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2016


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The Arrow of Time in Multivariate Time Serie

Bauer, S., Schölkopf, B., Peters, J.

Proceedings of the 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 48, pages: 2043-2051, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Balcan, M. F. and Weinberger, K. Q.), JMLR, June 2016 (conference)

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

2016


link (url) [BibTex]


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A Kernel Test for Three-Variable Interactions with Random Processes

Rubenstein, P. K., Chwialkowski, K. P., Gretton, A.

Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), (Editors: Ihler, Alexander T. and Janzing, Dominik), June 2016 (conference)

ei

PDF Supplement Arxiv [BibTex]

PDF Supplement Arxiv [BibTex]


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Continuous Deep Q-Learning with Model-based Acceleration

Gu, S., Lillicrap, T., Sutskever, I., Levine, S.

Proceedings of the 33nd International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 48, pages: 2829-2838, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Maria-Florina Balcan and Kilian Q. Weinberger), JMLR.org, June 2016 (conference)

ei

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Bounded Rational Decision-Making in Feedforward Neural Networks

Leibfried, F, Braun, D

Proceedings of the 32nd Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), pages: 407-416, June 2016 (conference)

Abstract
Bounded rational decision-makers transform sensory input into motor output under limited computational resources. Mathematically, such decision-makers can be modeled as information-theoretic channels with limited transmission rate. Here, we apply this formalism for the first time to multilayer feedforward neural networks. We derive synaptic weight update rules for two scenarios, where either each neuron is considered as a bounded rational decision-maker or the network as a whole. In the update rules, bounded rationality translates into information-theoretically motivated types of regularization in weight space. In experiments on the MNIST benchmark classification task for handwritten digits, we show that such information-theoretic regularization successfully prevents overfitting across different architectures and attains results that are competitive with other recent techniques like dropout, dropconnect and Bayes by backprop, for both ordinary and convolutional neural networks.

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Thumb xl ye et al 2016 advanced materials
Gallium Adhesion: Phase Change of Gallium Enables Highly Reversible and Switchable Adhesion (Adv. Mater. 25/2016)

Ye, Z., Lum, G. Z., Song, S., Rich, S., Sitti, M.

Advanced Materials, 28(25):5087-5087, May 2016 (article)

Abstract
Gallium exhibits highly reversible and switchable adhesion when it undergoes a solid–liquid phase transition. The robustness of gallium is notable as it exhibits strong performance on a wide range of smooth and rough surfaces, under both dry and wet conditions. Gallium may therefore find numerous applications in transfer printing, robotics, electronic packaging, and biomedicine.

pi

DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl singh et al 2016 advanced healthcare materials
Patterned and Specific Attachment of Bacteria on Biohybrid Bacteria-Driven Microswimmers

Singh, A. V., Sitti, M.

Advanced Healthcare Materials, 5(18):2325-2331, May 2016 (article)

Abstract
A surface patterning technique and a specific and strong biotin–streptavidin bonding of bacteria on patterned surfaces are proposed to fabricate Janus particles that are propelled by the attached bacteria. Bacteria-driven Janus microswimmers with diameters larger than 3 μm show enhanced mean propulsion speed. Such microswimmers could be used for future applications such as targeted drug delivery and environmental remediation.

pi

DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl pnas 2016 lum 1608193113 2
Shape-programmable magnetic soft matter

Lum, G. Z., Ye, Z., Dong, X., Marvi, H., Erin, O., Hu, W., Sitti, M.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(41):E6007–E6015, National Acad Sciences, May 2016 (article)

Abstract
Shape-programmable matter is a class of active materials whose geometry can be controlled to potentially achieve mechanical functionalities beyond those of traditional machines. Among these materials, magnetically actuated matter is particularly promising for achieving complex time-varying shapes at small scale (overall dimensions smaller than 1 cm). However, previous work can only program these materials for limited applications, as they rely solely on human intuition to approximate the required magnetization profile and actuating magnetic fields for their materials. Here, we propose a universal programming methodology that can automatically generate the required magnetization profile and actuating fields for soft matter to achieve new time-varying shapes. The universality of the proposed method can therefore inspire a vast number of miniature soft devices that are critical in robotics, smart engineering surfaces and materials, and biomedical devices. Our proposed method includes theoretical formulations, computational strategies, and fabrication procedures for programming magnetic soft matter. The presented theory and computational method are universal for programming 2D or 3D time-varying shapes, whereas the fabrication technique is generic only for creating planar beams. Based on the proposed programming method, we created a jellyfish-like robot, a spermatozoid-like undulating swimmer, and an artificial cilium that could mimic the complex beating patterns of its biological counterpart.

