Distinguished Seminar in Robotics, Systems and Control (151-0623-00)

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The seminar is organized by all IRIS professors: J. Buchli, M. Chli, R. Gassert, M. Hutter, W. Karlen, B. Nelson, R. Riener, and R. Siegwart.

Lecture: Autumn Semester (HS), Fridays, bi-weekly, an hour seminar starting 15.15 in HG G3, followed by an apero.
Language: English
ECTS credits: 1
Requirements: Students are required to attend all seven lectures to obtain credit. If a student must miss a lecture then attendance at a related special lecture will be accepted that is reported in a one page summary of the attended lecture. No exceptions to this rule are allowed. Course attendance confirmation is required.

Please note: Course attendance confirmation is required.

Course Description:

This course consists of a series of seven lectures given by researchers who have distinguished themselves in the area of Robotics, Systems, and Controls.

Learning Objectives:

Obtain an overview of various topics in Robotics, Systems, and Controls from leaders in the field. The detailed programme will be updated a few weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Course Syllabus:

This course consists of a series of seven lectures given by researchers who have distinguished themselves in the area of Robotics, Systems, and Controls. MSc students in Robotics, Systems, and Controls are required to attend every lecture. Attendance will be monitored. If for some reason a student cannot attend one of the lectures, the student must select another ETH or University of Zurich seminar related to the field and submit a one page description of the seminar topic.

Programme 2016





Dr. Raj Madhavan, Founder & CEO of Humanitarian Robotics Technologies, LLC
Humanitarian Robotics and Automation Technologies
My current work focuses on the applied use of robotics and automation technologies for the benefit of under-served and under-developed communities by working closely with them to develop solutions that showcase the effectiveness of R&A solutions in domains that strike a chord with the beneficiaries, thereby also ensuring sustainability of such developed solutions. This is made possible by bringing together resear-chers, practitioners from industry, academia, local governments, and various entities such as the IEEE Robotics Automation Society’s Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (RAS-SIGHT), NGOs, and NPOs across the globe.  I will share some of my efforts and thoughts on disaster prevention, recovery, and response efforts, using unmanned aerial vehicles. View abstract & biography (PDF, 94 KB)
07.10.2016 Dr. Jon Sensinger, University of New Brunswick & Co-Founder of Coapt LLC
Prostheses and Exoskeletons: Moving from a mechatronics bottleneck through a controls bottleneck The human body is an amazing design that is in many ways superior to anthropometric robots, whether throwing a ball or tying a knot. This contrast becomes clear when the person becomes injured and we attempt to augment it with a robotic interface such as a prosthetic limb or a powered exoskeleton to regain mobility. This is a complex problem that requires an accurate understanding of interaction between the mechatronic system, the control platform, and the human. Recent advances by ourselves and others have enabled us to transition from a mechatro-nic bottleneck to a control bottleneck in powered prostheses and exoskeletons. This is an exciting time in the field in which a variety of mechatronic platforms are available to answer a host of clinically relevant controls problems, with an ultimate goal to improve the lives of people who have a disability. This presentation will cover an overview of prostheses, along with some of our contributions to mechanical and mechatronic design, followed by our recent work in upper and lower limb control interfaces. View abstract & biography (PDF, 93 KB)
21.10.2016 Prof. Steffen Leonhardt, Philips endowed Chair of Medical Information Technology, University of Aachen, Germany
Closed-Loop Medical Systems In this talk we will cover some basic principles of feedback control in living organisms and on how to support the body in restoring proper function by applying assist devices. We will look at some typical features of physiological control loops, especially on the question of sign reversal in feedback, and will then introduce a few examples of closed-loop controlled therapeutic concepts. Finally, we will end the talk by pointing out why closed-loop control of assistive devices interacting with the diseased body will be a future trend. This lecture will be co-hosted with the Swiss IEEE EMBS chapter. View abstract & biography (PDF, 90 KB)
04.11.2016 Prof. Alin Albu-Schaeffer, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, German Aerospace Center, Germany
Designing and Controlling Robots for Direct Interaction with Humans The talk will address several implications resulting from the paradigm of putting the humans in the centre of robot design. First, assistance robots are supposed to closely interact with their human user. Therefore they need to be compatible to humans in terms of size and weight, but also regarding velocity and power. They need to be safe and compliant, able to perceive human motions and fast changing environments in real time and to also plan and execute their reactions at human compatible time scales. This poses subs-tantial challenges in terms of hardware and algorithms design, as well as in term of system integration. I will present here the evolvement of DLR robot design and control from compliantly controlled robots with joint torque sensing to intrinsically compliant systems with variable compliance actuation. View abstract & biography (PDF, 103 KB)
18.11.2016 Prof. Dario Floreano, École Polytechnique de Lausanne, Switzerland Insect-inspired technologies for civilian drones
We are witnessing the advent of a new era of robots — drones — that can autonomously fly in natural and man-made environments. These robots have a major impact on civilian tasks, including transportation, communication, agriculture, disaster mitigation and environment preservation. However, autonomous flight in confined spaces and near humans presents great scientific and technical challenges owing to the energetic cost of staying airborne, to the perceptual intelligence required to negotiate complex environments, and to the safety requirements. Here I will show how insect-inspired technologies can improve the autonomy, capability, and safety of drones for civilian tasks. View abstract & biography (PDF, 385 KB)
02.12.2016 Prof. Arto Visala, Aalto University, Finland
Semiautonomous Heavy Duty Machines for Agriculture and Forestry
The group‘s research focuses on heavy duty semiautonomous machines and mobile robotics, machine perception and nonlinear control in particular, mainly in agriculture and forestry. Software design for networked automation systems and HMIs for mobile machines are important methodological research topics, too. For agricultural tractor and implement combinations, several (13 since 2003) prototypes of ISOBUS networked (ISO 11783) control systems for implements have been realized, in which automatic GPS based precision agriculture and semiautomatic integrated control have been studied and demonstrated. In the last project, themes related to assisting and adaptive agricultural machine have been studied. Path planning, automatic navigation and Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) -type motion control using planned paths as reference have been developed. Several small agricultural field robots have been built in student projects, which have participated in European Field Robot Event-robot contest. Teams have been instructed by Dr Timo Oksanen. View abstract & biography (PDF, 148 KB)
16.12.2016 Prof. Sangbae Kim, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
MIT Cheetah: new design paradigm shift toward mobile robots Recent technological advances in legged robots are opening up a new era of mobile robotics. In particular, legged robots have a great potential to help disaster situations or elderly care services. Whereas manu-facturing robots are designed for maximum stiffness, allowing for accurate and rapid position tracking without contact, mobile robots have a different set of hardware/software design requirements including dynamic physical interactions with environments. Events such as the Fukushima power plant explosion highlight the need for robots that can traverse various terrains and perform dynamic physical tasks in unpredictable environments, where robots need to possess compliance that allows for impact mitigation as well as high force capability. The talk will discuss the new mobile robot design paradigm focusing on the actuator characteristics and the impulse planning algorithms. View abstract & biography (PDF, 84 KB)

To view previous years click here.

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