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Robotics and Spinal Cord Therapy
Burdick Research Group: Robotics & BioEngineering
Current Research Topics
Robotic Manipulation/DARPA ARMS
We collaborate with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as one of the 6 teams in the DARPA-ARMS (DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation--Software) competition. As part of its contribution to the overall team effort, Caltech is working on:
force-torque sensing, tactile sensing, and proprioception to better estimate the locations of the objects to be manipulated as well as the posture of the arm.
Robotic Field Manipulation/RCTA
We are part of the RCTA (Robotics Collaborative Technology Aliance) program, which is sponsored by the Army Research Labs (ARL), and lead by General Dynamics Robotics Systmes (GDRS). One of the main objectives of this program is to develop the capabilities for mobile robots to carry out complex operations in unstructured field environments. In collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we are developing novel grasp planning algorithms for low-degree-of-freedom grippers, as well as techniques to estimate the state of the grasped object and the manipulator system.
Axel and DuAxel Rovers for extreme planetary terrains
Conventional robotic Martian explorers, such as Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity, have sufficient mobility to access ~60% of the Martian surface. However, some of the most interesting science targets occur in the currently inaccessible extreme terrains, such as steep craters, overhangs, loose soil, and layered stratigraphy. Access to extreme terrains on other planets (besides Mars) and moons is also of potential interest. In collaboration with JPL, we are developing the Axel and DuAxel rovers. Axel is a minimalist tethered robot that can ascend and descend vertical and steeps slopes, as well as navigate over large (relative to the body size) obstacles. In the DuAxel configuration, two Axels dock with a central module to form a self-contained 4-wheeled rover, which can then disassemble as needed to allow one or both Axels to descend into extreme terrain. The goal of this work is to develop and demonstrate the motion planning, novel mobility mechanisms, mobility analysis, and steep terrain sampling technologies that would allow Axel and DuAxel to be viable concepts for future scientific missions to extreme terrains.
Locomotion Rehabilitation After Severe Spinal Cord Injury
Approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a major Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and ~11,000 new people will be afflicted each year. Our lab collaborates with Prof. Reggie Edgerton at UCLA, Prof. Susan Harkema at Univ. of Louisville, and Prof. Y.C. Tai here at Caltech to develop new therapies and new technologies that hopefully one day will enable patients suffering from SCI to partially or fully recover the ability to walk. Currently, we focus on these topics:
this topic, see this link.
Planning in Uncertain Environments
Probabilistic Search Strategies, IEEE Trans. Robotics, vol. 28, no.1, Feb. 2012, pp. 132-144.
Temporal Logic Synthesis for Uncertain Environments, Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation, May 2012, Minneapolis, MN.
Combined Shape, Appearance, and Silhouette for Simultaneous Manipulator and Object Tracking,Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robotics and Automation, May 2012, Minneapolis, MN.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation
Recent Research Topics
Here are a some recent research topics that were actively pursued in our group.