First introduced in 1921, “robota” (robots), which means “labours” for humans, have served their purpose well in automobile manufacturing industry. For many years, scientists have been focusing on expanding the use of robot beyond those safety cages into other applications where human and robots can work together seamlessly.

This year, ICRA 2017 is honored to invite prominent robot experts to share the recent technological advancement in the field of robotics. These special sessions will focus on novel and creative approaches in designing or developing robots for automation, medical or surgical tasks, and space exploratory mission.

Tuesday - May 30, 2017

Venue: Room 4211/4212 (Level 4)

TIME SESSIONS
0955 – 1110 SESSION 1
Intelligent Manufacturing and Automation
Chair: Marcelo Ang, National University of Singapore, Singapore
0955 – 1020 Alternative Sensing and Perception based on Physical fields for Robotics and Automation
Kok-Meng Lee, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
1020 – 1045 Sampling-Based Motion Planning: Advances and Challenges
Nancy Amato, Texas A&M University, USA
1045 – 1110 Robotic Machining: Challenges and Chances
Han Ding, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China
1110 – 1130 AM Break – L4 Pre-Function Area
1130 – 1245 SESSION 2
Medical and Micro Robotics
Chair: Dong-Soo Kwon, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea
1130 – 1155 Recovery of Function in Major Spinal Cord Injury Using Spinal Stimulation and Assistive Robotics
Joel Burdick, California Institute of Technology, USA
1155 – 1220 Micro Medical Robotics: Painless and Scarless
Max Meng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
1220 – 1245 Opportunities at the Bottom​
Bradley Nelson, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Switzerland
1245 – 1345 Lunch – L4 Pre-Function Area
1445 – 1600 SESSION 3
Human Centric Robotics
Chair: Jianwei Zhang, University of Hamburg, Germany
1445 – 1510 Ensuring Safety of Humans and Industrial Robots Sharing the Same Workspace
Masayoshi Tomizuka, University of California, Berkeley, USA
1510 – 1535 Cognitive Sensing for Robotic Dexterous Operations
Fuchun Sun, Tsinghua University, China
1535 – 1600 Bipedal Walking: A Pluridisciplinary Perspective
Jean-Paul Laumond, LAAS-CNRS, France
1600 – 1625 PM Break – L4 Pre-Function Area
1625 – 1805 SESSION 4
Advanced Robot Design
Chair: Ronald Lumia, University of New Mexico, USA
1625 – 1650 Ten Technologies That Will Change Robotics, and the World, Forever
Gregory Chirikjian, Johns Hopkins University, USA
1650 – 1715 Design of Robotic Systems to Trace Specified Curves
Michael McCarthy, University of California, Irvine, USA
1715 – 1740 Design and Application of Parallel-Parallel 6-Legged Robots
Feng Gao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
1740 – 1805 Robotic Technology Efforts at the NASA/Johnson Space Center
Myron Diftler, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA

Special Session Speakers

Kok-Meng Lee, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA​

Alternative Sensing and Perception based on Physical fields for Robotics and Automation

Recent advances in sensing and perception systems (SPSs), which move beyond from point measurements to field representation, enable exciting new technologies to facilitate autonomous machines capable of evolving with more and more ‘smart functions’ that ultimately make the process a self-improved system. This talk introduces several SPS methods based on physical fields as an alternative or a complement to visible light which is commonly assumed as the medium in conventional machine vision. As will be illustrated with practical robotics/automation examples, physical fields that exist both in man-made systems and in nature can be reconstructed from limited measurements to infer motion variables for guiding navigation and/or identify system properties of a distributed-parameter system to control its system behaviors; thus, their creative uses can eliminate costly, complicated external measurement systems. Selected applications of physical fields, which include electromagnetic and displacement fields in intelligent manufacturing applications and geomagnetic and thermal fields in nature, are given to help illustrate the impacts and yet to cover a wide variety of applications. The objective is to stimulate discussion of the future SPS research and its emerging applications to address problems facing society in a rapidly changing world.

