Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771
Monday, October 21, 2002 / 3:30 PM, Building 3 Auditorium
Mark Yim"Modular Robots - Changing Their Shape to Get the Job Done"
ABSTRACT -- Modular Reconfigurable Robots are robots built from many copies of a few simple module types (similar to Lego bricks, or cells in mammals). They have the ability to be arranged into many different shapes -- for example, a snake or a person or a blob. These systems show promise of great versatility, robustness and low cost. A modular robot that can reconfigure itself -- change its shape by moving its modules around -- can remove failing modules and meet the demands of changing tasks and environments. However, to make this realizable there are many computational and manufacturing issues that must be addressed. We will show progress on several modular reconfigurable robot systems developed at the Palo Alto Research Center, and present some of the issues involved in configuring their shape and applying them to tasks such as search and rescue. These tasks are rich in interesting problems, including: motion planning in unstructured environments, distributed computation and control, robust control, and computational geometry, among many others. http://www.parc.com/modrobots (a non-NASA link)
SPEAKER -- Mark Yim is a senior member of the research staff. He is manager of the Smart Electro-Mechanical Systems Area at the Palo Alto Research Center (formerly Xerox PARC) and leads a project on modular, reconfigurable robot systems. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1994 and has published in the areas of planning, distributed robotics, robots for search and rescue, optimal control, robotics in education, virtual reality, and haptics. Dr. Yim has authored over 40 patents and in 1999 was chosen for the TR100, the top 100 young innovators by Technology Review Magazine. His work on MEMS and robotics has been featured in a variety of popular press (New York Times, MSNBC, ABC and CBS News, USA Today, and various other local and international news media and, strangely enough, a woman's fashion magazine.) .
Colloquium Committee Sponsor: Michael Johnson, GSFC, 301-286-3170
Next Week: "Engineering Thought: Oxymoron or Highest Calling -- Do women know something men don't?", Domenico Grasso, Smith College
Engineering Colloquium home page: http://ecolloq.gsfc.nasa.gov