MassTLC Summit: The Future of Robotics

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) will hold a Future of Robotics Summit on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. Attendees will hear from leading robotic research institutions about the latest research coming down the pipeline and opportunities for partnership and commercialization. The research briefing will culminate with a presentation on technology transfer opportunities and tours of MIT’s Robotics Labs.

The Summit will include opening remarks from Massachusetts’ Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki as well as research presentations from a dozen labs — moderated by MassTLC’s Robotics Cluster Co-Chair Tom Ryden, founder & COO, North End Technologies. Each lab will provide details of their current robotics research.

University Research Lab Presentations

  • Biomimetic Underwater Robot Program
    Joseph Ayers, Northeastern University Marine Science Center
    We are developing neurotechnology based on the neurophysiology and behavior of animal models. We developed two classes of biomimetic autonomous underwater vehicles.
  • Hybrid and Networked Systems Lab
    Calin Belta, Boston University
    We are interested in phenomena that occur when continuous dynamics, described by systems of differential equations, are combined with discrete dynamics, modelled as automata or state transition graphs (examples range from man-made systems such as mobile robots, to naturally occurring systems such as biochemical networks).
  • WPI Robotics Engineering Program
    Mike Gennert, WPI
    WPI boasts the only undergrad robotics degree program in nation. Research areas include: surgical robotics, human-robot interaction, swarm robotics, and robotics systems engineering.
  • Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics
    Rod Grupen, UMass Amherst
    Our lab studies computational systems that solve sensory and motor problems. Experimental platforms include sensor networks, mobile manipulators, and integrated bimanual humanoids.
  • Robotics, Learning and Autonomy Lab
    Chad Jenkins, Brown University
    We explore problems in human-robot interaction, robot learning, robot perception, autonomous control, dexterous manipulation, and game development.
  • Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering
    Jim Kinsey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
    Projects include the development of in-situ calibration techniques for navigation sensor calibration, dynamic model-based nonlinear state estimators for underwater robot navigation, and exploiting advances in underwater vehicle navigation to obtain fine spatial resolution gravity maps.
  • Surgical Navigation and Robotics Laboratory
    Hata Nobuhiko, Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School
    Our unique approach, where imaging, computing and robotics are integrated into one unit to enhance the capability of image-guided therapy, aims to advance a minimally invasive therapy and ultimately develop new treatment methods.
  • Biomimetic Devices Laboratory
    Jason Rife and Ethan Danahy, Tufts University
    The overall goal of the laboratory is to develop devices based on the highly adaptive mechanisms of animal movement. These devices will have direct applications in robotics (e.g., manufacturing, emergency search and retrieval, repair and maintenance of equipment in space) and in medical diagnosis and treatment (e.g., endoscopy, remote surgery).
  • MIT Robotics Labs
    Seth Teller, MIT CSAIL
    Seth will provide a brief overview of research in the following MIT Robotics Labs (tours available after lunch): Distributed Robotics Lab, Robot Locomotion Lab, Robust Robotics Lab, Humans and Automation Lab, Personal Robots Group, Aerospace Controls Lab, Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group.
  • Robotics Lab @ UMass Lowell
    Holly Yanco, UMass Lowell
    Research focuses on human-robot interaction (HRI), ranging from visual displays to evaluation methods to a new HRI architecture for robots. Application domains include assistive technology, urban search and rescue (USAR), explosive ordinance disposal (EOD), and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response.

MIT Robotics Labs Tours

  • Distributed Robotics Laboratory
    Daniela Rus, MIT CSAIL
    Spans areas including modular and self-reconfiguring robots, distributed algorithms and systems of self-organizing robots, networks of robots and sensors for first-responders, mobile sensor networks, animals and robots, cooperative underwater robotics, desktop robotics, and forming, moving, and navigating sparse 2D and 3D structures.
  • Robot Locomotion Laboratory
    Russ Tedrake, MIT CSAIL
    The goal of our research is to build machines which exploit their natural dynamics to achieve extraordinary agility and efficiency.
  • Robust Robotics Laboratory
    Nicholas Roy, MIT CSAIL
    Our research goals are to build unmanned vehicles that can fly without GPS through unmapped indoor environments, robots that can drive through unmapped cities, and to build social robots that can quickly learn what people want without being annoying or intrusive.
  • Humans and Automation Laboratory
    Mary Cummings, MIT CSAIL
    Research focuses on the multifaceted interactions of human and computer decision-making in complex sociotechnical systems.
  • Personal Robots Group
    Cynthia Breazeal, MIT Media Lab
    Research focuses on developing the principles, techniques, and technologies for personal robots. This lab has developed numerous robotic creatures ranging from robotic flower gardens, to embedding robotic technologies into familiar everyday artifacts (e.g., clothing, lamps, desktop computers), to creating highly expressive humanoids — including the well-known social robot, Leonardo.
  • Aerospace Controls Laboratory
    Jonathan P. How
    Researches topics related to autonomous systems and control design for aircraft, spacecraft, and ground vehicles. Theoretical research is pursued in areas such as: decision making under uncertainty; path planning, activity and task assignment; estimation and navigation; sensor network design; robust control, adaptive control, and model predictive control.
  • Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group
    Seth Teller, MIT CSAIL
    Seth’s research focuses on Situationally-Aware Computing for Autonomous Robotics and Human Assistance.

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