Grad Student Who's Who in Robotics

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Jonathan Baldwin

Sep 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/11/97

Sept 1997

Greetings. My name is Jonathan Baldwin. Ron has asked me to take over
maintainance of the Grad Students Who's Who list. I am little late in
getting my first edition out and I apologize for it. Hopefully, I will
be able to get the list out more promptly starting in October. This
list will start being placed in my public ftp directory (on directory pub/baldwin) with a link to in in Ron's
(the old location), in a couple of months, the link in Ron's may
vanish, so you might want to make sure you are getting it from my
directory. If you have any problems or concerns with the list, please
email me ( and put "Who's Who" in the subject.

Enough talk, here's the list as I have it for September.

Jonathan Baldwin (


>>>>>>>>>>>>>> GRAD STUDENTS WHO'S WHO IN ROBOTICS <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Have you ever wondered what grad students are doing in robotics? A
trip to your local research library allows you to see Who's Who in
robotics at the post-doc level, i.e. Professor SoNso, and SuchNsuch,
but what about the graduate students working on their MSc. or PhD?
Here is a summary of the received entries to date. If you would like
to appear in the Grad Students Who's Who in Robotics send a note to with WHO's WHO in ROBOTICS as the subject and
include your entry using the 5 point format. If you have WWW
home-page then include its URL after your name. This file is
available via anonymous ftp from in directory
pub/baldwin as file whosWho, and as a WWW web page courtesy of Johan
Forsberg (

A web link to the file is also found on the Robotics Internet
Resources Page at:

FTP: DIR: pub/baldwin FILE: whosWho
1. Name: Tucker Balch email:
2. Supervisor Ronald Arkin email:
3. Institution Georgia Tech
4. Research Area: Communication in Autonomous Robot Societies
5. Summary:

Multiple cooperating robots are able to complete many tasks more
quickly and reliably than one robot alone. Communication between
the robots can multiply their capabilities and effectiveness, but
to what extent? In our research, the importance of communication
in reactive robotic societies is investigated through experiments
on both simulated and real robots. So far, our research has shown
that for some tasks communication can significantly improve
performance, but for others inter-agent communication is apparently
unnecessary. In cases where communication helps, the lowest level
of communication is almost as effective as the more complex type.
Research is being extended to more complex scouting tasks for the

1. Name: Jonathan Baldwin email:
2. Supervisor: A. Basu email:
H. Zhang email:
3. Institution: University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
4. Research Area: Telepresence/Teleautonomous systems
5. Summary:

My research area is currently fuzzy, somewhat undefined beyond the
keyword telepresence. I am trying to narrow it down a little. I am
looking at a number of area such as augmented reality, predictive
displays and other research that can be applied to telepresence or
teleautonomous systems.

1. Name: Johan G Benade email:
2. Supervisor: Andre L Nel email:
3. Institution: Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, RSA.
4. Research Area: Autonomous Robotics
5. Summary:
Research is aimed at producing an improved biologically based
controller for use in hexapod locomotion. The leg controller must be
able to cope with uneven terrain - gaps in surfaces - inclines and
surface tension variability. At the end of the project a functioning
hardware realisation must be produced.

1. Name: Julian C Byrne email: (NO JUNK EMAIL!)
2. Supervisor: Ray A Jarvis email:
3. Institution: Intelligent Robotics Research Centre, Monash University,
Clayton, Australia
4. Research Area: Mobile robot architecture
5. Summary:
Top-down architectures are poor at handling realtime tasks. Reactive
architectures are poor at handling complex tasks containing many sub-goals.
This work investigates a clean combination of these two approaches using a
high speed general purpose parallel computer (an array of transputers) and
high level sensing (passive stereo greyscale vision). This contrasts with
traditional ad-hoc mobile robot architectures which uneasily graft
the two approaches together with a sharp demarcation which often leads to
structural problems with the top-down and subsumptive elements "competing"
to solve sub-goals.

