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2018


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Instrumentation, Data, and Algorithms for Visually Understanding Haptic Surface Properties

Burka, A. L.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, August 2018, Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering (phdthesis)

Abstract
Autonomous robots need to efficiently walk over varied surfaces and grasp diverse objects. We hypothesize that the association between how such surfaces look and how they physically feel during contact can be learned from a database of matched haptic and visual data recorded from various end-effectors' interactions with hundreds of real-world surfaces. Testing this hypothesis required the creation of a new multimodal sensing apparatus, the collection of a large multimodal dataset, and development of a machine-learning pipeline. This thesis begins by describing the design and construction of the Portable Robotic Optical/Tactile ObservatioN PACKage (PROTONPACK, or Proton for short), an untethered handheld sensing device that emulates the capabilities of the human senses of vision and touch. Its sensory modalities include RGBD vision, egomotion, contact force, and contact vibration. Three interchangeable end-effectors (a steel tooling ball, an OptoForce three-axis force sensor, and a SynTouch BioTac artificial fingertip) allow for different material properties at the contact point and provide additional tactile data. We then detail the calibration process for the motion and force sensing systems, as well as several proof-of-concept surface discrimination experiments that demonstrate the reliability of the device and the utility of the data it collects. This thesis then presents a large-scale dataset of multimodal surface interaction recordings, including 357 unique surfaces such as furniture, fabrics, outdoor fixtures, and items from several private and public material sample collections. Each surface was touched with one, two, or three end-effectors, comprising approximately one minute per end-effector of tapping and dragging at various forces and speeds. We hope that the larger community of robotics researchers will find broad applications for the published dataset. Lastly, we demonstrate an algorithm that learns to estimate haptic surface properties given visual input. Surfaces were rated on hardness, roughness, stickiness, and temperature by the human experimenter and by a pool of purely visual observers. Then we trained an algorithm to perform the same task as well as infer quantitative properties calculated from the haptic data. Overall, the task of predicting haptic properties from vision alone proved difficult for both humans and computers, but a hybrid algorithm using a deep neural network and a support vector machine achieved a correlation between expected and actual regression output between approximately ρ = 0.3 and ρ = 0.5 on previously unseen surfaces.

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Project Page [BibTex]

2018


Project Page [BibTex]


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Robust Visual Augmented Reality in Robot-Assisted Surgery

Forte, M. P.

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, July 2018, Department of Electronic, Information, and Biomedical Engineering (mastersthesis)

Abstract
The broader research objective of this line of research is to test the hypothesis that real-time stereo video analysis and augmented reality can increase safety and task efficiency in robot-assisted surgery. This master’s thesis aims to solve the first step needed to achieve this goal: the creation of a robust system that delivers the envisioned feedback to a surgeon while he or she controls a surgical robot that is identical to those used on human patients. Several approaches for applying augmented reality to da Vinci Surgical Systems have been proposed, but none of them entirely rely on a clinical robot; specifically, they require additional sensors, depend on access to the da Vinci API, are designed for a very specific task, or were tested on systems that are starkly different from those in clinical use. There has also been prior work that presents the real-world camera view and the computer graphics on separate screens, or not in real time. In other scenarios, the digital information is overlaid manually by the surgeons themselves or by computer scientists, rather than being generated automatically in response to the surgeon’s actions. We attempted to overcome the aforementioned constraints by acquiring input signals from the da Vinci stereo endoscope and providing augmented reality to the console in real time (less than 150 ms delay, including the 62 ms of inherent latency of the da Vinci). The potential benefits of the resulting system are broad because it was built to be general, rather than customized for any specific task. The entire platform is compatible with any generation of the da Vinci System and does not require a dVRK (da Vinci Research Kit) or access to the API. Thus, it can be applied to existing da Vinci Systems in operating rooms around the world.

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Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2018 04 18 at 11.01.27 am
Learning from Outside the Viability Kernel: Why we Should Build Robots that can Fail with Grace

Heim, S., Sproewitz, A.