pi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Robot Arm Pose Estimation by Pixel-wise Regression of Joint Angles

Widmaier, F., Kappler, D., Schaal, S., Bohg, J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
To achieve accurate vision-based control with a robotic arm, a good hand-eye coordination is required. However, knowing the current configuration of the arm can be very difficult due to noisy readings from joint encoders or an inaccurate hand-eye calibration. We propose an approach for robot arm pose estimation that uses depth images of the arm as input to directly estimate angular joint positions. This is a frame-by-frame method which does not rely on good initialisation of the solution from the previous frames or knowledge from the joint encoders. For estimation, we employ a random regression forest which is trained on synthetically generated data. We compare different training objectives of the forest and also analyse the influence of prior segmentation of the arms on accuracy. We show that this approach improves previous work both in terms of computational complexity and accuracy. Despite being trained on synthetic data only, we demonstrate that the estimation also works on real depth images.

am

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl ranking top 1
Optimizing for what matters: the Top Grasp Hypothesis

Kappler, D., Schaal, S., Bohg, J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we consider the problem of robotic grasping of objects when only partial and noisy sensor data of the environment is available. We are specifically interested in the problem of reliably selecting the best hypothesis from a whole set. This is commonly the case when trying to grasp an object for which we can only observe a partial point cloud from one viewpoint through noisy sensors. There will be many possible ways to successfully grasp this object, and even more which will fail. We propose a supervised learning method that is trained with a ranking loss. This explicitly encourages that the top-ranked training grasp in a hypothesis set is also positively labeled. We show how we adapt the standard ranking loss to work with data that has binary labels and explain the benefits of this formulation. Additionally, we show how we can efficiently optimize this loss with stochastic gradient descent. In quantitative experiments, we show that we can outperform previous models by a large margin.

am

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl retrieved templates 3
Exemplar-based Prediction of Object Properties from Local Shape Similarity

Bohg, J., Kappler, D., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We propose a novel method that enables a robot to identify a graspable object part of an unknown object given only noisy and partial information that is obtained from an RGB-D camera. Our method combines the benefits of local with the advantages of global methods. It learns a classifier that takes a local shape representation as input and outputs the probability that a grasp applied at this location will be successful. Given a query data point that is classified in this way, we can retrieve all the locally similar training data points and use them to predict latent global object shape. This information may help to further prune positively labeled grasp hypotheses based on, e.g. relation to the predicted average global shape or suitability for a specific task. This prediction can also guide scene exploration to prune object shape hypotheses. To learn the function that maps local shape to grasp stability we use a Random Forest Classifier. We show that our method reaches the same classification performance as the current state-of-the-art on this dataset which uses a Convolutional Neural Network. Additionally, we exploit the natural ability of the Random Forest to cluster similar data. For a positively predicted query data point, we retrieve all the locally similar training data points that are associated with the same leaf nodes of the Random Forest. The main insight from this work is that local object shape that affords a grasp is also a good predictor of global object shape. We empirically support this claim with quantitative experiments. Additionally, we demonstrate the predictive capability of the method on some real data examples.

am

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2016 01 19 at 14.48.37
Automatic LQR Tuning Based on Gaussian Process Global Optimization

Marco, A., Hennig, P., Bohg, J., Schaal, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 270-277, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper proposes an automatic controller tuning framework based on linear optimal control combined with Bayesian optimization. With this framework, an initial set of controller gains is automatically improved according to a pre-defined performance objective evaluated from experimental data. The underlying Bayesian optimization algorithm is Entropy Search, which represents the latent objective as a Gaussian process and constructs an explicit belief over the location of the objective minimum. This is used to maximize the information gain from each experimental evaluation. Thus, this framework shall yield improved controllers with fewer evaluations compared to alternative approaches. A seven-degree- of-freedom robot arm balancing an inverted pole is used as the experimental demonstrator. Results of a two- and four- dimensional tuning problems highlight the method’s potential for automatic controller tuning on robotic platforms.