GRADUATED =====================================================================
1. Name: Howie Choset email:
2. Supervisor: Joel W. Burdick email:
3. Institution: California Institute of Technology
4. Research Area: Sensor Based Planning for Mobile and Hyper-redundant
5. Summary:
``Sensor Based Planning'' incorporates sensor information, reflecting the
current state of the environment, into a robot's planning process, as opposed
to classical planning, which assumes full knowledge of the world's geometry
prior to planning. Sensor based planning is important because: (1) the robot
often has no a priori knowledge of the world; (2) the robot may have only a
coarse knowledge of the world because of limited memory; (3) the world
model is bound to contain inaccuracies which can be overcome with sensor based
planning strategies; and (4) the world is subject to unexpected occurrences or
rapidly changing situations.

Currently, we are working on some initial steps towards path planning
in a static environment where there is no a priori knowledge. We are develop-
ing an incremental method to construct a Generalized Voronoi Graph (GVG), which
is a 1-dimensional retract of a bounded space. The GVG is the same thing as
a Generalized Voronoi Diagram in two dimensions.

Like many other path planning schemes, the distance function is an
integral part of the GVG. This function is nonsmooth; it is shown
that the non-smoothness occurs at points which are ``critical'' to
many path planning schemes. We have done some nonsmooth analysis on
the distance function which has lead to the incorporation of simple and
realistic sensor models.

1. Name: Nicolae P Costescu email:
2. Supervisor: Darren M Dawson email:
3. Institution: Clemson University, Controls and Robotics, ECE Department
4. Research Area: Robotics
5. Summary:
Projects include semi-autonomous inspection of nuclear waste containers
using a 6DOF dexterous manipulator and virtual reality/telepresence
hardware, and real time control software environment on PC based systems.
See our URL for more detailed project and equipment information.

1. Name: Sabine Demey email:
2. Supervisor: Joris De Schutter email:
3. Institution: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
4. Research Area: Model-based compliant motion (surface following)
5. Summary:
A robot equipped with a force sensor (or a camera) has to follow the
surface of a workpiece while maintaining a desired contact force (or
distance) to the surface.
Differential and Euclidean invariant workpiece models, in combination
with on-line matching strategies allow a robust and high quality
(i.e. fast and accurate) task execution in the presence of positioning
and modelling inaccuracies of the workpiece.
The matching strategies try to estimate the correspondence between the
real contact point on the physical workpiece and its counterpart in the model.
Experiments have shown the usefulness of this approach in the case of
following a planar curve.
Future work includes the development of more efficient matching
strategies and the extension to surfaces.

1. Name: Chad English email:
2. Supervisor: Dr. Donald Russell
3. Institution: Carleton University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
4. Research Area: Applying biological solutions to prosthetics and robotics
5. Summary:
Biology provides us with solutions to many problems in robotics and limb
prosthetics. Humans interact well with the environment while robot
manipulators do not. We believe one reason we are successful at it is our
ability to modulate our joint impedances (stiffness, damping, apparent mass),
particularly joint stiffness. There are two methods by which we do this:
active feedback control and co-contraction of antagonistic muscles. Impedance
control in robotics implements a version of the feedback control method. We
are investigating the use of antagonistic actuation using non-linear springs to
control joint stiffness. In humans there is a tradeoff between the two
techniques. For feedback control there are bandwidth limitations due to neural
transmission delays. Antagonistic co-contraction results in metabolic energy
expenditure while doing no work. For my Master's work we developed an
implementation of antagonistic actuation for a single joint that maintains the
immediate response of passive springs (verses feedback control of a motor) and
reduces the energy expenditure below that of the feedback method of impedance
control. This is important in prosthetics or any robot manipulator where
energy is stored in on-board batteries. For my PhD we are looking at the case
of two joints with both single joint muscles (connected directly between the
joint and link) and double joint muscles (connected across two joints). The
work will focus on the requirements of the individual antagonistic springs and
how to control the stiffness, and direction of stiffness, at the endpoint.

