GARNICS) and “Intelligent observation and execution of Actions and manipulations” (IntellAct). She was awarded the Narcís Monturiol Medal of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 2000, and she became ECCAI Fellow in 2007, member of Academia Europaea in 2010, and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona in 2013. Prof. Torras was IEEE RAS Associate Vice-President for Publication Activities (2012-13) and she is currently Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

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Autonomous Continuum Manipulation

Jing Xiao, University of North Carolina
Wednesday, May 27
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6C

Abstract: Autonomous manipulation remains one of the most challenging tasks for robots, especially in cluttered environments with uncertainty. In this talk, I’ll introduce our related research work in autonomous manipulation using a continuum manipulator. Continuum manipulators are inspired by the invertebrate structures found in nature, such as an elephant trunk or octopus arm. As a continuum manipulator is deformable and passively compliant, it is more apt to work in a cluttered environment. My talk will be focused on autonomous grasping and inspection in real time in cluttered space, with extension to sensing-based autonomous manipulation in unknown environments.

Biography: Jing Xiao received her Ph.D. degree in Computer, Information, and Control Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. She is a Professor of Computer Science, College of Computing and Informatics (CCI), University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA. She is also the Site Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) on Robots and Sensors for the Human Well-being. She served as the Program Director of the Robotics and Human Augmentation Program at the NSF for two and half years (8/1998-12/2000). Jing Xiao’s research spans robotics, haptics, and intelligent systems. She has recently co-authored a monograph Haptic Rendering for Simulation of Fine Manipulation (Springer) and has over 130 publications in major robotics conferences, journals, and books and holds one patent. Jing Xiao is an IEEE Fellow. She has been elected twice as an AdCom Member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) and currently serves as the Vice President for Member Activities of RAS.

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iDental: A Simulator for Dental Skill Training

Yuru Zhang, Beihang University
Friday, May 29
13:50-14:20
WSCC 6C

Abstract: Virtual reality based surgical training is an emerging area of research interests. We have developed iDental, a simulator with haptic-visual-audio feedback for dental skill training. The simulator aims to train dental students in their early stage of learning to acquire basic operational skills. Based on our unique haptic rendering methods, iDental achieved some important features, including 6 degree-of-freedom haptic feedback, deformable object simulation, bi-manual coordination, and the simulation of fine manipulation in a narrow oral cavity. In this talk, I will briefly introduce the functions and the features of iDental, discuss challenging problems in haptic rendering, present preliminary user evaluation results and highlight some future research and development topics.

Biography: Yuru Zhang is a professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation at Beihang University in Beijing where she served as the associate dean of the school, the associate director of Robotics Institute. Currently she is the associate director of the State Key Laboratory of Virtual Reality Technology and System. Her primary research interest is haptic human-machine interaction including haptic user interface, teletraining and neurohaptics. She has published over 150 technical papers and holds 22 issued patents. She co-authored two books including "Robotic Dexterous Hands" funded by the National Science Foundation of China, and "Haptic Rendering for Simulation of Fine Manipulation" published by Springer. Professor Zhang is a senior member of IEEE and a member of ASME. She is on the Advisory Board for Teaching, the Ministry of Education, China. She was awarded the Outstanding Professional for the 21 Century by the Ministry of Education and the Excellent Investigator Award by the formal Ministry of Aeronautics Industry in China.

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