am ics pn

Video PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Video PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl screen shot 2016 01 19 at 14.56.20
Depth-based Object Tracking Using a Robust Gaussian Filter

Issac, J., Wüthrich, M., Garcia Cifuentes, C., Bohg, J., Trimpe, S., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the problem of model-based 3D- tracking of objects given dense depth images as input. Two difficulties preclude the application of a standard Gaussian filter to this problem. First of all, depth sensors are characterized by fat-tailed measurement noise. To address this issue, we show how a recently published robustification method for Gaussian filters can be applied to the problem at hand. Thereby, we avoid using heuristic outlier detection methods that simply reject measurements if they do not match the model. Secondly, the computational cost of the standard Gaussian filter is prohibitive due to the high-dimensional measurement, i.e. the depth image. To address this problem, we propose an approximation to reduce the computational complexity of the filter. In quantitative experiments on real data we show how our method clearly outperforms the standard Gaussian filter. Furthermore, we compare its performance to a particle-filter-based tracking method, and observe comparable computational efficiency and improved accuracy and smoothness of the estimates.

am ics

Video Bayesian Object Tracking Library Bayesian Filtering Framework Object Tracking Dataset link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Video Bayesian Object Tracking Library Bayesian Filtering Framework Object Tracking Dataset link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Sperm-shaped magnetic microrobots: Fabrication using electrospinning, modeling, and characterization

Khalil, I. S., Tabak, A. F., Hosney, A., Mohamed, A., Klingner, A., Ghoneima, M., Sitti, M.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016 IEEE International Conference on, pages: 1939-1944, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We use electrospinning to fabricate sperm-shaped magnetic microrobots with a range of diameters from 50 μm to 500 μm. The variables of the electrospinning operation (voltage, concentration of the solution, dynamic viscosity, and distance between the syringe needle and collector) to achieve beading effect are determined. This beading effect allows us to fabricate microrobots with similar morphology to that of sperm cells. The bead and the ultra-fine fiber resemble the morphology of the head and tail of the sperm cell, respectively. We incorporate iron oxide nanoparticles to the head of the sperm-shaped microrobot to provide a magnetic dipole moment. This dipole enables directional control under the influence of external magnetic fields. We also apply weak (less than 2 mT) oscillating magnetic fields to exert a magnetic torque on the magnetic head, and generate planar flagellar waves and flagellated swim. The average speed of the sperm-shaped microrobot is calculated to be 0.5 body lengths per second and 1 body lengths per second at frequencies of 5 Hz and 10 Hz, respectively. We also develop a model of the microrobot using elastohydrodynamics approach and Timoshenko-Rayleigh beam theory, and find good agreement with the experimental results.

pi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Batch Bayesian Optimization via Local Penalization

González, J., Dai, Z., Hennig, P., Lawrence, N.

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 51, pages: 648-657, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Gretton, A. and Robert, C. C.), May 2016 (conference)

ei pn

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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MuProp: Unbiased Backpropagation for Stochastic Neural Networks

Gu, S., Levine, S., Sutskever, I., Mnih, A.

4th International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), May 2016 (conference)

ei

Arxiv [BibTex]

Arxiv [BibTex]


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Communication Rate Analysis for Event-based State Estimation

(Best student paper finalist)

Ebner, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Discrete Event Systems, May 2016 (inproceedings)

am ics

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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An Improved Cognitive Brain-Computer Interface for Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Hohmann, M. R., Fomina, T., Jayaram, V., Förster, C., Just, J., M., S., Schölkopf, B., Schöls, L., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

Proceedings of the Sixth International BCI Meeting, pages: 44, (Editors: Müller-Putz, G. R. and Huggins, J. E. and Steyrl, D.), BCI, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Auxetic Metamaterial Simplifies Soft Robot Design