Bio: Dr. Kok-Meng Lee received his S. M. and Ph. D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Since 1985, Dr. Lee has been a faculty with the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Currently, he is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and is Distinguished Professor with the State Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacturing Equipment and Technology at Huazhong University of Science and Technology under the National Recruitment Program of Global Experts. He was also honored as Pao Yu-Kong Chair Professor at Zhejiang University.  His research interests include system dynamics/control, robotics, automation, machine vision, and mechatronics. Dr. Lee is a fellow of IEEE and ASME.  Recognitions of his research contributions include the NSF Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) Award, Sigma Xi Junior Faculty Award, International Hall of Fame New Technology Award, Woodruff Faculty Fellow, three best paper awards and ten U. S., Canada and European patents.  He is also recognized as advisor for nine Best Student Paper and Thesis Awards.

Dr. Lee is founding Editor-in-Chief for the Springer International Journal on Intelligent Robotics and Applications.  Prior to this appointment, he served as Editor-in-Chief (2008-2013) and Technical Editor (1995-1999) for the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Associate Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Magazine (1994-1996), IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation (1994-1998) and IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (2003-2005). He was ICRA Local Chair (1993), IEEE/ASME AIM General Co-Chair (1997) and General Chair (1999) and as ASME Liaison for IEEE/ASME AIM (1999-2013, 2017-persent).


Nancy Amato, Texas A&M University, USA​

Sampling-Based Motion Planning: Advances and Challenges

Motion planning has application in robotics, virtual prototyping and training, and even protein folding and drug design. Surprisingly, sampling-based planning methods have proven effective on problems from all these domains. In this talk we review some advances in sampling-based planning, including strategies that are well suited for manipulation planning and that can exploit workspace topology to improve planning time, and state some challenges.

Bio: Nancy M. Amato is Regents Professor and Unocal Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University where she co-directs the Parasol Lab. Her main areas of research focus are robotics and motion planning, computational biology and geometry, and parallel and distributed computing. Amato received undergraduate degrees in Mathematical Sciences and Economics from Stanford University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois, respectively. She was program chair for the 2015 IEEE Intern. Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) and for Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) in 2016, is General Co-Chair for the 2017 International Symposium on Robotics Research (ISRR), and is the chair of the Steering Committee for the Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics. She as served as an elected member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) AdCom (2009-2014) and is Chair of the IEEE RAS Electronic Products and Services Board (EPSB). She is an elected member of the CRA Board of Directors (2014-2017), is co-Chair of CRA-W (2014-2017), and was co-chair of the NCWIT Academic Alliance (2009-2011). She received the 2014 CRA Haberman Award, the inaugural NCWIT Harrold/Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award in 2014, the 2013 IEEE HP/Harriet Rigas Award, and a Texas A&M AFS university-level teaching award in 2011. She received an NSF CAREER Award and is a AAAS Fellow, an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.


Han Ding, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China​

Robotic Machining: Challenges and Chances

Motivated by the technology of intelligent manufacturing, robots are springing up like mushrooms in a variety of machining applications, such as robotic milling, grinding, drilling and polishing etc. Although some fundamental problems, such as the mechanism of material-removing processes, how to design tools and plan tool paths, have been thoroughly  investigated in the traditional manufacturing society, robotic processing still has to encounter unavoidable obstacles to achieve high performance machining. In order to maximize the potential of robotic processing, it is urgent to understand the theoretic and technique challenges and overcome them. This talk is intended to review the latest development of robotic processing, to discuss the challenges of robotic machining process from the interdisciplinary viewpoint, and to present the new development results achieved by our team. In particular, a successful application case, i.e., robotic grinding of blade parts, will be introduced. At the end, new trends and chances in this field will be outlined.

