SURE–Robotics participants will be involved in diverse robotics research projects. Descriptions of labs and example research projects students will pursue are described below, along with the faculty advisors for each project.
Complex Rheology And Biomechanics (CRAB) Lab—Daniel Goldman
Research in the CRAB Lab focuses on problems that involve complex interaction of matter (physical and biological) with materials that can display solid and fluid properties (like sand, mud, bark, brush). For example, how do organisms like lizards, crabs, and cockroaches cope with locomotion on complex terrestrial substrates (e.g. sand, bark, leaves, and grass)? We seek to discover how biological locomotion on challenging terrain results from the nonlinear, many degree of freedom interaction of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems of organisms with materials with complex physical behavior. The study of novel biological and physical interactions with complex media can lead to the discovery of principles that govern the physics of the media. Our approach is to integrate laboratory and field studies of organism biomechanics with systematic laboratory studies of physics of the substrates, as well as to create mathematical and physical (robot) models of both organism and substrate. Discovery of the principles of locomotion on such materials will enhance robot agility on such substrates.
Adaptive Robotic Manipulation (ARM) Laboratory—Frank L. Hammond III
The ARM Lab focuses on leveraging our knowledge of human and animal motion (locomotion, grasp synergies, robustness to uncertainty and variation), novel embedded sensing and actuation methods (soft sensors, variable stiffness and transformable structures, underactuation), and computational design methods (machine learning, evolutionary optimization) to create robotic devices that boast the versatility and adaptability of biological organisms/manipulators while possessing the precision, strength and speed of man-made machines. Topics include underactuated robotic grasping, kinematically redundant manipulation, teleoperative robotic surgery, polymorphic mobile robots, and wearable devices for human augmentation.
Dynamic Adaptive Robotic Technologies (DART) Lab—Ani Mazumdar
The DART Laboratory is focused on the examination of robot mobility. Our research projects for this summer explore the interplay between mechanical design, novel sensing, and intelligent control for aerial drones, ground robots, and wearable exoskeletons. Depending on student interest, a prospective SURE student can work on any of these projects. Regardless of the project, hands-on development and testing of novel mechatronic approaches is a key part of our work, and students can expect to rapidly develop and test their new ideas. SURE Robotics students will work with physical hardware and computational tools to model, design, and test new physical components, control systems, and algorithms. Through this experience they will develop new skills in software (Matlab, micro controllers), machine design, rapid prototyping, and bench-level experimentation.
Design and Control of an Upper-extremity Rehabilitation Device—Jun Ueda
The Bio-Robotics and Human Modeling Lab focuses on the development of systems engineering approach to the design and control of co-robots for industry and medical applications. The research approach is threefold: (1) design of high-precision mechanisms, (2) understanding of the mechanisms of neuromotor adaptations in humans, and (3) adaptive control of physical human-robot interaction (pHRI). The current research aims to increase information available to a robotic device about a human operator during general assembly, in order to improve human performance (e.g., speed and accuracy of task, interaction port behavior or subjective "feel" for the operator). The ultimate goal is to develop a novel control framework utilizing adaptive gain and parameter tuning according to changes in an operator's physical state and/or cognitive state (i.e., operator intent). The proposed methodology introduces performance augmentation and adaptive shared control to human operated robots in advanced manufacturing, construction and medical industries. Research will be conducted to understand the relationship between physiological measures such as electromyography and system performance characteristics to develop methodologies to achieve effective classification and prediction of operator physical and cognitive state during pHRI, and to implement and test the novel control schemes on a co-robot. The BRHM Lab is currently working on projects that apply established motion control methods to a wearable upper-extremity device for stroke rehabilitation, adaptive lifting-device for industry assembly tasks, tele-robot system for disaster relief, and high-precision minimally invasive surgical device. REU students will work closely with a graduate mentor and develop skills in machine design, modeling, control, programming, and experimental methodologies. Students will also have an opportunity to interact with industry or clinical collaborators.
Exoskeleton and Prosthetic Intelligent Controls (EPIC) Lab—Aaron Young
Dr. Young’s research is focused on developing control systems to improve lower limb prosthetic and exoskeleton systems. His research is aimed at developing clinically translatable research that can be deployed on research and commercial systems in the near future. His group focuses on testing and implementing control systems on robotic assistive devices in patient populations. These devices are evaluated based on the changes to human locomotion biomechanics, energetic cost of walking, and muscle activity changes. The group has active projects on both a robotic knee/ankle prosthesis intended for use with transfemoral amputees and a robotic hip exoskeleton for augmenting locomotion functions. REU participants who work with Dr. Young will work with an interdisciplinary group in robotics, mechanical, electrical and biomedical engineering. They will learn how to conduct human subject experiments and work with clinicians in physical therapy and P&O (Georgia Tech’s Prosthetics and Orthotics Program) to do clinically translatable research. Additionally, they will develop expertise in biological signal processing, mechatronic systems, machine learning, robotics and control.