Plenaries

Robotics from Anthropomorphism
Prof. Yoshihiko Nakamura
Professor, Department of Mechano-Informatics
University of Tokyo

Location: Dena’ina Center Tikhatnu A/B/C
Time: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 (13:15-14:10)

Abstract: One would safely say that the concept of robot is historically originated from anthropomorphism. Robotics has developed its scientific and technological foundations thanks to the best endeavors of our pioneers. We now have in our hands general mathematical theories and variety of physical equipments that allows us to choose a solution even from non-anthropomorphic systems. Is anthropomorphism a slough for modern robotics? A scientist could say that anthropomorphism provides a means to understand human by robotic construction. Are there any technological reasons for further development of robotics from anthropomorphism? It is the point of this talk. Humans are innate and trained with skills to understand the partner of communication. The skills are extraordinary sensitive to humans and anthropomorphic characters. Our recent research stared from mathematical modeling of non-declarative skills of communication from anthropomorphism, and now approaches to connecting between the non-declarative skills and the declarative skills based on natural language. This talk introduces the scope of robotics from anthropomorphism, with the recent results of our research, and advocates its further study.

Speaker bio: Yoshihiko NAKAMURA received Ph.D. in Precision Engineering from Kyoto University in 1985. He was Assistant Professor at Kyoto University for 1982-1987, and became Assistant and then Associate Professor at University of California at Santa Barbara before moving to University of Tokyo in 1991. He is currently Professor at Department of Mechano-Informatics. Dr. Nakamura's research stems from kinematics, dynamics, and control. Humanoid robotics, cognitive robotics, neuromusculoskeletal human modeling, biomedical systems applications, and their computational algorithms and software are the current fields of his research. The publications of Dr. Nakamura and his colleagues have received various academic awards including King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Transactions Paper Award, IEEE Transaction of Robotics and Automation in 2001 and 2002. He was appointed as Distinguished Lecture for 2006-2008 of Robotics and Automation Society of IEEE and received Most Active Distinguished Lecture Award in 2007. He currently serves as Vice President of IFToMM, and Chairman of Japan Council of IFToMM. Dr. Nakamura is Foreign Member of the Academy of Engineering Science of Serbia and Fellow of Robotics Society of Japan, Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, and World Academy of Art and Science.


Automation to Understand and Ultimately Improve Health and the Environment for the Future
Prof. Deirdre R. Meldrum
Dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Director, Center for Ecogenomics, Biodesign Institute
Director, NIH Center of Excellence in Genomic Sciences, Microscale Life Sciences Center
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
Arizona State University,
Tempe, Arizona, USA

Location: Dena’ina Center Tikhatnu A/B/C
Time: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 (13:15-14:10)

Abstract: Advances in automation combined with molecular biology, nanotechnology, chemistry, materials and communications are enabling significant technology advances that permit deeper understanding of human health, disease and our environment. In turn, new diagnostic capabilities and real-time monitoring systems are being developed to detect and respond to, or in some cases prevent, changes in living organisms and the environment.
Automation and its role in the rapidly evolving fields of medicine and the environment will be addressed by presenting relevant ongoing research in centers in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University along with other relevant results in these fields.
The technologies presented are being applied to fundamental problems of biology and health including cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Further development of the technology to make it small, robust in the real environment (human body, oceans, etc.), fast, and low power will enable in vivo diagnostics in humans and real-time monitoring of microbial populations in the environment. The talk will delve into exciting possibilities for the future.