Bio: Prof. Han Ding received his Ph.D. degree in Mechatronics from Huazhong University of Science & Technology in 1989. Supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Prof. Ding worked at University of Stuttgart, Germany in 1993. He obtained the National Distinguished Youth Scientific Fund in 1997 and was employed as the “Cheung Kong” Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2001. He was elected a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Prof. Ding has long dedicated himself to the research work in the field of robotics and digital manufacturing and successfully combines the robotics and manufacturing technologies. He published three academic books and more than 300 journal papers, and licensed more than 60 patents in China. Prof. Ding acted as an Associate Editor (2003-2007) and an Editor (2011-) of IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. He was a Technical Editor of IEEE/ASME Trans. on Mechatronics from 2010 to 2014. Currently, he is a Senior Editor of IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. As a General Co-Chair, he hosted the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation held in Shanghai, China in 2011. 


Joel Burdick, California Institute of Technology, USA

Recovery of Function in Major Spinal Cord Injury Using Spinal Stimulation and Assistive Robotics

Approximately 5,000,000 worldwide suffer from a serious spinal cord injury (SCI). Not only do the injured lose the ability to stand and walk (and sometimes move their arms), they suffer from additional injury-induced complications including loss of bladder and bowel control, decreased cardiovascular and pulmonary health, inability to regulate body temperature, and loss of muscle strength and bone density.  The totality of the injury and its secondary dysfunctions makes daily activities of living a challenge. Because the median age of SCI in the U.S. is 32 years, SCI individuals amass an additional $1.4-$4.2 million in healthcare costs over their lifetimes.

A team of researchers at Caltech, UCLA, and Univ. of Louisville have been developing new technologies and new therapies for motor complete SCI patients—those who have lost motor control below the level of their injury.  The centerpiece of this approach is a multi-electrode array that is implanted over the lumbosacral spinal cord either in in the epidural space between the dura and the interior of the vertebral canal, or on the skin over this area.  When this technology is coupled with locomotor training (which can be provided by assistive robotic devices), and drug therapy when possible, our preliminary human studies have shown that SCI patients receiving this therapy cannot only stand independently and make some voluntary movements (after being in a wheel chair for over 3 years), but more importantly, can expect to make significant gains in cardiovascular health, muscle tone, as well as improved autonomic function such as bladder, bowel, blood pressure, and temperature regulation.  After first reviewing our clinical successes, current research on new machine algorithms for automated tuning of the stimuli parameters, and the interface of this technology with robotic devices will be reviewed.

Bio: Joel Burdick received his undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering and chemistry from Duke University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He has been with the department of Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology since May 1988, where he has been the recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award, and the Feynman fellowship. He has been a finalist for the best paper award for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in 1993, 1999, 2000, 2005, and 2016. He was appointed an IEEE Robotics Society Distinguished Lecturer in 2003, and received the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough award in 2011. Prof. Burdick’s current research interests include rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries, nonlinear control of mechanical systems, sensor based robot motion planning, and multi-fingered robotic hand manipulation.


Max Meng, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

Micro Medical Robotics: Painless and Scarless

Research on micro medical robotics is attracting more and more public attention and research efforts lately. Recent revolutionary development and drastic progress in robotic technology in terms of both hardware capability and software power have made it possible for researchers to redefine what micro medical robotics can achieve to facilitate complicated medical procedures with much less pain and surgical procedures without even external scars. In this talk, we will start with an introduction to how research on micro medical robotics started and what the milestone achievements are, and then move onto our own research efforts on micro medical robotics with several case study examples. Personal thoughts and outlook on future research efforts and potentials in micro medical robotics will be outlined to conclude the talk.

