RAHA 2016  brings together top researchers, practitioners, and experts from the field of robotics for humanitarian applications. The conference will host 6 plenary and 16 keynote speakers from top universities and industry.

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PLENARY SPEAKERS
Speaker Name Talk Title
Ronald Arkin Civilized Collaboration: Ethical architectures for enforcing legal requirements and mediating social norms in HRI

Archived Talk: https://youtu.be/IpCEVmx0IFw

Vijay P. Bhatkar
Jeffrey Sachs
Bradley Nelson Medical Robotics and its Potential Impact on Surgery in Developing Countries
Hajime Asama Utilization of Robot & Remote-Controlled Machine Technology for Accident Response and Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Speaker Name Talk Title
Meg Jones Inclusive Solutions: What’s the real problem?
Sunil Agrawal Robotics for Training of Human Movement
Subir Kumar Saha R2 : Robotics to Rural
Bernardine Dias Prioritizing Humans in Humanitarian Technology Applications
Taskin Padir RARE: Robotics for Advanced Response to Epidemics
Mike Richards Humans, Drones and Humanity
Paul F.M.J. Verschure Living Machines for a Dignified Society: A Report from the Front Line
Asokan Thondiyath Design and Control of Variable Buoyancy Modules for Selective Underwater Deployment for Surveillance, Search, and Rescue Missions
Brent Gillespie The Virtual Teacher: Who is the Real Learner?
Ashish Dutta Design and Control of Hand Exoskeletons
Alaa Khamis Humanitarian Robotics: Minefield Reconnaissance and Mapping
Hervé Le Treut Adaptation to climate change: the potential use of data from multi-model simulation exercises
Balakrishnan Shankar

PLENARY SPEAKERS

Ronald Arkin

Regents’ Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech

Talk Title: Civilized Collaboration: Ethical architectures for enforcing legal requirements and mediating social norms in HRI

Ronald Arkin

About the Speaker:

RONALD C. ARKIN is Regents’ Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. He served as STINT visiting Professor at KTH in Stockholm, Sabbatical Chair at the Sony IDL in Tokyo, and in the Robotics and AI Group at LAAS/CNRS in Toulouse. Dr. Arkin’s research interests include behavior-based control and action-oriented perception for mobile robots and UAVs, deliberative/reactive architectures, robot survivability, multiagent robotics, biorobotics, human-robot interaction, robot ethics, and learning in autonomous systems. Prof. Arkin served on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) AdCom, and is a founding co-chair of IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Robot Ethics. He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology and a Fellow of the IEEE.  [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

The ways in which we treat each other, typically underpinned by an ethical theory, serve as a foundation for civilized activity. Bounds and requirements are established for normal and acceptable interactions between humans. If we are to create robotic systems to reside among us, they must also adhere to a set of related values that humans operate under.  This talk first describes the importance of such conventions in human-robot interaction, then outlines a way forward including the difficult research questions remaining to be confronted in ethical human robot interaction (HRI). In particular, examples involving architectures using ethical governors, moral emotions, responsibility advisors and theories of mind are described in two quite different contexts: warfare and the maintenance of human dignity in healthcare.Even the role of deception must be considered as an important adjunct to HRI, as it may yield more effective intentional and autonomous social robots if properly deployed. Finally, we can consider how robots may eventually be able to engineer more socially just human beings via nudging and the ethical questions associated with using such devices.
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Vijay P. Bhatkar

Padma Bhushan Awardee, Founding Director of CDAC and Chancellor of India International Multiversity
Vijay Bhatkar

About the Speaker: 

Dr. Vijay Bhatkar is one of the most acclaimed scientists and IT leaders of India. He is best known as the architect of India’s first supercomputer and as the founder Executive Director of C-DAC, India’s national initiative in supercomputing. He developed the first Indian supercomputer, the Param 8000, in 1991 and then later the Param 10000 in 1998. Based on the Param series of supercomputers, he built the National Param Supercomputing Facility (NPSF) which has been now made available as a grid computing facility on the National Knowledge Network (NKN) providing nationwide access to High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure. Currently, Bhatkar is working on exascale supercomputing via the Capability, Capacity and Infrastructure on National Knowledge Network.