1. Name: Yassine Faihe email:
2. Supervisor: Jean-Pierre M&uumlller email:
3. Institution: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Institute,
University of Neuchacirctel , Switzerland
4. Research Area: Autonomous Robots
5. Summary:
I am interested in building autonomous robots capable of performing non
trivial tasks in dynamic environments. Using reinforcement learning,
I am currently investigating a methodology to design a hierarchy of
sensory-motor loops from the task specifications given by the designer.

1. Name: Bridget Hallam <>
2. Supervisor: Gillian Hayes
3. Institution: Dept of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh University, UK
4. Research Area: Controlling Robots using Biological Theories
5. Summary:

Studying animal behavioural control can give insights into autonomous
behaviour that may prove useful for those wishing to build autonomous
robots. Implementing Halperin's neuro-connector model of learning and
motivation on a mobile robot has shown that it can be used to control
robots, and that it is reasonably complete. Implementation in simulation
will discover the sensitivity of the various features to variations in
parameters and the exact equations used, and so improve the model as a
robot controller. It may also improve the model for ethologists.

1. Name: Roger B. Hertz (
2. Supervisor: Peter C. Hughes (
3. Institution: University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
4. Research Area: Articulated-Truss Manipulators
5. Summary:
We are investigating the use of articulated truss mechanisms
for both space and terrestrial robotics applications. We have
constructed a prototype manipulator based on this concept that
is capable of 3-DOF spatial motion. My research is centered
on applying the technology to a 6-DOF industrial version of the
manipulator. Current work is involved with manipulator design,
development of kinematics algorithms, workspace analysis, and
customization of an industrial robot contoller.

1. Name: C. Ronald Kube email: GRADUATED!!
2. Supervisor: H. Zhang email:
3. Institution: University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada.
4. Research Area: Collective Robotics
5. Summary:
This research examines the question: Can autonomous mobile robots achieve
tasks collectively? We begin with the study of social insects--Nature's
example of a decentralized control system--simulating those mechanisms that
could prove useful in controlling teams of robots. Proposed theories are
then tested on situated physical robots. A system consisting of 5
mobile micro-robots has been built and used in a box-pushing task [1]. The
reactive architecture is implemented in simple combinational logic, with
behaviour arbitration trained using an Adaptive Logic Network (ALN) [2].
Currently, a new system of 11 micro-robots has been constructed to extend
the box-pushing task to transporting [3]. Recent work has addressed the
problem of stagnation recovery in reactive systems [4] and task/environment
modelling using finite state machines and perceptual cues [5,6].
A video demonstrating the transport task is available at:

[1] Kube CR, Zhang H, (1992) "Collective Robotic Intelligence,"
Second International Conference on Simulation of Adaptive Behavior, 460-468.
[2] Kube CR, Zhang H, Wang X, (1993) "Controlling Collective Tasks With an ALN,"
International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems IROS, 289-293.
[3] Kube CR, Zhang H,(1994) "Collective Robotics: From Social Insects to
Robots," Adaptive Behavior, 2(2), MIT Press, 189-219.
[4] Kube CR, Zhang H, (1994) "Stagnation Recovery Behaviours for Collective
Robotics," International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.
[5] Kube CR, Zhang H, (1996) "The Use of Perceptual Cues in Multi-Robot
Box-Pushing," 1996 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
[6] Kube CR, Zhang H, (1997) "Task Modelling in Collective Robotics,"
Autonomous Robots, 4(2), Kluwer Academic, 53-72.
1. Name: Gerard Lacey email:
2. Supervisor: Dr. Ken Dawson-Howe email:
3. Institution: Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.
4. Research Area: Autonomus and Semi-autonomus Mobile Robotics
5. Summary: Developoment of a low cost multi sensor autonomus
robot platfrom, intended to provide a base for further research
into autonomus and semi autonomus robotic research. The future
research work is focused on using exploritory moves to help remove
uncertianties in the perception of the robots environment.