Bio: Max Q.-H. Meng received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Victoria, Canada, in 1992, following his Master's degree from Beijing Institute of Technology in 1988. He joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2001 and is currently serving as Professor and Chairman of Department of Electronic Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta in Canada, serving as the Director of the ART (Advanced Robotics and Teleoperation) Lab and holding the positions of Assistant Professor (1994), Associate Professor (1998), and Professor (2000), respectively. He was jointly appointed as an Overseas Outstanding Scholar Chair Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Dean of the School of Control Science and Engineering at Shandong University in China. He is currently jointly appointed as a Distinguished Chair Professor at Harbin Institute of Technology supported via the 1000 Talents Recruitment Program of Global Experts, a Distinguished Provincial Chair Professor of Henan University of Science and Technology, and the Honorary Dean of the School of Control Science and Engineering at Shandong University, in China. His research interests include robotics, perception and sensing, human-robot interaction, active medical devices, bio-sensors and sensor networks, and adaptive and intelligent systems. He has published more than 500 journal and conference papers and book chapters and led more than 40 funded research projects to completion as Principal Investigator. He has served as an editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics and an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, and is currently a technical editor of a number of journals in robotics. He has served as the General Chair of several conferences, including IROS 2005, AIM 2008, WCICA 2010, and Robio 2013 conferences. He is the founder of the IEEE ICIA conference series and co-founder of the IEEE Robio conference series. He served as an Associate VP for Conferences of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (2004-2007), an AdCom member of the IEEE Neural Network Council/Society (2003-2006), the Co-Chair of the Fellow Evaluation Committee of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. He is currently serving as an elected member of the Administrative Committee (AdCom) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. He is a recipient of the IEEE Third Millennium Medal award and he is a Fellow of IEEE.


Bradley Nelson, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, Switzerland

Opportunities at the Bottom​

While the futuristic vision of micro and nanorobotics is of intelligent machines that navigate throughout our bodies searching for and destroying disease, we have a long way to go to get there. Progress is being made, though, and the past decade has seen impressive advances in the development of tiny motile devices. In this talk I will discuss what our research community has accomplished in the areas of propulsion and actuation, sensing, in vivo delivery, precision surgery, and detoxification. I will also discuss emerging areas and their potential impact. As systems such as these progress and enter clinical trials, and as commercial applications of this new technology are realized, radically new therapies and uses will result that have yet to be envisioned.

Bio: Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards in the fields of robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of academic departments and research institutes across North America, Europe, and Asia and is on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Prof. Nelson has been the Department Head of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH, Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center, is a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and serves on boards of three Swiss companies. Before moving to Europe, Prof. Nelson worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa. He has also been a professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Masayoshi Tomizuka, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Ensuring Safety of Humans and Industrial Robots Sharing the Same Workspace

Robots play significant roles in modern factory automation. While researchers strive to make robots more intelligent and autonomous, there are also significant developments in recent years to allow humans and robots to work together to make the manufacturing process more efficient, effective, flexible and intelligent. There are advantages and disadvantages to humans and robots, and co-robot ideas have been pursued by universities, research laboratories and robot manufacturers. We will address the fundamental issue of safety and propose a theoretical framework to ensure safety when robots and humans share the same work space on the factory floor. 

Bio: Masayoshi Tomizuka received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University, Tokyo, Japan and his Ph. D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in February 1974. In 1974, he joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, where he currently holds the Cheryl and John Neerhout, Jr., Distinguished Professorship Chair. His research interests are optimal and adaptive control, digital control, motion control, and control problems related to robotics and rehabilitation, vehicles and mechatronic systems. He served as Program Director of the Dynamic Systems and Control Program of the National Science Foundation (2002-2004). He has supervised more than 110 PhD students to completion. He served as President of the American Automatic Control Council (AACC) (1998-99), and he chaired the IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) Technical Committee on Mechatronic Systems. He is a Fellow of the ASME, the Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IFAC and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He is the recipient of the J-DSMC Best Paper Award (1995, 2010), the DSCD Outstanding Investigator Award (1996), the Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award (ASME, 1997), the Rufus Oldenburger Medal (ASME, 2002) and the John R. Ragazzini Award (AACC, 2006).