Mark, A. G., Palagi, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

In 2016 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 4951-4956, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Soft materials are being adopted in robotics in order to facilitate biomedical applications and in order to achieve simpler and more capable robots. One route to simplification is to design the robot's body using `smart materials' that carry the burden of control and actuation. Metamaterials enable just such rational design of the material properties. Here we present a soft robot that exploits mechanical metamaterials for the intrinsic synchronization of two passive clutches which contact its travel surface. Doing so allows it to move through an enclosed passage with an inchworm motion propelled by a single actuator. Our soft robot consists of two 3D-printed metamaterials that implement auxetic and normal elastic properties. The design, fabrication and characterization of the metamaterials are described. In addition, a working soft robot is presented. Since the synchronization mechanism is a feature of the robot's material body, we believe that the proposed design will enable compliant and robust implementations that scale well with miniaturization.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Movement Primitives with Multiple Phase Parameters

Ewerton, M., Maeda, G., Neumann, G., Kisner, V., Kollegger, G., Wiemeyer, J., Peters, J.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 201-206, IEEE, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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TerseSVM : A Scalable Approach for Learning Compact Models in Large-scale Classification

Babbar, R., Muandet, K., Schölkopf, B.

Proceedings of the 2016 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM), pages: 234-242, (Editors: Sanjay Chawla Venkatasubramanian and Wagner Meira), May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl 2pamcompressed
A Lightweight Robotic Arm with Pneumatic Muscles for Robot Learning

Büchler, D., Ott, H., Peters, J.

Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 4086-4092, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (conference)

am ei

ICRA16final DOI Project Page [BibTex]

ICRA16final DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl untitled
Probabilistic Approximate Least-Squares

Bartels, S., Hennig, P.

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 51, pages: 676-684, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Gretton, A. and Robert, C. C. ), May 2016 (conference)

Abstract
Least-squares and kernel-ridge / Gaussian process regression are among the foundational algorithms of statistics and machine learning. Famously, the worst-case cost of exact nonparametric regression grows cubically with the data-set size; but a growing number of approximations have been developed that estimate good solutions at lower cost. These algorithms typically return point estimators, without measures of uncertainty. Leveraging recent results casting elementary linear algebra operations as probabilistic inference, we propose a new approximate method for nonparametric least-squares that affords a probabilistic uncertainty estimate over the error between the approximate and exact least-squares solution (this is not the same as the posterior variance of the associated Gaussian process regressor). This allows estimating the error of the least-squares solution on a subset of the data relative to the full-data solution. The uncertainty can be used to control the computational effort invested in the approximation. Our algorithm has linear cost in the data-set size, and a simple formal form, so that it can be implemented with a few lines of code in programming languages with linear algebra functionality.

ei pn

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Drifting Gaussian Processes with Varying Neighborhood Sizes for Online Model Learning

Meier, F., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

am

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning soft task priorities for control of redundant robots

Modugno, V., Neumann, G., Rueckert, E., Oriolo, G., Peters, J., Ivaldi, S.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 221-226, IEEE, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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On the Reliability of Information and Trustworthiness of Web Sources in Wikipedia

Tabibian, B., Farajtabar, M., Valera, I., Song, L., Schölkopf, B., Gomez Rodriguez, M.

Wikipedia workshop at the 10th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM), May 2016 (conference)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Deep Learning for Tactile Understanding From Visual and Haptic Data

Gao, Y., Hendricks, L. A., Kuchenbecker, K. J., Darrell, T.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 536-543, May 2016, Oral presentation given by Gao (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Robust Tactile Perception of Artificial Tumors Using Pairwise Comparisons of Sensor Array Readings

Hui, J. C. T., Block, A. E., Taylor, C. J., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 305-312, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 2016, Oral presentation given by Hui (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Thumb xl 2016 peer grading
Peer Grading in a Course on Algorithms and Data Structures: Machine Learning Algorithms do not Improve over Simple Baselines

Sajjadi, M. S. M., Alamgir, M., von Luxburg, U.

Proceedings of the 3rd ACM conference on Learning @ Scale, pages: 369-378, (Editors: Haywood, J. and Aleven, V. and Kay, J. and Roll, I.), ACM, L@S, April 2016, (An earlier version of this paper had been presented at the ICML 2015 workshop for Machine Learning for Education.) (conference)

ei

Arxiv Peer-Grading dataset request [BibTex]

Arxiv Peer-Grading dataset request [BibTex]


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Data-Driven Comparison of Four Cutaneous Displays for Pinching Palpation in Robotic Surgery

Brown, J. D., Ibrahim, M., Chase, E. D. Z., Pacchierotti, C., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 147-154, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 2016, Oral presentation given by Brown (inproceedings)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Thumb xl romo breakdown
Multisensory Robotic Therapy through Motion Capture and Imitation for Children with ASD

Burns, R., Nizambad, S., Park, C. H., Jeon, M., Howard, A.

