VIP Visitors

We had a wonderful visit from the residents of Notre Dame duLac Assisted Living. It was great to be challenged by 12 open-minded senior citizens about our NSF-funded work on personal assistance robots. We also visited RAIL lab and Professor Sonia Chernova talked about her research on robot learning.


STEM Saturdays @WPI

It was great to share our vision for realizing Cyber-physical systems for Advanced Response to Epidemics (CARE) with the STEM Saturdays participants, this morning. Thank you parents for all the engaging discussions as your middle-schoolers worked on their projects. We also thank WPI’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for their invitation.


$200k funds Medical CPS for Ebola Response

PI’s Taskin Padir, Sonia Chernova, Jeanine Skorinko, and Michael Gennert have received funding to develop medical cyber-physical systems that can aid in responding to infectious disease outbreaks, such as Ebola. The project titled RAPID: Realization of a Medical Cyber-Physical System to Enhance Safety of Ebola Workers is funded for 1 year at $200k. The project details are below.

Award Abstract
Motivated by the fact that the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and there is a pressing need to understand how to improve delivery of care with the right technological interventions at the right place, this Rapid Response Research is aimed at realizing a human-in-the-loop medical cyber-physical system (CPS) for monitoring patients, insuring compliance with relevant safety protocols, and collecting data for advancing multidisciplinary research on infectious disease control. The ultimate goal is to enhance safety of Ebola workers by minimizing their contact with potentially contaminated surfaces and materials through integration of methods and technologies to realize smart and connected treatment clinics. This project could impact the response to infectious disease outbreaks by augmenting existing treatment clinics with cost-effective, modular, reconfigurable and
 open-design CPS technologies. The project will train a new cadre of engineering students, researchers and innovators to be 
sensitive to societal needs and national priorities by involving K-Gray, undergraduate and graduate students in all aspects of the project, especially at the co-ideation and co-design stages. The project will bring together a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, technologists, medical experts, and humanitarian aid workers to develop holistic solutions to infectious disease control. The broader impacts also include operational cost savings in treatment clinics by reducing the need and use of the personal protective equipment and preserve resources such as water by reducing consumption.

In order to prevent, detect and respond to current Ebola outbreak and future similar infectious disease outbreaks, this research plan has the following interconnected aims: (1) contribute new knowledge, methods, and tools to better understand the operational procedures in an infectious disease treatment clinic, (2) design, implement and validate a treatment ward augmented with a medical CPS for patient monitoring, (3) apply intuitive control interfaces and data visualization tools for practical human-robot interaction, (4) realize traded, coordinated and collaborative shared control techniques for safe and effective mobile robot navigation inside a treatment facility, (5) assess acceptability and effectiveness of the technology among health care workers and patients. The team will develop a self-contained, modular and reconfigurable system composed of a connected sensor network for patient monitoring and a mobile robot platform for telemedicine that will primarily focus on the interoperability and integration of existing standardized 
hardware and software systems to realize a testbed for verification and validation of a medical CPS. Medical, emergency response and humanitarian aid experts will be engaged to critically assess user-experiences and acceptability among medical staff to develop pathways for fielding the system in a treatment clinic. This RAPID project will lead the way in designing the next generation of human-in-the-loop medical CPS for empowering health care workers worldwide in treating patients during infectious disease outbreaks.

IEEE Aerospace Conference 2015

RIVeR Lab will be presenting a paper at the IEEE Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Montana, held Mar 7-14, 2015. The paper will be available on IEEE Xplore soon after the conference.

Realization of Vision-Based Navigation and Object Recognition Algorithms for the SRR Challenge
Velin Dimitrov, Mitchell Wills, and Taskin Padir

Madison Room, 9:50pm, Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015

Human Augmentation and Army Vision 2025

We participated in the US Army NSRDEC Roundtable Discussion on Human Augmentation and Army Vision 2025. This invitation-only event was a gathering to brainstorm a number of topics related to Human Augmentation capability to assist the Army in achieving Vision 2025. The event goals included: (i) Given the state of the market, and proximity to commercialization, identify 3-5 engineering priorities, (ii) Identify science and technology gaps, (iii) Identify technology transition gaps to effectively transitioning technologies to the field within the next 3-8 years, (iv) Identify consumer perception of the utility of the human augmentation capability in achieving vision 2025 goals, (v) Foster dialogue between government, industry and academia – researchers, stakeholders, users, developers, academics.

NERVE Center at UMass Lowell did a great job with the organization. Event website.


Making a Maker Network

Today’s workshop on Designing a Robust and Sustainable Higher Education Maker Network organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy generated very exciting ideas and directions for the maker movement. A few of these include forming a MakerHive to coordinate the movement for broadening the impact, and engaging the makers around social media. We were in great company of the Nation’s leading makers. We are now forming a task force to prepare WPI’s MakeSchools Profile. Stay tuned…


Journal of Field Robotics

We are pleased to announce that our submission to the Journal of Field Robotics has been accepted for publication.

Human-in-the-Loop Control of a Humanoid Robot for Disaster Response: A Report from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials
Mathew DeDonato, Velin Dimitrov, Ruixiang Du, Ryan Giovacchini, Kevin Knoedler, Xianchao Long, Felipe Polido, Michael A. Gennert, Taskin Padir, Siyuan Feng, Hirotaka Moriguchi, Eric Whitman, X Xinjilefu, Chritopher G. Atkeson