Proceedings of SIMPAR 2018, pages: 55-61, IEEE, 2018 IEEE International Conference on Simulation, Modeling, and Programming for Autonomous Robots (SIMPAR), May 2018 (conference)

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link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2018 02 03 at 9.09.06 am
Shaping in Practice: Training Wheels to Learn Fast Hopping Directly in Hardware

Heim, S., Ruppert, F., Sarvestani, A., Sproewitz, A.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2018, pages: 5076-5081, IEEE, International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2018 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Learning instead of designing robot controllers can greatly reduce engineering effort required, while also emphasizing robustness. Despite considerable progress in simulation, applying learning directly in hardware is still challenging, in part due to the necessity to explore potentially unstable parameters. We explore the of concept shaping the reward landscape with training wheels; temporary modifications of the physical hardware that facilitate learning. We demonstrate the concept with a robot leg mounted on a boom learning to hop fast. This proof of concept embodies typical challenges such as instability and contact, while being simple enough to empirically map out and visualize the reward landscape. Based on our results we propose three criteria for designing effective training wheels for learning in robotics.

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Video Youtube link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

Video Youtube link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Enhanced Non-Steady Gliding Performance of the MultiMo-Bat through Optimal Airfoil Configuration and Control Strategy

Kim, H., Woodward, M. A., Sitti, M.

In 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pages: 1382-1388, 2018 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Collectives of Spinning Mobile Microrobots for Navigation and Object Manipulation at the Air-Water Interface

Wang, W., Kishore, V., Koens, L., Lauga, E., Sitti, M.

In 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pages: 1-9, 2018 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Endo-VMFuseNet: A Deep Visual-Magnetic Sensor Fusion Approach for Endoscopic Capsule Robots

Turan, M., Almalioglu, Y., Gilbert, H. B., Sari, A. E., Soylu, U., Sitti, M.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1-7, 2018 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Endosensorfusion: Particle filtering-based multi-sensory data fusion with switching state-space model for endoscopic capsule robots

Turan, M., Almalioglu, Y., Gilbert, H., Araujo, H., Cemgil, T., Sitti, M.

In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1-8, 2018 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2003


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High aspect ratio polymer micro/nano-structure manufacturing using nanoembossing, nanomolding and directed self-assembly

Sitti, M.

In ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, pages: 293-297, 2003 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

2003


[BibTex]


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Nsf workshop on future directions in nano-scale systems, dynamics and control

Sitti, M.

In Automatic Control Conference (ACC), 2003 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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3-D nano-fiber manufacturing by controlled pulling of liquid polymers using nano-probes

Nain, A. S., Sitti, M.

In Nanotechnology, 2003. IEEE-NANO 2003. 2003 Third IEEE Conference on, 1, pages: 60-63, 2003 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Manufacturing of two and three-dimensional micro/nanostructures by integrating optical tweezers with chemical assembly

Castelino, K., Satyanarayana, S., Sitti, M.

In Nanotechnology, 2003. IEEE-NANO 2003. 2003 Third IEEE Conference on, 1, pages: 56-59, 2003 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Synthetic gecko foot-hair micro/nano-structures for future wall-climbing robots

Sitti, M., Fearing, R. S.

In Robotics and Automation, 2003. Proceedings. ICRA’03. IEEE International Conference on, 1, pages: 1164-1170, 2003 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Biomimetic propulsion for a swimming surgical micro-robot

Edd, J., Payen, S., Rubinsky, B., Stoller, M. L., Sitti, M.

In Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2003.(IROS 2003). Proceedings. 2003 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on, 3, pages: 2583-2588, 2003 (inproceedings)

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Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]

1998


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Nano tele-manipulation using virtual reality interface

Sitti, M., Horiguchi, S., Hashimoto, H.

In Industrial Electronics, 1998. Proceedings. ISIE’98. IEEE International Symposium on, 1, pages: 171-176, 1998 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

1998


[BibTex]


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Tele-nanorobotics using atomic force microscope

Sitti, M., Hashimoto, H.

In Intelligent Robots and Systems, 1998. Proceedings., 1998 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on, 3, pages: 1739-1746, 1998 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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2D micro particle assembly using atomic force microscope

Sitti, M., Hirahara, K., Hashimoto, H.

In Micromechatronics and Human Science, 1998. MHS’98. Proceedings of the 1998 International Symposium on, pages: 143-148, 1998 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Macro to nano tele-manipulation through nanoelectromechanical systems

Sitti, M., Hashimoto, H.

In Industrial Electronics Society, 1998. IECON’98. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the IEEE, 1, pages: 98-103, 1998 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]