Proceedings of the ASEE Spring 2016 Middle Atlantic Section Conference, April 2016 (conference)

Abstract
It is known that children with autism have difficulty with emotional communication. As the population of children with autism increases, it is crucial we create effective therapeutic programs that will improve their communication skills. We present an interactive robotic system that delivers emotional and social behaviors for multi­sensory therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders. Our framework includes emotion­-based robotic gestures and facial expressions, as well as tracking and understanding the child’s responses through Kinect motion capture.

hi

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Design and Implementation of a Visuo-Haptic Data Acquisition System for Robotic Learning of Surface Properties

Burka, A., Hu, S., Helgeson, S., Krishnan, S., Gao, Y., Hendricks, L. A., Darrell, T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pages: 350-352, April 2016, Work-in-progress paper. Poster presentation given by Burka (inproceedings)

hi

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Objective assessment of robotic surgical skill using instrument contact vibrations

Gomez, E. D., Aggarwal, R., McMahan, W., Bark, K., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

Surgical Endoscopy, 30(4):1419-1431, 2016 (article)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Thumb xl spie2016
Towards Photo-Induced Swimming: Actuation of Liquid Crystalline Elastomer in Water

cerretti, G., Martella, D., Zeng, H., Parmeggiani, C., Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Qiu, T., Fischer, P., Wiersma, D.

In Proc. of SPIE 9738, pages: Laser 3D Manufacturing III, 97380T, April 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Liquid Crystalline Elastomers (LCEs) are very promising smart materials that can be made sensitive to different external stimuli, such as heat, pH, humidity and light, by changing their chemical composition. In this paper we report the implementation of a nematically aligned LCE actuator able to undergo large light-induced deformations. We prove that this property is still present even when the actuator is submerged in fresh water. Thanks to the presence of azo-dye moieties, capable of going through a reversible trans-cis photo-isomerization, and by applying light with two different wavelengths we managed to control the bending of such actuator in the liquid environment. The reported results represent the first step towards swimming microdevices powered by light.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl inflateble robots
Inflated soft actuators with reversible stable deformations

Hines, L., Petersen, K., Sitti, M.

Advanced Materials, 28(19):3690-3696, March 2016 (article)

Abstract
Most soft robotic systems are currently dependent on bulky compressors or pumps. A soft actuation method is presented combining hyperelastic membranes and dielectric elastomer actuators to switch between stable deformations of sealed chambers. This method is capable of large repeatable deformations, and has a number of stable states proportional to the number of actuatable membranes in the chamber.

pi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl publications toc
Chemotaxis of bio-hybrid multiple bacteria-driven microswimmers

Zhuang, J., Sitti, M.

Scientific reports, 6, pages: 32135, Nature Publishing Group, March 2016 (article)

Abstract
In this study, in a bio-hybrid microswimmer system driven by multiple Serratia marcescens bacteria, we quantify the chemotactic drift of a large number of microswimmers towards L-serine and elucidate the associated collective chemotaxis behavior by statistical analysis of over a thousand swimming trajectories of the microswimmers. The results show that the microswimmers have a strong heading preference for moving up the L-serine gradient, while their speed does not change considerably when moving up and down the gradient; therefore, the heading bias constitutes the major factor that produces the chemotactic drift. The heading direction of a microswimmer is found to be significantly more persistent when it moves up the L-serine gradient than when it travels down the gradient; this effect causes the apparent heading preference of the microswimmers and is the crucial reason that enables the seemingly cooperative chemotaxis of multiple bacteria on a microswimmer. In addition, we find that their chemotactic drift velocity increases superquadratically with their mean swimming speed, suggesting that chemotaxis of bio-hybrid microsystems can be enhanced by designing and building faster microswimmers. Such bio-hybrid microswimmers with chemotactic steering capability may find future applications in targeted drug delivery, bioengineering, and lab-on-a-chip devices.

pi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Thumb xl publications toc
Targeted drug delivery and imaging using mobile milli/microrobots: A promising future towards theranostic pharmaceutical design

Vikram Singh, A., Sitti, M.