1. Name: David E. Lee email:
2. Supervisors: Michel A. Melkanoff email:
H. Thomas Hahn
3. Institution: University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4. Research Area: Force Control & Mating Models for Component-Component
Interactions During Product Assembly Simulation
5. Summary:

This research focuses on the development of force control models and
representations of the dynamics of component-component interactions
to predict and simulate mating conditions during product assembly.
These analytic models are sought in order to provide a theoretical
underpinning to virtual assembly production analysis - assessing
assembly feasibility and the reliability of mating conditions prior
to the physical realization of individual components and actual
assembly of a product.

1. Name : Jean-Denis Lefeuvre email:

2. Supervisor :

3. Institution : Institut Superieur d'Electronique de Paris

4. Research Area : Mobile robots

5. Summary :

In old or dammaged nuclear plants, mobile robots will be
usefull to repair radioactives machines. The problem is to make them
able to go ( wheels, feet, tracks) and to control them even in
radioactive areas via aerial links (HF)

1. Name: Douglas C. MacKenzie email:
2. Supervisor: Ronald C. Arkin email:
3. Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
4. Research Area: Behavioral planning, mobile manipulation.
5. Summary:
Behavior-based robot architectures are systems where the overt behavior
of the system emerges from the complex interactions of numerous simple
sensorimotor behaviors. The distributed nature of the overt behavior
generation enormously complicates the problem of configuring the system
to generate a desired overt behavior. Instead of modifying a single
object, a set of sensorimotor behaviors must be selected and parameterized
(a configuration) such that an appropriate overt behavior is manifested.
This research will automate the process of generating a behavior configuration
by creating an interactive, graphically based, configuration designer. The
designer will function as an assistant, capable of pointing out areas of the
design intentions which are not met by the current configuration, suggesting
additions, deletions, and modifications, as well as insuring syntactic
validity, semantic validity, and sufficiency of the final design.
Configurations will be represented in the Configuration Description
Language (CDL), a context free language which has been developed to allow
compact, exact description of individual robot configurations as well as
the interactions of societies of cooperating mobile robots. An optimizer
module will verify that each member of the generated configuration is
necessary, and also that the resulting configuration is sufficient with
respect to the designer's intentions. Architecture specific code generator
modules will allow generating C code using various methodologies
(i.e. Subsumption, Schemas, etc.).

1. Name: Marinus Maris email:
2. Supervisor: Rolf Pfeifer email:
3. Institution: Dept. of Computer Science
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH - 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
4. Research Area: Autonomous Robots, Path Planning
5. Summary:
To understand and design a real autonomous robot several
aspects need to be investigated. The main research strategy
focusses on adaptive control structures to enable the robot to
manipulate its maneuvering around in the environment. As an
example we have designed a robot that avoids obstacles
utilizing just one sensor.

1. Name: Simon P. Monckton
2. Supervisor: D. Cherchas email:
3. Institution: University of British Columbia, B.C., Canada.
4. Research Area: Multiagent Robotics
5. Summary:
Most industrial manipulators employ a mapping between joint space
and cartesian space either in the form of an inverse kinematic solution
or the Jacobian inverse. This approach has evolved
out of the understanding of kinematics and dynamics of mechanisms and now
is the exclusive manipulator control methodology.
Unfortunately, these approaches require significant support by world and
dynamic models to achieve robust performance under varying environmental
conditions. Furthermore, redundant manipulation often makes
these approaches impractical to the point where few
manufacturers consider the development of manipulators with greater than 6
d.o.f.. This research addresses a new possibility, a cooperative
architecture of intelligent agents contributing toward the pursuit of a
global objective while pursuing local objectives. A literature survey
and early simulations indicate that this approach
not only viable, but less compute intensive than existing adaptive
and redundant control methods.