He has been awarded the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, the Maharashtra Bhushan Award, the Jindal Prize in 2012 for science and technology in the service of society. He received with the Saint Jnaneshwar World Peace Prize in 2010 from the World Peace Center and the Sitaram Jindal Foundation Award-2012 for applying the science and technology to grassroot level. Vijay Bhatkar is the previous Chairman of Board of Governors of IIT-Delhi, and current Chairman of ETH (Education To Home) Research Lab, Chairman of the Board of Management of Government College of Engineering, Amravati, Founder Chancellor and Chief Mentor of Multiversity, Chancellor of D. Y. Patil University, and National President of Vijnana Bharati, a People’s Science Movement of over 6,000 scientists across India.

On the web
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Jeffrey Sachs

Director of The Earth Institute,  Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University
Jeffery Sachs

About the Speaker:

Jeffrey David Sachs is an American economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank Columbia bestows on its faculty. He is known as one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty.

Sachs is the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and a professor of health policy and management at Columbia’s School of Public Health. He is special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is co-founder and chief strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty and hunger. Previously he was the director of the United Nations Millennium Project’s work on the Millennium Development Goals. He is director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has also served as a commissioner for the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. He is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE).

Sachs has authored three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His most recent book is The Age of Sustainable Development (2015). He was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was awarded the Blue Planet Prize in 2015 for his contributions to solving global environmental problems.

On the web
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Bradley Nelson

Professor, Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich

Talk Title: Medical Robotics and its Potential Impact on Surgery in Developing Countries

Bradley Nelson

About the Speaker:

Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards in the fields of robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of academic departments and research institutes across North America, Europe, and Asia and is on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Prof. Nelson has been the Department Head of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH, Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center, is a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and serves on boards of three Swiss companies. Before moving to Europe, Prof. Nelson worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa. He has also been a professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Abstract of Talk:

To improve the quality-of-life in developing countries a number of factors must be addressed, such as decreasing poverty and hunger and improving healthcare. Improving healthcare often focuses on a few diseases, such as H.I.V., tuberculosis and malaria, which have captured the attention of large funding agencies. One healthcare factor that has received little attention, but that has a tremendous impact on the quality-of-life in developing countries, is access to surgery. While providing this access to regions in which surgery is essentially nonexistent may appear daunting, there are many benefits to be realized. Furthermore, with the growing capabilities of medical robotic technology, and as costs of these systems begin to fall with economies of scale, there is an opportunity to refocus research and development in medical robotics to benefit regions of the world where access to surgery is poor. This talk will provide an overview of the state of surgery in developing countries, what technologies might be used to improve access to surgery, and how research in medical robotics can contribute in the future.

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Hajime Asama

Professor, University of Tokyo

Talk Title: Utilization of Robot & Remote-Controlled Machine Technology for Accident Response and Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

hajime asama

About the Speaker:

Hajime Asama received his B. S., M. S., and Dr. Eng in Engineering from the University of Tokyo. He was Research Associate, Research Scientist, and Senior Research Scientist in RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Japan). He became a professor of RACE (Research into Artifacts, Center for Engineering), the University of Tokyo in 2002, and a professor of School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo in 2009. He received JSME (Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers) Robotics and Mechatronics Division Academic Achievement Award in 2001, RSJ (Robotics Society of Japan) Best paper Award, JSME Robotics and Mechatronics Award in 2009. His main research interests are distributed autonomous robotic systems, ambient intelligence, service engineering, and Mobiligence