Current Pharmaceutical Design, 22(11):1418-1428, Bentham Science Publishers, March 2016 (article)

Abstract
Miniature untethered medical robots have been receiving growing attention due to technological advances in microactuation, microsensors, and microfabrication and have significant potential to reduce the invasiveness and improve the accessibility of medical devices into unprecedented small spaces inside the human body. In this review, we discuss therapeutic and diagnostic applications of untethered medical microrobots. Wirelessly controlled milli/microrobots with integrated sensors are revolutionizing micromanipulation based medical interventions and are enabling doctors to perform minimally invasive procedures not possible before. 3D fabrication technologies enabling milli/microrobot fabrication at the single cell scale are empowering high-resolution visual imaging and in vivo manipulation capabilities. Swallowable millirobots and injectabale ocular microrobots allow the gastric ulcer imaging, and performance of vitreoretinal microsurgery at previously inaccessible ocular sites. Many invasive excision and incision based diagnostic biopsy, prostrate, and nephrolgical procedures can be performed minimally or almost noninvasively due to recent advancements in microrobotic technology. Advances in biohybrid microrobot systems are pushing microrobotic systems even smaller, using biological cells as on-board microactuators and microsensors using the chemical energy. Such microrobotic systems could be used for local targeted delivery of imaging contrast agents, drugs, genes, and mRNA, minimally invasive surgery, and cell micromanipulation in the near future.

pi

link (url) [BibTex]


Thumb xl angry romo
Multisensory robotic therapy to promote natural emotional interaction for children with ASD

Burns, R., Azzi, P., Spadafora, M., Park, C. H., Jeon, M., Kim, H. J., Lee, J., Raihan, K., Howard, A.

Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI), pages: 571-571, March 2016 (conference)

Abstract
In this video submission, we are introduced to two robots, Romo the penguin and Darwin Mini. We have programmed these robots to perform a variety of emotions through facial expression and body language, respectively. We aim to use these robots with children with autism, to demo safe emotional and social responses in various sensory situations.

hi

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Robust calibration marker detection in powder bed images from laser beam melting processes

zur Jacobsmühlen, J., Achterhold, J., Kleszczynski, S., Witt, G., Merhof, D.

In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT), pages: 910-915, March 2016 (inproceedings)

ev

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl toc image
Dispersion and shape engineered plasmonic nanosensors

Jeong, H. H., Mark, A. G., Alarcon-Correa, M., Kim, I., Oswald, P., Lee, T. C., Fischer, P.

Nature Communications, 7, pages: 11331, March 2016 (article)

Abstract
Biosensors based on the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of individual metallic nanoparticles promise to deliver modular, low-cost sensing with high-detection thresholds. However, they continue to suffer from relatively low sensitivity and figures of merit (FOMs). Herein we introduce the idea of sensitivity enhancement of LSPR sensors through engineering of the material dispersion function. Employing dispersion and shape engineering of chiral nanoparticles leads to remarkable refractive index sensitivities (1,091 nmRIU(-1) at lambda = 921 nm) and FOMs (>2,800 RIU-1). A key feature is that the polarization-dependent extinction of the nanoparticles is now characterized by rich spectral features, including bipolar peaks and nulls, suitable for tracking refractive index changes. This sensing modality offers strong optical contrast even in the presence of highly absorbing media, an important consideration for use in complex biological media with limited transmission. The technique is sensitive to surface-specific binding events which we demonstrate through biotin-avidin surface coupling.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Thumb xl interactive
Interactive Robotic Framework for Multi-Sensory Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Burns, R., Park, C. H., Kim, H. J., Lee, J., Rennie, A., Jeon, M., Howard, A.

In Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI), pages: 421-422, March 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this abstract, we present the overarching goal of our interactive robotic framework - to teach emotional and social behavior to children with autism spectrum disorders via multi-sensory therapy. We introduce our robot characters, Romo and Darwin Mini, and the "Five Senses" scenario they will undergo. This sensory game will develop the children's interest, and will model safe and appropriate reactions to typical sensory overload stimuli.

hi

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Dynamic Modeling of an Out-Pipe Inspection Robot and Experimental Validation of the Proposed Model using Image Processing Technique

Sarvestani, A. A., Eghtesad, M., Fazlollahi, F., Goshtasbi, A., Mokhtari, K.