Fuchun Sun, Tsinghua University, China

Cognitive Sensing for Robotic Dexterous Operations

Next-generation intelligent robots will be required to be appropriately equipped with multi-modal information perception and fusion modules for better dexterous operation capability, and hopefully, they will be broken through from the aspects of perception, representation/fusion of cross-modal sensing information and action behavior like human being. In this talk, we will present the developed high-resolution four-modal sensor device which contains micro-vision, tactile/slip sensors and temperature. We also develop a new type of dexterous hand which is equipped with such four-modal device for muscle-like actuation. Some advanced cross-modal information processing approaches such as deep learning and reinforcement learning are proposed to solve the joint representation of visual-tactile fusion and sensing- actuation mapping problems. Finally, we show some experimental demos using the multi-modal experience learning and present some future directions.

Bio: Dr. Fuchun Sun is professor of Department of Computer Science and Technology and President of Academic Committee of the Department, Tsinghua University, deputy director of State Key Lab. of Intelligent Technology & Systems, Beijing, China. His research interests include robotic perception and intelligent control. He has won the Champion of Autonoumous Grasp Challenges in IROS2016.

Dr. Sun is the recipient of the excellent Doctoral Dissertation Prize of China in 2000 by MOE of China and the Choon-Gang Academic Award by Korea in 2003, and was recognized as a Distinguished Young Scholar in 2006 by the Natural Science Foundation of China. He served as an associated editor of IEEE Trans. on Neural Networks during 2006-2010, IEEE Trans. on Fuzzy Systems since 2011 and IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Systems since 2015.


Jean-Paul Laumond, LAAS-CNRS, France

Bipedal Walking: A Pluridisciplinary Perspective

The talk reports on a research action exploring the motor synergies of anthropomorphic walking. By combining biomechanical, neurophysiology, and robotics perspectives, it is intended to better understand human locomotion with the ambition to better design bipedal robot architectures. The motivation of the research starts from the simple observation that humans may stumble when following a simple reflex-based locomotion on uneven terrains. The rationale combines two well established results in robotics and neuroscience, respectively:  first, passive robot walkers, which are very efficient in terms of energy consumption, can be modeled by a simple rotating rimless wheel;  second, humans and animals stabilize their head when moving. The seminal hypothesis is then to consider a wheel equipped with a stabilized mass on top of it as a plausible model of bipedal walking, the so-called Yoyo-Man. We will see recent results supporting this hypothesis. These results open new perspectives to explore the computational foundations of anthropomorphic walking and to design new humanoid robots. 

Bio: Jean-Paul Laumond, IEEE Fellow, is a roboticist. He is Directeur de Recherche at LAAS-CNRS in Toulouse, France. He received the M.S. degree in Mathematics, the Ph.D. in Robotics and the Habilitation from the University Paul Sabatier at Toulouse in 1976, 1984 and 1989 respectively. From 1976 to 1983 he was teacher in Mathematics. He joined CNRS in 1985. In Fall 1990 he has been invited senior scientist from Stanford University. His research is devoted to robot motion. In 2000 created and managed Kineo CAM, a spin-off company from LAAS-CNRS devoted to develop and market motion planning technology. The company was awarded the third IEEE-IFR prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation in 2005. Siemens acquired Kineo CAM in 2012. In 2006, Laumond launched the research team Gepetto dedicated to Human Motion studies along three perspectives: artificial motion for humanoid robots, virtual motion for digital actors and mannequins, and natural motions of human beings. His current project Actanthrope is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) and devoted to the computational foundations of anthropomorphic action. He teaches Robotics at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. He has published more than 150 papers in international journals and conferences in Robotics, Computer Science, Automatic Control and Neurosciences. He has been the 2011-2012 recipient of the Chaire Innovation technologique Liliane Bettencourt at Collège de France in Paris. He is a member of the French Academy of Technologies. He is the 2016 recipient of the IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production.