Speaker bio: Deirdre R. Meldrum received a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1983, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1985, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering degree from Stanford University in California in 1993.
As an engineering co-op student at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington in 1979, she designed structures on Navy ships and submarines. As an engineering co-op student at the NASA Johnson Space Center in 1980 and 1981, she was an instructor for the astronauts on the Shuttle Mission Simulator. From 1985-1987, she was a Member of the Technical Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she worked on the Galileo spacecraft and performed theoretical and experimental work in identification and control of large flexible space structures and robotics.
Meldrum joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 1992, rising to full professor in electrical engineering in 2001. She also held adjunct appointments in the departments of bioengineering and mechanical engineering. She was awarded a National Institutes of Health Special Emphasis Research Career Award (SERCA) in 1993 to train in biology and genetics, bring her engineering expertise to the genome project, and develop automated laboratory instrumentation. She was founder and director of the Genomation Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Engineering with research interests in genome automation, microscale systems for biological applications, ecogenomics, robotics, and control systems. In 1996, she was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers “for recognition of innovative research utilizing a broad set of interdisciplinary approaches to advance DNA sequencing technology.”
In 2001, Meldrum was awarded a $18 million grant for a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomics Science, which led to the establishment of the Microscale Life Sciences Center. The center brings together researchers in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, computer science, materials science and engineering, laboratory medicine, microbiology and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to work on developing microscale devices to provide genetic information. The goal is to understand cell proliferation and cell death in the effort to better understand health problems such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. The MLSC grant was renewed for an additional $18 million, and five years, 2006-2011.
Meldrum is a team member of the Regional Scaled Nodes (RSN) Project led by the University of Washington. The project’s goal is to construct a cabled underwater observatory that will be built on the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate in the northeast Pacific Ocean for real-time observations and experiments with sensors. Meldrum’s team is developing sensing devices and other instruments to gain knowledge of the biological, chemical and physical environments at microbial levels on the sea floor. In August 2006, she went to the sea floor at 2200 m below sea level in the Alvin submersible to perform experiments in the NE Pacific Ocean. The RSN project is the regional part of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative.
Meldrum’s move in 2007 to the position as dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering brings the Microscale Life Sciences Center and her research team’s part in the RSN project to Arizona State University. The team’s work is headquartered in the Center for Ecogenomics (D. Meldrum, Director) at the Biodesign Institute at ASU.
Meldrum is a member of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Climos, Inc., a member of the advisory board for external research and programs for Microsoft Research, and member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, The American Chemical Society, the Association for Women in Science, the Human Genome Organization, the Society of Women Engineers and Sigma Xi. She was Senior Editor and now Chair of the Advisory Board for the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering.


Towards a 10,000 Mobile Robot Smart Warehouse
Prof. Raffaello D'Andrea
ETH Zurich & Kiva Systems

Location: Dena’ina Center Tikhatnu A/B/C
Time: Thursday, May 6, 2010 (13:15-14:10)

Abstract: Order fulfillment is a multi-billion dollar business. Existing solutions range from the highly automated -- cost effective but inflexible -- to people pushing carts around in warehouses manually filling orders -- flexible but not cost effective. In this talk I will describe a radical new approach to order fulfillment that is both flexible and cost effective. The key idea is to use hundreds of networked, autonomous mobile robots that carry inventory-storing pods to human operators. The result is a distribution facility that is dynamic, self-organizing, and adaptive.
Various challenges had to be overcome in order to make this an economically viable system, including the design of robust autonomous mobile robots, real-time wireless control of hundreds of moving agents, the coordination of these agents, and the design of various algorithms that allow the system to adapt and reconfigure itself based on the environment and operating conditions. I will discuss these challenges and new ones, and the research opportunities in the space of mobile robot enabled smart warehouses.

Speaker bio: Raffaello D'Andrea is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich and Technical Co-Founder of Kiva Systems, a company that develops adaptive and self-configuring warehouse automation systems using hundreds of networked, mobile robots. Also a creator of dynamic sculpture, he has shown his work at international venues including the Venice Biennale, the Luminato Festival, Ars Electronica, and ideaCity; two of his pieces are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
He is an IEEE Fellow and a recipient of the IEEE/IFR Invention and Entrepreneurship Award, a United States Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering, and two best paper awards from the American Automatic Control Council and the IEEE. He was the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four-time world champions at the international RoboCup competition in Sweden, Australia, Italy, and Japan. He is also a recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award and several teaching awards in the area of project-based learning.