1. Name: Pierre Nigrowsky email:
2. Supervisor: Dr. Peter Turner email:
url: http1://www.brunel:8080/~eestpjt/
3. Instutution: Brunel University, Electrical Dept., Control Engineering Centre
4. Research Area: Robotic Control, Teleoperated System, Sliding Mode, Power Electronics
5. Summary:
The control of robots is an important issue in any automated system.
Traditionally, the control of industrial robots were achieved via a SISO control
approach. Each joint was controlled independently using classical technique such
as PI or PID controller.
The increased in computer power has given the opportunity to make the control
algorithm more complex and more efficient. An intuitive approach was to used the
Inverse Dynamic of the robotic system as a feedforward term for the controller.
The idea was to shape the torque requirement for the robot to execute a specific
trajectory. However, the used of the Inverse Dynamics as forward term have some drawbacks.
Their performances are very dependent on the model accuracy. Since the inertia, mass and
friction terms are not known exactly, and the robot may have to manipulate object of
different shape and mass. The performences, for a controller simply based on the inverse
dynamic may be poor and it may turn out to be unstable. From this Model-Based approach two
philosophies have be developped to deal with uncertainties in the model dynamics, Adaptive
controller and Robust controller.
My research focus on the use of Variable Structure System in conjoncture with Sliding mode,
to robustify a Model-Based controller for the purpose of trajectory following.
An invovative robot based on nonlinear transmission is used as benchmark for the controller.

1. Name : Ranganathan Ramanathan (AKA Rungun) email :
2. Supervisor : Dr. Rahmim Seliktar email :
Dr. Tariq Rahman email :
3. Institution : Drexel University, MEM department, Philadelphia, PA 19014, USA
4. Research Area : Rehabilitation Robotics
5. Summary :
Design and development of powered orthosis. Stuck at an interesting but
tough problem of finding out an GOOD anti-gravity mechanism to use. Then
we power this mechanism, and look into various control issues and human
machine interface.

1. Name: Malcolm Ryan email:
2. Supervisor: Claude Sammut email:
3. Institution: Dept Of Computer Science & Engineering, University of NSW, Australia.
4. Research Area: Scaling up reinforcement learning for robotics.
5. Summary:
Developing suitable tools for applying reinforcement learning techniques
to complex tasks in roboics. Reinforcement learning (RL) allows an agent to
learn from its own experience, and adapt its behaviour to fit its environment.
Existing RL tools scale very poorly to complex problems, due to combinatorial
explosion in the state & action spaces.
The solution I am exploring involves breaking the problem down into a
collection of behaviours and learning both individual behaviours, and an
appropriate hierarchy for them to execute in.

1. Name: Rene Schaad email:
2. Supervisor: Rolf Pfeifer email:
3. Institution: Artificial Intelligence Laboratory,
Departement of Computer Science,
University of Zurich, Switzerland
4. Research Area: Scaling reinforcement learning to real world domains.
5. Summary:
Reinforcement learning is the method of choice for learning in autonomous
agents. However, RL suffers from severe scaling problems. Multiple goals, large
input spaces, multiple parallel tasks, and sequentially decomposable tasks
introduce problems that cannot, in the real world, be solved with monolithic
architectures. Our goal is to devise modular architectures that solve the above
scaling problems in real world domains. We draw upon the work of Brooks, Kaelbling, Mahadevan & Connell,
Singh, Whitehead, Thrun, Sutton, Barto, Watkins and others to develop a
methodological framework for building adaptible autonomous agents. We also
emphasize a principled approach to the action selection problem (Boesser & McFarland, Tyrell).

