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Seminar - Dennis Hong Feb 20
A seminar will take place in the Nano building, Rooms 116-118, at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Lunch will be provided.
From Odin to DARwIn: Robot Evolution by Intelligent Design
Most mobile robots we see today utilize wheels or treads to move around. But why don’t we see such locomotion mechanisms in nature? Or a better question we should ask is: why don’t we use locomotion mechanisms used in nature for creating robots? Animals move in various ways; crawling, walking, jumping, and undulating to name a few. Inspired by biology, when and how should we apply these concepts to create robots with higher mobility? Bioinspiration does not mean simply copying ideas from nature, but rather learning the mechanisms behind it and being inspired by them to create novel concepts and solutions that go even beyond what we see in nature. In this talk, we present several biologically inspired mobile robots developed at RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) between 2004 and 2012, including a unique everting robot inspired by the motility mechanisms of amoebae, a rock climbing robot that uses matching behavior, an actuated spoke wheel system for unstructured environments, a hexapod crawler with dry adhesive feet for zero gravity space applications, an autonomous wheeled vehicle that can drive itself in the urban environment, a novel three legged robot that walks more like a human, a scaffolding climbing serpentine robot that rolls up to move, and autonomous bipedal humanoid robots that can even play a game of soccer. The ability of robots created with bioinspiration can go even beyond that of animals in nature.
Dr. Dennis Hong, a TED alumnus, is an Associate Professor and the Founding Director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on robot locomotion and manipulation, autonomous vehicles and humanoid robots. He is the inventor of a number of novel robots and mechanisms, including the 'whole skin locomotion' for mobile robots inspired by how amoeba move, a unique three-legged waking robot STriDER, an air-powered robotic hand RAPHaEL, and the world's first car that can be driven by the blind. His work has been featured on numerous national and international media. Washington Post magazine called Dr. Hong "the Leonardo da Vinci of robots." Dr. Hong has been named to Popular Science's 8th annual "Brilliant 10", honoring top scientists younger than 40 years of age from across the United States, "Forward Under 40" by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Association, and also honored as "Top 40 Under 40" alumni by Purdue University. Hong's other past awards include the National Science Foundation's CAREER award, the SAE International's Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, and the ASME Freudenstein / GM Young Investigator Award to name a few. Dr. Hong also actively leads student teams for various international robotics and design competitions winning numerous top prizes including the DARPA Urban Challenge where they won third place and the $500,000 prize, and the RoboCup, the international autonomous robot soccer competition where his team won First Place in both the Kid-Size and Adult-Size Humanoid divisions and brought the Louis Vuitton Cup Best Humanoid Award to the United States for the very first time.