He is a vice-president of Robotics Society of Japan. He was an AdCom member of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society from 2007 to 2009, an editor of Journal of International Journal of Intelligent Service Robotics, Journal of Field Robotics, Journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems. He played the director of the Mobiligence (Emergence of adaptive motor function through the body, brain and environment) program in the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas from 2005 to 2009. He is a Fellow of JSME since 2004 and RSJ since 2008. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred in March 11, 2011, and as a result, the accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant occurred. Utilization of remote-controlled machine technology including robot technology (RT) was essential for the response against the accident to accomplish various tasks in the high-radiation environment. In this presentation, it is introduced how the technology has been utilized in the emergent situation of the accident, and what kind of technology is still demanded for decommissioning. It is also analyzed why the robot technology developed in the past projects in Japan could not be introduced smoothly in the emergent situation, and issues are discussed how we should prepare for the future possible disasters and accidents, including not only technological development but also maintenance of technology, training of operators, establishment of mockups and test fields, and political strategy.

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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Meg Jones

Chief, Economic Empowerment Section at UN Women

Talk Title: Inclusive Solutions: What’s the real problem? 

Meg Jones
Chief Economic Empowerment at UN Women

About Speaker:

Meg Jones is Chief of the Economic Empowerment Section at UN Women. Before joining UN Women, she worked as Women and Trade Programme Manager at the International Trade Centre, where she was responsible for the design and implementation of the multiyear, multimillion dollar program to increase the economic benefits women derive from trade. Ms. Jones is the former Deputy Director of the Evian Group at IMD (a trade think tank). She has also worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and served on the Australian delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights. She also has private sector experience gained from working in the financial markets and in management consulting. Meg was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ in 2013 by the Organisation of Women in International Trade; and a ‘World of Difference’ award in 2012 by the International Alliance of Women for her contribution to women’s economic empowerment. Ms. Jones holds a Master of International Studies and a Bachelor of Economics (University of Sydney) having studied in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and the Netherlands. [On the Web]

Abstract of Talk:

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 provides the international community of academics, business, government and civil society leaders with a universally applicable blueprint for balanced economic, social and environmental sustainable development. Whilst the 17 Goals can be read in isolation it is only through a holistic understanding of how progress in one must be planned and implemented to achieve progress on others, critically, ending poverty in all its forms everywhere, that we will achieve the aspirations  by 2030.  Ms. Jones’ remarks connects the seemingly disparate worlds of robotics and automation with achievement of the development goals with a special focus on leaving no one behind, in particular those must vulnerable to humanitarian crises – the women and girls.

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Sunil Agrawal

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University

Talk Title: Robotics for Training of Human Movement 

sunil-agrawal

About Speaker:

Sunil K. Agrawal received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990. He is currently a Professor and Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory at Columbia University. He has published close to 400 journal and conference papers. Dr. Agrawal is a Fellow of the ASME and AIMBE. His honors include a NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House in 1994, a Bessel Prize from Germany in 2003, and a Humboldt US Senior Scientist Award in 2007. He is a recipient of the Best Paper award at the 35th ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2011, a Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference in Robotics and Automation in 2012, and a Best Paper (Honorable Mention) at the 39th ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in 2015. He is a recipient of Machine Design Award from ASME in 2016 for seminal contributions to design of robotic exoskeletons for gait training of stroke patients. He also received Mechanisms and Robotics Award from the ASME in 2016. He has held positions of a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hanyang University in Korea and a Professor of Robotics at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He is currently also a Visiting Professor at the Biorobotics Institute of SSSA in Pisa. He actively serves on editorial boards of conferences and journals published by the ASME, IEEE, and other professional societies. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

Robotics is emerging as a tool for training of human skills and functional movements. Robotics also provides the tools to probe the human neuromuscular system and to study how the human body would respond to simulated external conditions. While traditional robotic exoskeletons are made of rigid links, our group at Columbia University Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory has also designed light-weight cable-driven training devices – TPAD for active control of the pelvis, CAREX and C-ALEX for arm and legs, respectively. The talk will describe both the scientific challenges and human experiments conducted with these designs. These experiments were targeted at movement retraining of young healthy adults, fall prevention of the elderly, gait retraining of stroke patients with hemiparesis.
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Subir Kumar Saha

Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Delhi

Talk Title: R2 : Robotics to Rural

Subir Kumar Saha
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering,  IIT Delhi

About the Speaker:

Prof. Subir Kumar Saha, B.Tech in mechanical engineering from the NIT, Durgapur, India, completed his M. Tech from IIT Kharagpur and Ph. D from McGill University, Canada. He joined Toshiba Corporation’s R&D Center in Japan and with IIT Delhi since 1996. He established the Mechatonics Laboratory at IIT Delhi in 2001. Prof. Saha was awarded the Humboldt Fellowship in 1999 by the AvH Foundation, Germany, and the Naren Gupta Chair Professorship at IIT Delhi in 2010. He has authored books on “Introduction to Robotics” by McGraw-Hill India, two books on multibody dynamics by Springer, and conducted several sponsored projects and consultancies worth INR 5.6 crores (~US$ one million). Prof. Saha has written several books. To make robotics learning fun, a software RoboAnalyzer was developed under his supervision. He has more than 175 research publications in reputed journals/conference proceedings, and delivered more than 150 invited/keynote lectures in India and abroad. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

Prof. Saha will first share his research activities in the area of Robotics. He will then introduce the concept of RoCK-BEE (Robotics Competition Knowledge-based Education in Engineering) with which he will demonstrate how the experiences of designing and building robots by the students for competitions can lead to research and innovation. Later, it will be shown how the knowledge of robotics can be applied/extended to design optimization of many devices and processes used by the rural people in the society, e.g., a carpet loom or a machine to clean it. This aspect is pursued by the speaker under the banner MuDRA or Multibody Dynamics for Rural Applications..
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Bernardine Dias

Founder, Managing Member, and CEO Diyunu Consulting LLC

Talk Title: Prioritizing Humans in Humanitarian Technology Applications

Bernardine Dias 
Associate Research Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University

About the Speaker:

M. Bernardine Dias, Ph.D., is a roboticist and consultant who is committed to technology innovation that serves disadvantaged people around the world. Her principal research objective is to explore the different ways in which we can create computing technology to be culturally appropriate and accessible to underserved communities. She founded and directs the TechBridgeWorld research group that enables technology research relevant to, and in partnership with, underserved communities throughout the globe. Her doctoral dissertation developed the “TraderBots” framework for market-based multirobot coordination in dynamic environments. Her current work in this area explores human-robot teams working under dynamic conditions to achieve complex goals. She also has a strong interest in encouraging women in computing and in science, and is a founding member of, and faculty advisor to graduate women@SCS. Dias also founded and runs a technology consulting company, Diyunu Consulting LLC. She was previously Associate Research Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

Technologists often focus on the technology components in their projects. Humanitarian applications of robotics and automation technology however, often demand a prioritization of the human element for success.  While no two technology applications are the same, a few guidelines can generally enhance the chances of success in a variety of humanitarian applications of technology.  In this talk, I will share lessons learned from over a decade of experience in technology innovation for humanitarian causes, with a focus on how we learned to prioritize humans at different stages of the innovation process. Along with this innovation process, I will also share details of several humanitarian robotics and automation projects we have successfully completed.
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Taskin Padir

Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Northeastern University

Talk Title: RARE: Robotics for Advanced Response to Epidemics

Taskin Padir 
Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering at WPI

About the Speaker:

Dr. Taskin Padir received his Ph.D and M.S. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University. He holds a B.S in electrical and electronics engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey. He is the Director of Robotics and Intelligent Vehicles Research Laboratory (RIVeR Lab). His projects have been sponsored by NSF, NASA, DARPA, AFRL, and many industry partners. Dr. Padir led project teams for the NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge, SmartAmerica Challenge and the DARPA Robotics Challenge.  Dr. Padir presented at the Innovation on the Edge: Accelerating Solutions in the Fight Against Ebola event hosted by OSTP and USAID at the White House in 2015 and organized and hosted OSTP/NRI Workshop on Safety Robotics for Ebola Workers in 2014. A team led by Padir was recently selected to receive one of NASA’s humanoid robot Valkyrie for research and development. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