Iranian Journal of Science and Technology, Transactions of Mechanical Engineering, 40, pages: 77–85, Springer International Publishing, March 2016 (article)

Abstract
Gas and liquid pipelines surround us. To ensure reliable product delivery and to maintain pipeline integrity, asset managers should consider routine pipeline inspection and holistic management programs to extend pipeline life and prevent risk. Therefore, pipe inspection robots are of special interest to industries. In this paper, we present a new and simple locomotion strategy for an out-pipe inspection robot which can provide adjustable tractive force and can also be utilized to support active diameter adaptability. The advantages proposed by this design include simplicity, low manufacturing costs, online inspection capability and short operational time. Here a dynamic model of the robot is presented with the required assumptions. The mathematical model of 2-DOF robot is obtained using the well-known Lagrange equation. Modeling and simulations were conducted to test the validity and practicality of the proposed design and strategies. The prototype has successfully traveled along a pipe of 20 cm diameter. The results obtained from our dynamic model are then validated by experimental data.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Parallel microcracks-based ultrasensitive and highly stretchable strain sensors

Amjadi, M., Turan, M., Clementson, C. P., Sitti, M.

ACS Applied Materials \& Interfaces, 8(8):5618-5626, American Chemical Society, Febuary 2016 (article)

Abstract
There is an increasing demand for flexible, skin-attachable, and wearable strain sensors due to their various potential applications. However, achieving strain sensors with both high sensitivity and high stretchability is still a grand challenge. Here, we propose highly sensitive and stretchable strain sensors based on the reversible microcrack formation in composite thin films. Controllable parallel microcracks are generated in graphite thin films coated on elastomer films. Sensors made of graphite thin films with short microcracks possess high gauge factors (maximum value of 522.6) and stretchability (ε ≥ 50%), whereas sensors with long microcracks show ultrahigh sensitivity (maximum value of 11 344) with limited stretchability (ε ≤ 50%). We demonstrate the high performance strain sensing of our sensors in both small and large strain sensing applications such as human physiological activity recognition, human body large motion capturing, vibration detection, pressure sensing, and soft robotics.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Stretchable, Skin-Mountable, and Wearable Strain Sensors and Their Potential Applications: A Review

Amjadi, M., Kyung, K., Park, I., Sitti, M.

Advanced Functional Materials, 26, pages: 1678-1698, Febuary 2016 (article)

Abstract
There is a growing demand for flexible and soft electronic devices. In particular, stretchable, skin-mountable, and wearable strain sensors are needed for several potential applications including personalized health-monitoring, human motion detection, human-machine interfaces, soft robotics, and so forth. This Feature Article presents recent advancements in the development of flexible and stretchable strain sensors. The article shows that highly stretchable strain sensors are successfully being developed by new mechanisms such as disconnection between overlapped nanomaterials, crack propagation in thin films, and tunneling effect, different from traditional strain sensing mechanisms. Strain sensing performances of recently reported strain sensors are comprehensively studied and discussed, showing that appropriate choice of composite structures as well as suitable interaction between functional nanomaterials and polymers are essential for the high performance strain sensing. Next, simulation results of piezoresistivity of stretchable strain sensors by computational models are reported. Finally, potential applications of flexible strain sensors are described. This survey reveals that flexible, skin-mountable, and wearable strain sensors have potential in diverse applications while several grand challenges have to be still overcome.

pi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Appealing female avatars from 3D body scans: Perceptual effects of stylization

Fleming, R., Mohler, B., Romero, J., Black, M. J., Breidt, M.

In 11th Int. Conf. on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications (GRAPP), Febuary 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Advances in 3D scanning technology allow us to create realistic virtual avatars from full body 3D scan data. However, negative reactions to some realistic computer generated humans suggest that this approach might not always provide the most appealing results. Using styles derived from existing popular character designs, we present a novel automatic stylization technique for body shape and colour information based on a statistical 3D model of human bodies. We investigate whether such stylized body shapes result in increased perceived appeal with two different experiments: One focuses on body shape alone, the other investigates the additional role of surface colour and lighting. Our results consistently show that the most appealing avatar is a partially stylized one. Importantly, avatars with high stylization or no stylization at all were rated to have the least appeal. The inclusion of colour information and improvements to render quality had no significant effect on the overall perceived appeal of the avatars, and we observe that the body shape primarily drives the change in appeal ratings. For body scans with colour information, we found that a partially stylized avatar was most effective, increasing average appeal ratings by approximately 34%.

