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Team CoSTAR Takes First Place in Underground Robot Competition

02-27-20

A team including Caltech researchers and JPL earned top honors in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. Whether robots are exploring caves on other planets or disaster areas here on Earth, they need to be able to navigate a location and seek out objects of interest without access to GPS or human guidance. The Subterranean Challenge tests this kind of cutting-edge technology. "One of the two courses we had to run had multiple levels, so it was great that the Boston Dynamics robots were fantastic on stairs," says Joel Burdick, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering and JPL research scientist, and the leader of the Caltech campus section of the CoSTAR team. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MCE Joel Burdick

Robots Compete Underground in DARPA Challenge

12-06-19

A robot named Balto designed and built by undergraduate students at Caltech working with graduate students at Caltech and JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, took to the field in the first phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Subterranean (SubT) Challenge this summer, where the Caltech-JPL team took second place. The SubT Challenge is an international competition sponsored by DARPA to advance technologies to autonomously map, navigate, and search underground environments. Professor Joel Burdick, the leader of the Caltech section of the CoSTAR team says "The drones are our air-based scouts, and Balto is our eyes and ears on the ground. It's light, cheap, and fast. It can get in, find out what's going on, and help us to make decisions about how to proceed." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MCE Joel Burdick

A Promising Step in Returning Bipedal Mobility

08-19-19

Professors Aaron Ames and Joel Burdick have launched a new research initiative, RoAMS (Robotic Assisted Mobility Science), aimed at restoring natural and stable locomotion to individuals with walking deficiencies that result from spinal cord injuries and strokes. RoAMS unites robotic assistive devices—including exoskeletons and prostheses—with artificial intelligence (AI)-infused neurocontrol. "Bipedal walking is difficult to achieve in a stable fashion," says Professor Ames. "While crutches help users of the exoskeletons to stay upright, they undercut many of the health benefits that upright locomotion might otherwise provide. In addition, they do not allow users to do anything else with their hands while walking." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MedE Yu-Chong Tai MCE CMS Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Aaron Ames

Alexandra Bodrova Receives 2019 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-21-19

Mechanical engineering student Alexandra Bodrova, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, is a recipient of the 2019 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is passionate about robotics autonomy and its applications to extreme condition situation handling where human lives might be in danger. This summer she will be doing research on an automated charging battery. It would aid drones in conducting rescue missions in collapsed buildings or tunnels. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Joel Burdick Alexandra Bodrova

Terry Suh Receives 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-29-18

Mechanical engineering student Hyung Ju (Terry) Suh, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He has broad interests in robotics including manipulation, perception, navigation, localization, and intelligence. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Joel Burdick Hyung Ju (Terry) Suh

Ida Qin Receives 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-11-18

Mechanical engineering student Yidan (Ida) Qin, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is interested in robotics and machine learning and is developing innovative rehabilitation treatment plans for patients with spinal cord injury using machine learning techniques and the control of bipedal robots inspired by them. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record in their discipline.

Tags: honors MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Joel Burdick Yidan (Ida) Qin

Meet the 2017 Amazon Fellows

02-23-18

Four graduate students from the Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department and one from the Electrical Engineering (EE) Department have been selected as 2017 Amazon Fellows. This fellows program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The EE fellow is Srikanth Tenneti who is exploring the potential of deep learning for Direction of Arrival applications, and extending Ramanujan Sums based techniques for multi-dimensional periodicity extraction. CMS graduate student Navid Azizan Ruhi is researching faster optimization algorithms for machine learning.  He is looking forward to visiting Amazon AI as a fellow and exchanging ideas with their researchers. Computer science graduate student Hoang Le is developing methods for efficient and intelligent sequential decision making in realistic systems. Florian Schaefer, whose focus is applied and computational mathematics, is researching the interface of statistical estimation and the design of fast algorithms. Control and dynamical systems graduate student Ellen Feldman, working with Professor Joel Burdick, has used part of the funding to present her research at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and looking forward to other future opportunities to share her research. 

Tags: EE honors CMS P. P. Vaidyanathan Babak Hassibi Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Navid Azizan Ruhi Hoang Le Ellen Feldman Florian Schaefer Srikanth Tenneti Houman Owhadi

Kun ho (John) Kim Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-09-17

Computer science and mechanical engineering student Kun ho (John) Kim is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. John is working with Professors Burdick and Perona to develop novel machine learning methods for medical applications and crowd sourced data mining. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Pietro Perona Joel Burdick Kun ho (John) Kim

Avinash Agrawal Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-09-17

Electrical engineering student Avinash Agrawal, working with Professors Burdick and Low, is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Avinash is aiming to produce robot visualizations and simulations for a spherical robot. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: EE honors Henry Ford II Scholar Award Steven Low Joel Burdick Avinash Agrawal

Modular Space Telescope Could Be Assembled By Robot

09-28-16

Professor Sergio Pellegrino and colleagues including Professor Joel Burdick, are proposing a space observatory with a 100 meters diameter primary mirror. Their design calls for the use of more than 300 deployable truss modules that could be unfolded to form a scaffolding upon which a commensurate number of small mirror plates could be placed to create a large segmented mirror. In this concept, a spider-like, six-armed "hexbot" would assemble the trusswork and then crawl across the structure to build the mirror atop it. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino Joel Burdick