How might we deliver a safe, reliable, and intuitive emergency treatment unit to facilitate a higher degree of safety and situational awareness for medical staff, leading to an increased level of patient care during an epidemic outbreak in an unprepared, underdeveloped, or disaster stricken area? In 2014, healthcare systems in West Africa and around the world faced the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It became evident that existing procedures were ineffective in responding to an infectious disease outbreak. It is envisioned that robotics and cyber-physical systems will advance our response to epidemics by providing services such as remote patient monitoring, point of care testing, and automated tracking of epidemiological samples.  This talk is aimed at provoking discussion on the feasibility and ethical considerations of utilizing robots for preventing, detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
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Mike Richards

President and Chief Executive Officer at Drone America, Reno, Nevada

Talk Title: Humans, Drones and Humanity

Mike Richards
President and Chief Executive Officer at Drone America, Reno, Nevada

About the Speaker:

We have a partnership with a major national ambulatory company that aims to bring Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) to the EMS industry. By leveraging UAS technologies with ambulatory services, specialty teams would be able to provide swifter and safer rescue operations in dangerous situations such as disaster response, mountain rescue and swift water rescues. Drone America’s medical DAx8 UAS is specifically engineered with emergency services and first responders in mind.

Abstract of the Talk:

As founder of Drone America, I created the company on the believe that technology is made to further advance humanity and to help those who are less fortunate. Our unmanned systems encompass these core believes by allowing people, non-profits and governments to fly and collect data that positively impact the world. By giving the tools needed for these people to change the world, they are able to reach those in need that they have never been able to before. One of the main issues that we face today in giving the right systems to people is that they have to be safe, reliable and cost effective. By solving these three issues, we hope to create a sustainable and profitable entity. For example, we have talked and worked with professionals involved in Emergency, Disaster Response and Humanitarian Relief. Our goal was to determine how we might develop advanced system capabilities that would provide value through saving time, gathering data or delivering a critical package.Very soon we recognized that our work would involve extensive research, prototyping and testing. As a small privately funded business we had to sustain life during this development cycle.  Commercialization became the answer, working with Fire, Emergency Services, Law Enforcement, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Environmental Protection, Wildlife Surveys and Oil & Gas to name a few. Our long term goal is to create a sustainable and profitable entity that develops and supports humanitarian relief. Drone America is in the process of forming our first non-profit search and rescue corporation that will be dedicated to Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in our local community and the surrounding Sierra Mountain Range.

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Paul F.M.J. Verschure

Director of SPECS Lab, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona

Talk Title: Living Machines for a Dignified Society: A Report from the Front Line

Paul Verschure

About the Speaker:

Prof. Paul F.M.J. Verschure  is a research professor with the Catalan Institute of Advanced Studies (ICREA) and Director of the laboratory of Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He received both his MA. and PhD in psychology and pursued his research at different leading institutes: the Neurosciences Institute and The Salk Institute, both in San Diego, the University of Amsterdam, University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-ETH and currently with ICREA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is a consultant for the European Commission regarding the integration of Neuroinformatics in the 5th-6th & 7th FP and a referee for Science, Nature, Royal Society London, Trends in Neuroscience, IEEE neural networks, PLoS Computational Biology and PLoS ONE. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