1. Name: Todd Sharpe
2. Supervisor: Dr. Tom J. Lawley
3. Institution: The University of Texas at Arlington
4. Research Areas: Modular Robotics
5. Summary
Our group is working on producing a modular robot. The basic idea
is that various link geometries coupled with various motors can
emulate most any present serial robot configuration. Furthermore,
the modularity allows for upgrades in the future without total
replacement. My research deals with developing the quick
connect/disconnect for the modualrity and the motor selection
used in the joints. A key to this project is that we plan to
implement nural networks as control. This controler theory tends
to be advantageous to the modular theory.

1. Name: Jack Silberman email:
2. Supervisor: Dr. John Bares email:
3. Institution: Carnegie Mellon University, Field Robotics Center
4. Research Area: Fault Tolerant Mobile Robots
5. Summary:
In space robotics, robots should be fault tolerant and self protected. Physical access to the robots during the mission is virtually impossible.
The current design approach for mobile robots for extreme environments includes a tendency for duplication of vital components. However, in space applications, size, weight and cost restrict the extent of duplication and redundancy. As with most robots, it is also difficult to guarantee that the backup system malfunction will not interfere in the main system. Therefore, a goal for space robots is to have cost efficient backup systems that minimize duplication.
The approach taken here in this study will be first to create analogies between spacecraft, aircraft, automobiles, manipulator and mobile robots.Next to test analogy to mobile robots, and finally report usable efficient methodology for building reliable and fault tolerant mobile robots.
The results of this work will be initially applied to the design of the Lunar Rover mobile robot currently under development at Carnegie Mellon University. Future application to other mobile robots under development at CMU will help validate the methods and create more reliable robots.

1. Name: Gaurav S. Sukhatme email:
2. Supervisor: Professor George A. Bekey email:
3. Institution: Department of Computer Science
Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems
University of Southern California
4. Research Area: Performance Evaluation of Autonomous Mobile Robots
5. Summary: Performance evaluation and prediction are becoming
increasingly important issues in robotics as the science matures. I am
developing a theoretical framework for the evaluation of highly
autonomous mobile robots. The application area of interest to me is
extraterrestrial exploration. The project I am working on also
involves the application of our theory and evalution methodolgy to two
mobile robots with different modalities of locomotion, namely legs and

1. Name: Johan W.H. Tangelder email: J.W.H.T...@IO.TUDelft.NL
2. Supervisor: Joris S.M. Vergeest email: J.S.M.V...@IO.TUDelft.NL
3. Institution: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
Delft University of Technology
4. Research area: Rapid Prototyping using Robot Milling

5. Summary:
At the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering more
than 10 years of experience exists with CNC milling
of CAD-defined prototypes. During the last years, we have extended
our possibilities by using a Sculpturing Robot (SR) system
consisting of a Siemens Manutec R15 robot and a rotatable turntable.
The Siemens Manutec R15 robot is a 6 degrees-of-freedom industrial robot
with six revolute joints. The prototype is obtained from a foam stock.
The foam stock is placed on the rotatable turntable, which
is controlled by the robot controller. This turntable is placed in front
of the robot, enabling the robot to approach the object
from 5 different orthogonal sides. As a result of our research, a robot
motion planning algorithm has been developed and implemented as
the SRPLAN1 software. In order to manufacture a foam prototype with
the Manutec R15 robot the algorithm generates toolpaths completely off-line.
The input data for the path planner are given by a
CAD-defined model. In the path planning algorithm collision checks prevent
the tool and toolholder from accidentally damaging itself or the
foam stock. SRPLAN1 implements an orthogonal milling strategy
that uses only five orthogonal tool orientations which are
either perpendicular to the upper face of the initial foam stock or to any
of the four side faces (milling from the bottom face is physically impossible).
Collision avoidance for the tool holder and the stock has been implemented,
but not for the robot links. Also much computing time is spent on collision
avoidance. In practice this means that SRPLAN1 supports only milling
objects with size up to approximately 0.3 m x 0.3 m x 0.3 m.
The orthogonal tool orientations limit the class of shapes that
can be milled accurately.