Gregory Chirikjian, Johns Hopkins University, USA

Ten Technologies That Will Change Robotics, and the World, Forever

Breakthroughs in hardware miniaturization driven by the large markets for computers, cameras, and phones are impacting the field of robotics in very positive ways. Moreover, algorithms for handling the resulting `big data' are making impressive progress. This talk will make some predictions about how the field of robotics will harness these and other emerging technologies, and explore some of the resulting impacts on human society. 

Bio: Gregory S. Chirikjian received undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University in 1988, and the Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1992. Since 1992, he has been on the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, where he has been a full professor since 2001. From 2004-2007 he served as department chair. In 2014-15 he served as one of the program directors for the US National Robotics Initiative and continued to serve the National Science Foundation as an `expert' in 2016. His research interests include snakelike, continuum, and modular reconfigurable robots, applications of group theory in a variety of engineering  disciplines, and the mechanics of biological macromolecules. He is a 1993 National Science Foundation Young Investigator, a 1994 Presidential Faculty Fellow, and a 1996 recipient of the ASME Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal. In 2008 he became a Fellow of the ASME, and in 2010 he became a Fellow of the IEEE. He is the author of more than 250 journal and conference papers and primary author on three books: Engineering Applications of Noncommutative Harmonic Analysis (2001) and Stochastic Models, Information Theory, and Lie Groups, Vols. 1+2. (2009,2011). In 2016 and expanded edition of his 2001 book came out as a Dover book under the new title: Harmonic Analysis for Engineers and Applied Scientists. 


Michael McCarthy, University of California, Irvine, USA

Design of Robotic Systems to Trace Specified Curves

This talks examines design techniques for mechanical systems that trace specified curves such as the foot movement for walking robots or the wing tip trajectory for flying robots. We consider the design of four-bar and six-bar linkages that control serial chains to trace these curves. Then we show that mechanical Fourier synthesis can be used to draw a wide range of curves. And finally, we present a system of mechanically coupled serial chains that can be configured to sign your name with a single actuator.

Bio: J. Michael McCarthy is the Director of UCI’s Performance Engineering Program, having completed a eight year term as the Henry Samueli Professor and Director of the Center for Engineering Science in Design at the University of California, Irvine, which supports the design and execution of team engineering projects across the School of Engineering.

He received his Ph.D. at Stanford University, and has taught at Loyola Marymount University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining UCI in 1986.  He has over 200 publications and five books including The Geometric Design of Linkages (Springer 2000, 2nd Ed. 2010). He has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design (2002-2007) and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics (2007-2014).

His research team is responsible for the Sphinx, Synthetica and MecGen software packages, which extend computer-aided design to spherical and spatial linkage systems and integrate this process with geometric modeling. He has organized and presented tutorials on the design of linkages and robotic systems at ASME and IEEE conferences, including the NSF sponsored 2012 Workshop on 21st Century Kinematics.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and has received the 2009 ASME Machine Design Award, the 2011 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Award, and the 2013 Robert E. Abbott Lifetime Service Award from the Design Engineering Division of ASME International. At the 2015 Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, he and his co-author received the A.T. Yang Memorial Award in Theoretical Kinematics for their paper on the design of a linkage system that reproduces the flapping motion of a bird in flight.


Feng Gao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Design and Application of Parallel-Parallel 6-Legged Robots

Research on walking robots has been one of key topics in robotics for a long time. In recent years, many legged robots were developed in the world, which of them achieved great progress and received much attention from the robotic field. For the control of legged robots, one of the most important challenging issues is the human robot Interaction for the real time control of the legged robots. This talk will introduce our research on both mechanism design and real time control for the parallel-parallel 6-legged robots related to the human robot Interaction, which include the following issues: design process of type synthesis for legged robots by GF set theory, real-time operating system for legged robots, hexapod robot with 500kg payload, hexapod robot with safe riding capability, walking based on force sensing without force sensors, obstacle avoidance with both vision and F/T sensor, walking upstairs by vision & downstairs by terrain memory, human-robot interactive assembly based on F/T sensor, manufacturing based on F/T sensor, locked door opening based on F/T sensor for legged robots, and so on.