In the anthropocene humanity is facing numerous fundamental challenges in achieving a dignified society. This implies reconsiderations in areas such as health, education and identity. Starting from the perspective that the science and technology to deploy a rational program towards this goal was largely lacking we have engaged in a number of science based technological interventions that combine fundamental neuroscience grounded considerations with a range of technologies such as robots and virtual reality (VR). This talk will define the paradigm of Living Machines, its underlying science and describe its application in areas of neurorehabilitation, education and cultural learning. The science is largely described in relation to the Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC) theory of mind and brain. For neurorehabilitation I will present the results achieved with the DAC based and Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS). Education examples are found in our work on realizing a Synthetic Teaching Assistant, while our cultural learning application “Future Memory” is an example of how we can use cultural heritage taught through Augmented Reality mobile applications. These examples show that a synergy between basic and applied science can be realized that both furthers the agenda of humanitarian applications and the basic scientific quest of understanding what it is to be human.
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Asokan Thondiyath

Professor, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras

Talk Title: Design and Control of Variable Buoyancy Modules for Selective Underwater Deployment for Surveillance, Search, and Rescue Missions

Ashokan Thondiyath
Professor, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras

About the Speaker:

Dr T. Asokan is a Professor in the Department of Engineering Design at IIT Madras . He completed his B.Tech. and M.Tech. in mechanical engineering from Calicut University. Dr Asokan received his Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the IIT Madras. He has worked as a researcher at the Robotics Research Center, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where was instrumental in developing the Remotely Operated Underwater vehicle and a 7-axis underwater manipulator. Prior to this, he spent 3 years in DRDO as a Scientist. He was awarded the Stanford-India biodesign fellowship by the Stanford University, USA in 2009 and has completed a post doctoral fellowship in medical device development at the Stanford University. Dr. Asokan is  a visiting Fellow of the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is a member of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Sectional Committee on Industrial and Production Automation Systems and Robotics (PGD 18) and the Indian representative in the Joint Working Group (JWG9) of the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) sectional Committee on Robots and Robotic Devices. Dr Asokan has published more than 75 papers in International Journals and conferences and has filed 9 patents in India and Singapore. [On the web]

Abstract of the Talk:

Variable Buoyancy Systems (VBS) are commonly used in underwater vehicles to achieve efficient heave motion. Most of the times, these systems are used as part of the conventional underwater vehicle itself and various methods are used to achieve the buoyancy variation. The potential of VBS as a standalone system for heave motion underwater has not been given due importance and is still an unexplored area. In this talk, the design of VBS as a standalone module for heave control and the possibility of using multiple modules in a cascaded structure for selective underwater deployment is presented. Such cascaded systems have a variety of applications ranging from coastal surveillance, selective deployment for ocean sampling etc. Use of such cascaded systems for humanitarian applications has very high potential in situations like ocean accidents involving ships, boats, aircrafts etc. Search and rescue missions will be highly benefited through the use of VBS in data collection and analysis. The design of a metallic bellow based Variable Buoyancy Module (VBM), actuated using linear actuators will be presented. The mathematical modelling of the VBM and its open loop performance are analysed for suitability of the system to be cascaded. Two prototypes have been developed based on the optimal design requirements and tested. These two modules are then cascaded and the performance of the system is compared with simulations and experiments. The analysis shows the suitability of the system for selective deployment at various depths. The developed module is a simple and efficient system for shallow water applications, which can be used as an add-on to existing underwater vehicles or as a standalone system.
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Brent Gillespie

Assistant Professor,  Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Talk Title: The Virtual Teacher: Who is the Real Learner?

Brent Gillespie

About the Speaker:

Brent Gillespie completed his PhD in mechanical engineering at Stanford University in 1996 and a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University in 1999.  He then joined the department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, where he conducts research in manual control interfaces and wearable robots. At Stanford he was associated both with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the Dextrous Manipulation Laboratory. [On the web]

Abstract of Talk:

Guiding another person’s hand through the motions of a task is an intriguing alternative to visual demonstration or verbal instruction when attempting to teach a manual skill. One can also imagine programming a haptic device to demonstrate a strategy or impart a `feel’ for an activity. But does manual guidance really work? Results are often disappointing, whether the guidance is offered by a human or a robot, as I will share through a survey of projects from various labs including my own. Perhaps we have much to learn yet about component skills, humans as optimizing controllers, and active versus passive learning. A popular conception in human motor behavior known as the Internal Model might also help answer questions about manual guidance. But the Internal Model refers to models of the system under control rather than exogenous signals like force and/or motion cues delivered by a teacher through a mechanical contact. The Internal Model Principle, which hails from control theory, offers an alternative means to describe manual performance, accounting for tracking of patterned references or rejection of patterned disturbances. While computational models of motor learning run the risk of straying far afield, I will nonetheless argue that a simple model of control and dynamic coupling between teacher, pupil, and task object can do much to guide further research. I will highlight recent experimental work informed by such models, both in motor learning and in sharing of manual tasks between two humans or between robots and humans.
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Ashish Dutta

Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kanpur

Talk Title: Design and Control of Hand Exoskeletons

Ashish Dutta
Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

About the Speaker:

Prof. Ashish Dutta completed his PhD from Akita University, Japan in systems engineering. His research includes Humanoid robotics, grasping, bio-robotics, intelligent control systems, micro sensors and actuators. He has authored books on Industrial Robotics published by McGraw Hill, Robotics Systems published by Advanced Robotic Systems Publications, Austria, Vision Systems: Segmentation and Pattern Recognition by Advanced Robotic Systems Publications, Austria and Vision Systems: Applications Advanced Robotic Systems Publications, Austria. He also serves as the Secretary of the Robotic Society of India. [On the web]

Abstract of the Talk:

Patients suffering from loss of hand functions caused by stroke or spinal cord injuries have driven a surge in the development of wearable assistive devices. In this presentation the design and control of two finger and three finger exoskeletons are described for rehabilitation of stroke patients. The designs are based on the human finger motion trajectory, in order to emulate the motion of the varying instantaneous axis of rotation of the finger axis. The two finger exoskeletons are capable of simple grasping while the three finger exoskeletons are capable of fine object manipulation, like translation and rotation of small objects. A BCI that utilizes the wearers EMG and EEG signals has been used to control the exoskeletons. Several experimental results with healthy subjects and stroke patients will also be presented.
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Alaa Khamis

Associate Professor of Robotics and Mechatronics at Suez University, Egypt

Talk Title: Humanitarian Robotics: Minefield Reconnaissance and Mapping

Alaa Khamis 
Associate Professor, Robotics and Mechatronics, Suez University, Egypt

About the Speaker:

Dr. Alaa Khamis is an Associate Professor at Suez University and Adjunct Professor at Nile University, Egypt. He is also Head of Advanced Development Division at Sypron Solutions and Robotics and Automation Consultant at InnoVision Systems. He worked as AI Consultant at Menya Solutions, Inc. and Senior Research Scientist at Vestec, Inc., Canada, Director of Engineering R&I – Canada at Marques Aviation Ltd., Associate Professor and Director of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) research group at German University in Cairo (GUC), Research Assistant Professor and Cooperative Algorithms and Machine Intelligence Lecturer at University of Waterloo, Canada, Visiting Professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain and Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada, a Visiting Researcher at University of Reading, UK and Distinguished Scholar at FH Ravensburg-Weingarten, Germany.

He is a Senior Member in the IEEE, editor of Springer Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering (LNEE), a former associate editor for the International Journal of Robotics and Automation and founder and chair of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) – Egypt Chapter (2015 IEEE RAS Chapter of the Year and 2012 Chapter of the Year in IEEE Region 8). He is also the co-founder and program chair of the International Conference on Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (AIS), founder and program chair of the International Conference on Engineering and Technology (ICET), founder of International Workshop on Recent Advances in Robotics and Sensor Technology for Humanitarian Demining and Counter-IEDs (RST)and founder of Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World, the first international outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining.  He is one of the early contributors to the establishment of the University of Waterloo Center of Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (CPAMI).