Therefore, my Ph.D. research has the following three goals.
Goal 1: Extend the class of shapes that can be milled accurately.
This is supported by deriving geometry-based tool approach
orientations from the free-form shape geometry
instead of using orthogonal tool orientations. Because the geometry-based
tool approach orientations are in general not orthogonal the class of shapes
that can be milled accurately is extended.
Goal 2: Support milling large objects given the limited robot workspace
This is supported by the development of efficient robust milling
strategies for fixed tool orientations with full collision avoidance
including the robot links.
Goal 3: Reduce the turn-around time of the rapid prototyping process
This is supported by reducing the computing time using faster algorithms
as well by reducing the machining time using shorter tool paths.

1. Name: Eddie Tunstel email:
2. Supervisor: Dr. M Jamshidi email:
3. Institution: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
4. Research Area: Fuzzy and Intelligent Control of Mobile Robots
5. Summary:
This research focusses on the development of hybrid intelligent
control architectures for autonomous mobile robots and mobile
manipulation. The work includes investigations of various
combinations of paradigms such as fuzzy logic, neural networks,
behavior control, and genetic algorithms for real time motion
control. The research focus is on control architectures for
navigation, path planning, and environment mapping with empahasis
on embedded application.

1.Names: Torsten Schoenberg email:
Mika Vainio email:
2.Supervisor: Aarne Halme email:
3.Institution: Automation Laboratory, Helsinki University of
Technology, Helsinki, Finland
4.Research Area: Robot Societies: Theory and applications
Our four member team has been working from the begining of 1992 with
the Robot Society concept. The first part of the reasearch was to
define robot society's main structures. Ant societies were
studied in order to find the key issues, which control ants'
seemingly chaotic societies. Next phase was to design a model
society, which is now under construction. It consists of two types of
autonomous mobile robots(named as the Workers and the Energy-
carriers). The task for the society is a classical one; its job is
to gather stones from an initially unknown environment along with
mapping the environment while operating. This society has been
implemented both as a physical system(still lot of work to be done!)
and as a simulated one[1-2]. Parallel to this basic research we have
been looking for a suitable real world application, where some of our
early results could be verified. Finally from the begining of this
year we have been building a more realistic robot society. The idea
is that this society will operate inside a true industrial process. A
dynamic and hostile 3D world will provide more than adequate number
of problems to be solved.

[1] Halme A, Jakubik P, Schoenberg T, Vainio M, (1993) "The Concept of
Robot Society and Its Utilization," IEEE Int. Workshop on Advanced
[2] Halme A, Jakubik P, Schoenberg T, Vainio M, (1994) "The Concept of
Robot Society and Its Utilization in Future Robotics," Int.
Workshop on Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

1. Name: Virgilio B. Velasco Jr., aka "Dean" email:
2. Supervisor: Wyatt S. Newman email:
3. Institution: Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics Department
Case Western Reserve University
Center for Automation and Intelligent Systems Research
4. Research Area: Agile Manipulation
5. Summary:
"Automated gripper customization using rapid prototyping technology"

The ability to rapidly introduce new components for assembly
is an important concept in agile manufacturing. An agile workcell
should therefore minimize the amount of downtime spent on retooling
the system whenever components are introduced. In order to reduce
the changeover time, a means for automatically generating gripper
designs based on part geometry would be highly desirable. Such
grippers should ideally be capable of handling multiple parts, and
should be insensitive to uncertainties in the part positions. In
addition, a method for quickly producing such grippers would be
invaluable. Mr. Velasco's project seeks to accomplish these goals
through the use of rapid prototyping technology.

1. Name: Richard Voyles email:
2. Supervisor: Pradeep Khosla email:
3. Institution: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
4. Research Area: Multi-Agent Control/Perception
5. Summary:
I'm investigating the cooperation of relatively dumb agents with
minimal communication channels during control and perception tasks.
I'm applying systems of encapsulated agents to control of a
Utah/MIT dextrous hand, control of a Puma 560, and possbily to
the task of selecting control methodologies for a robot.