Bio: Feng Gao was born on Dec. 21, 1956 in Jiujiang City of Jiangxi Provence, P. R. of China. He got his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1991 and his Master in mechanical engineering from the Northeast Heavy Machinery Institute, China in 1982. From 1976 to 1979, he was a student in mechanical engineering at the Northeast Heavy Machinery Institute, China. From 1995 to 1997, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

He has been serving as an Associate Editor of Mechanism and Machine Theory and the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics since 2008 and the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design since 2012, and the General Member of the ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Committee since 2012. He gave the Keynote Speeches on the conferences of the ASME 2012 and IFToMM 2015, respectively. He won the 2013 China National Natural Science Award because of his contributions in parallel mechanism design and the 8 items of awards from the provincial science and technology invention prizes in China. 2014. Dr. Gao won 2014 ASME Leonardo Da Vinci Award for his invention of parallel manipulators.

His chief research domain is the parallel robots. The major achievements obtained include the design theory, invention and application of the parallel robots. In the theory aspect, he proposed the GF Set Theory for the type synthesis of parallel robotic mechanisms, the evaluating performance criteria and the physical model of the solution space for dimensional designing of parallel robotic mechanisms. In the application aspect, he Invented and Designed many kinds of the robots and machines with parallel mechanisms for heavy load applications He published 3 books and 288 papers. The 96 invention patents of China were authorized.


Myron Diftler, NASA Johnson Space Center, USA

Robotic Technology Efforts at the NASA/Johnson Space Center

The NASA/Johnson Space Center has been developing robotic systems in support of space exploration for more than two decades. The goal of the Center’s Robotic Systems Technology Branch is to design and build hardware and software to assist astronauts in performing their mission. These systems include: rovers, humanoid robots, inspection devices and wearable robotics. Inspection systems provide external views of space vehicles to search for surface damage and also maneuver inside restricted areas to verify proper connections. New concepts in human and robotic rovers offer solutions for navigating difficult terrain expected in future planetary missions. An important objective for humanoid robots is to relieve the crew of “dull, dirty or dangerous” tasks, allowing them more time to perform their important science and exploration missions. Wearable robotics one of the Center’s newest development areas can provide crew with low mass exercise capability and also augment an astronaut’s strength while wearing a space suit.

This talk will describe the robotic technology and prototypes developed at the Johnson Space Center that are the basis for future flight systems. An overview of inspection robots will show their operation on the ground and in-orbit. Rovers with independent wheel modules, crab steering, and active suspension are able to climb over large obstacles, and nimbly maneuver around others. Humanoid robots, including the First Humanoid Robot in Space: Robonaut 2, demonstrate capabilities that will lead to robotic caretakers for human habitats in space, and on Mars. The Center’s Wearable Robotics Lab supports work in assistive and sensing devices, including exoskeletons, force measuring shoes, and grasp assist gloves.

Bio: Dr. Diftler currently serves as the Chief of the Robotic Systems Technology Branch at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). He is responsible for projects in the areas of: Humanoid Robotics, Wearable Robotics, and Mobility Systems. Dr. Diftler led the development of the Robonaut 2 (R2) humanoid robot project in collaboration with General Motors which resulted in an R2 unit undergoing testing on the International Space Station. In addition to collaboration with GM, Dr. Diftler led his team through previous collaborations with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern California, Rice University, and the Institute for Human-Machine Cognition.

Dr. Diftler holds a B.S.E. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Yale University and a Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering from Rice University. His research interests include humanoid robotics, dexterous manipulation, impedance control and human augmentation. Dr. Diftler has published more than 50 peer reviewed technical papers in robotic systems and helicopter dynamics.  He has 11 patents currently in process or awarded in the field of robotics including several on robot hand technology.  Dr. Diftler is a recipient of a 2012 Service to America Finalist Medal, a 2009 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award, a 2005 IEEE Humanoids Conference Best Paper Award, and a 2004 NASA Public Service Medal.