His research interests include cooperative multi-robot systems, algorithmic robotics, humanitarian robotics, multi-sensor data fusion, data fission, intelligent data processing and analysis, combinatorial optimization and machine learning. He published 4 books, 5 book chapters, 16 technical reports and more than 75 scientific papers in refereed journal and international conferences. He also has 5 provisional US patents. [On the web]

Abstract of the Talk:

Landmine is one of the most lethal weapons in the modern warfare. In the military, this weapon of mass destruction in slow motion is considered as the perfect soldier: Ever courageous, never sleeps, never misses. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of mines are major factors in explaining the widespread use of mines throughout the numerous countries that are now faced with dealing with the mine contamination problem. The civilian-purpose demining or humanitarian demining aims at finding and removing abandoned landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs). It is estimated that there are more than 110 million active mines scattered in 68 countries. These landmines kill or maim more than 5,000 people annually, of whom 46% are children and cause 15,000–20,000 injuries each year. These injuries include blindness, burns, destroyed limbs and shrapnel wounds. Often the victim dies from the blast because they do not get to medical care in time. Landmines also create millions of refugees and internally displaced people.

Moreover, these explosive remnants of war (ERW) deny access to land, and its resources. This makes detection and removal of antipersonnel landmines and UXOs a serious problem of political, economical, environmental and humanitarian dimensions in many countries over the world. While basic landmine detection and neutralizing theologies remain almost the same, landmine technology improved dramatically. Moreover, the humanitarian demining activities carried-out to remove landmines and UXOs from the vast contaminated areas are not on the same level of the problem. Most of the conventional approaches such as mag-and-flag approach use metal detectors, magnetometers or ground penetrating radar for example operated by expert technicians to identify targets, which are then flagged for subsequent digging. These conventional methods make the procedure of removing the great numbers of landmines in many countries very slow, inefficient, dangerous and costly. Robotic systems and innovative sensor technologies can provide fast, efficient, safe and reliable solutions for the problem of the landmines and UXO contamination. The objective of this talk is to highlight the different aspects of humanitarian demining and to describe the different technology enablers and initiatives to solve this problem. The talk will present the recent advances in robotics and sensor technologies in the area of minefield reconnaissance and mapping. Our recent achievements within the framework of MineProbe project will be highlighted as well. MineProbe encompasses a number of spatially distributed autonomous and teleoperated unmanned vehicles equipped with multimodal landmine detection systems and high precision global localization modules. This system provides a digital map for the minefield. In this minefield map, the exact locations of the detected surface-laid and buried landmine and UXOs are identified. This mine map can be used later by the Army engineers to destroy or deactivate the identified ordnances in the field.
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Hervé Le Treut

Associate Professor of Robotics and Mechatronics at Suez University, Egypt

Talk Title: Adaptation to climate change: the potential use of data from multi-model simulation exercises

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About the Speaker:

Hervé Le Treut is a climatologist, member of the French Academy of Sciences. He studied  Physics at EcoleNormaleSupérieure in Paris, and specialized in the development of atmosphericor coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models. He carried out simulations of the climate response to a CO2 increase since the mid-eighties, and analyzed the dependence of their response to a large range of feedback factors, including biogeochemical ones. Hervé Le Treut is the author or coauthor of more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. He is presently a professor at University Pierre et Marie Curie (on leave from CNRS) and at EcolePolytechnique. He is the director of Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, a federation of 9 laboratories of the Paris area. He has been a member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme, and a regular participant in the IPCC Assessment Reports. He is strongly involved in the studies at the interface between science and society, was a member of the pilot Committee of COP21, and coordinated a report on the adaptation to climate change in the South-West of France. 
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Balakrishnan Shankar

Associate Dean, Amrita University, Amritapuri Campus
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About the Speaker:

Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar is the Associate Dean for the School of Engineering at Amritapuri campus. He currently serves as a Professor and the Chairperson at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Amrita School of Engineering, Amritapuri. His research interest includes Materials Science. Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar received his Ph. D. from University of Texas at Austin, USA.
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