1. Name: Israel A. Wagner email:
2. Supervisor: Freddy Bruckstein email:
3. Institution: CS Dept., Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
4. Research Area: Ant Robotics
5. Summary:
In the world of living creatures, ``simple minded'' animals often
cooperate to achieve common goals with amazing performance.
One can consider this idea in the context of robotics, and suggest models
for programming goal-oriented evolutionary behavior into the members
of a group of simple robots lacking global supervision.
This can be done by controlling the local interactions between
the robot agents, to have them jointly carry out a given mission.
My work is mainly on topics of cooperative covering and exploration
by ant-robots.

1. Name: Jeremy Wyatt <>
2. Supervisor: Gillian Hayes and John Hallam
3. Institution: Dept of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh University, UK
4. Research Area: Learning in Mobile Robots
5. Summary: I an interested in using learning to help design robot
controllers. I am working on combining a technique called reinforcement
learning with a behaviour based controller. Elementary behaviours are
learned separately, and then coordinating behaviours are learned.
Ultimately the aim is to build a hierarchy of behaviours with several levels.

1. Name: Gordon Wyeth email:
2. Supervisor: Mark Schulz email:
3. Institution: Robotics Laboratory,
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
University of Queensland,
Brisbane, Australia.
4. Research Areas: Artificial Neural Control of a Hunt and Gather Robot,
5. Summary:

Hunt and Gather Robot

The main aim of this project is to produce models of cognitive
structures that support intelligent behaviour sufficient to allow a
mobile robot to perform collecting tasks. The project involves the
construction of a robot dog, CORGI, that retrieves tennis balls
around the lab. The techniques used to build this robot are similar
to those used in behaviour-based robotics, but are based on a neural
paradigm. The robot's primary sense is a CCD camera that is used to
locate the tennis balls, sense obstacles and to provide visual cues
to allow the robot to return to its home position. The artificial
neural network architecture is based on a combination of
conventional networks (MLP, SOM) and constructs found in Braitenberg


Micromice are autonomous maze solving robots that are entered in
competitions to see who can solve the maze and run the fastest path
in the least time. My Micromice include CUQEE I & II, Australian
Micromouse Champions. CUQEE III is currently in development and
should debut at the end of 1994.

1. Name: John S. Zelek email:
2. Supervisor: Martin D. Levine email:
3. Institution: Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM), McGill University
4. Research Area: Behavior-based control architecture for robot navigation
5. Summary:
Biological creatures apparently execute many tasks in the world by using a
combination of routine skills, without doing any extensive reasoning.
Brooks (MIT) has used such behaviors in his subsumption architecture as a
building block for developing intelligent robots. This was in sharp contrast
to the traditional robotics approach in the 1970's when robot processing was
functionally decomposed into sequential processes of sensing, modelling,
planning, and acting. The major problems with Brooks' architecture are its
scalability to more difficult tasks which may include reasoning, and the
limitations imposed by not having an internal model. The subsumption
architecture did not have any internal model and thus was prone to possible
inescapable cyclic behavior. Other researchers (e.g. Arkin:90) have
incorporated a global planner. However, in this case, the role of the
behavioral architecture has been reduced to a purely reactive one while
executing a sequence of linear piecewise path segments.
The intention of this study is to design an architecture that
allows the behavioral control strategy to be more flexible, generalizable, and
extendable. The component dedicated to behavioral activities should be able
to attempt tasks with or without a reasoning module. We are investigating 2D
navigational tasks for a mobile robot possessing sonar sensors and a
controllable TV camera mounted on a pan-tilt head.
Experimentation with an implementation of this system will help
determine the tradeoffs and limitations of the architecture in various
contextual settings.

Arthur T. Murray

Sep 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/13/97
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