Dynamic Reconfiguration for Versatile Mobile Performance

Sandia National Laboratories’ Anirban Mazumdar presents “Dynamic Reconfiguration for Versatile Mobile Performance.” The event will be held in the MRDC Building, Room 4211, from 3-4 p.m.


Mobile robots can transform how society addresses important challenges including disaster response, infrastructure inspection, and public safety. However, many mobile systems cannot yet live up to this promise. Robots designed for high performance in one environment are frequently unable to maintain mobility, energy efficiency, and performance in a new or dynamic setting. Systems that can reconfigure have the potential to function effectively in unstructured environments by changing their gearing, actuation, or controllers to best match the changing conditions. In this talk, I will describe how dynamic reconfiguration can enable versatility, agility, and efficiency in mobile robots. I will explore three case study examples from my past research: 1) Multi-modal mobility for steel bridge inspection, 2) Underwater maneuverability in complex environments, and 3) Energy efficient legged locomotion. Specific accomplishments include novel pump-valve underwater propulsion systems, as well as variable and contact based mechanisms for walking robots. The talk will conclude with an overview of my vision for how dynamic reconfiguration can enhance the future of mobile robotics through the development of new drivetrains, emulation of multi-scale biological behaviors, and synergistic human-machine teaming.


Sam Burden earned his B.S. with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014, where he subsequently spent one year as a postdoctoral scholar. In 2015, he returned to UW EE as an assistant professor; in 2016, he received a Young Investigator award from the Army Research Office (ARO-YIP). Burden is broadly interested in discovering and formalizing principles of sensorimotor control. Specifically, he focuses on applications in dynamic and dexterous robotics, neuromechanical motor control, and human-cyber-physical systems. In his spare time, he teaches robotics to students of all ages in classrooms and campus events.

Event Details


  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: MRDC Building, Room 4211

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