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pdf Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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Cutaneous Feedback of Fingertip Deformation and Vibration for Palpation in Robotic Surgery

Pacchierotti, C., Prattichizzo, D., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 63(2):278-287, February 2016 (article)

hi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Structure modulated electrostatic deformable mirror for focus and geometry control

Nam, S., Park, S., Yun, S., Park, B., Park, S. K., Kyung, K.

Optics Express, 24(1):55-66, OSA, January 2016 (article)

Abstract
We suggest a way to electrostatically control deformed geometry of an electrostatic deformable mirror (EDM) based on geometric modulation of a basement. The EDM is composed of a metal coated elastomeric membrane (active mirror) and a polymeric basement with electrode (ground). When an electrical voltage is applied across the components, the active mirror deforms toward the stationary basement responding to electrostatic attraction force in an air gap. Since the differentiated gap distance can induce change in electrostatic force distribution between the active mirror and the basement, the EDMs are capable of controlling deformed geometry of the active mirror with different basement structures (concave, flat, and protrusive). The modulation of the deformed geometry leads to significant change in the range of the focal length of the EDMs. Even under dynamic operations, the EDM shows fairly consistent and large deformation enough to change focal length in a wide frequency range (1~175 Hz). The geometric modulation of the active mirror with dynamic focus tunability can allow the EDM to be an active mirror lens for optical zoom devices as well as an optical component controlling field of view.

hi

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Size optimization of a magnetic system for drug delivery with capsule robots

Munoz, F., Alici, G., Li, W., Sitti, M.

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 52(5):1-11, IEEE, January 2016 (article)

Abstract
In this paper, we present a methodology for the size optimization of an external magnetic system made of arc-shaped permanent magnets (ASMs). This magnetic system is able to remotely actuate a drug-release module embedded in a prototype of a capsule robot. The optimization of the magnetic system is carried out by using an accurate analytical model that is valid for any arbitrary dimensions of the ASMs. By using this analytical model, we perform parametric studies and conduct a statistical analysis [analysis of variance (ANOVA)] to investigate efficient ways to distribute the volume of the ASMs so that the dimensions and volume of the magnetic system are minimized while optimal flux densities and magnetic torques are obtained to actuate the drug delivery system (DDS). The ANOVA results, at 5% significance level, indicate that changes in the angular width followed by changes in the length of the ASMs have the highest impact on the magnetic linkage. Furthermore, our experimental results, which are in agreement with the analytical results, show that the size optimization of the magnetic system is effective for the actuation of the DDS in capsule robots.

pi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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On estimation of functional causal models: General results and application to post-nonlinear causal model

Zhang, K., Wang, Z., Zhang, J., Schölkopf, B.

ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technologies, 7(2):article no. 13, January 2016 (article)

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic Propulsion of Microswimmers with DNA-Based Flagellar Bundles

Maier, A. M., Weig, C., Oswald, P., Frey, E., Fischer, P., Liedl, T.

Nano Letters, 16(2):906-910, January 2016 (article)

Abstract
We show that DNA-based self-assembly can serve as a general and flexible tool to construct artificial flagella of several micrometers in length and only tens of nanometers in diameter. By attaching the DNA flagella to biocompatible magnetic microparticles, we provide a proof of concept demonstration of hybrid structures that, when rotated in an external magnetic field, propel by means of a flagellar bundle, similar to self-propelling peritrichous bacteria. Our theoretical analysis predicts that flagellar bundles that possess a length-dependent bending stiffness should exhibit a superior swimming speed compared to swimmers with a single appendage. The DNA self-assembly method permits the realization of these improved flagellar bundles in good agreement with our quantitative model. DNA flagella with well-controlled shape could fundamentally increase the functionality of fully biocompatible nanorobots and extend the scope and complexity of active materials.

pf

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]