Noah Cowan of Johns Hopkins University will be presenting the lecture “ Encoding 3D Spatial Orientation in the Brain ” on Monday, March 3, 2014 at 4pm in the Hewlett Packard Auditorium (306 Soda). Please click here for the flier.
The visual encoding of 3D object orientation is critical for artificial and natural systems. Where and how the brain visually encodes 3D object orientation remains unknown, but prior studies suggest the caudal intraparietal area (CIP) may be involved. Here, we develop rigorous analytical methods for quantifying 3D orientation tuning curves, and use these tools to the study the neural coding of surface orientation. Specifically, we show that single neurons in area CIP of the rhesus macaque jointly encode the slant and tilt of a planar surface, and that across the population, the distribution of preferred slant-tilts is not statistically different from uniform. This suggests that all slant-tilt combinations are equally represented in area CIP. Furthermore, some CIP neurons are found to also represent the third rotational degree of freedom that determines the orientation of the image pattern on the planar surface. Together, the present results suggest that CIP is a critical neural locus for the encoding of all three rotational degrees of freedom specifying an object’s 3D spatial orientation. This is joint work with Ari Rosenberg and Dora Angelaki at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Sarah Bergbreiter of the University of Maryland will be presenting the lecture “Tiny leaps for robot kind: combining microfabrication and robotics” on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 4pm in the Hewlett Packard Auditorium (306 Soda). Please click here for the flier.
Research on mobile microrobots has been ongoing for the last 20 years, but the few robots that have walked have done so at slow speeds on smooth silicon wafers. However, ants can move at speeds over 40 body lengths/second on surfaces from picnic tables to front lawns. What challenges do we still need to tackle for microrobots to achieve this incredible mobility? This talk will discuss some of the mechanisms and motors we have designed and fabricated to enable robot mobility at the insect size scale as well as the use of microfabrication to improve larger robots. Mechanisms and sensors utilize new microfabrication processes to incorporate materials with widely varying moduli and functionality for more complexity in smaller packages. Actuators are designed to provide significant improvements in force density, efficiency and robustness over previous microactuators. Results include a 4mm jumping mechanism that can be launched approximately 35 cm straight up as well as a 300mg robot that jumps 8 cm with on-board power, sensing, actuation and control.
John O. Dabiri of the California Institute of Technology will be presenting the lecture “Jellyfish-Inspired Engineering” on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4pm in 2040 VLSB. Please click here for the flier.
George Lauder of Harvard University will be presenting the lecture “Using robotics as a comparative method to understand the functional and evolutionary diversity of fishes” on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 4pm in 2040 VLSB. Please click here for the flier.
Our current understanding of the diversity of fish structure and function has been achieved largely by applying comparative functional and phylogenetic analyses to different species in a variety of clades. But using a comparative approach alone makes it difficult to isolate individual traits and study the effect of variation in single traits on performance, while keeping all other aspects of morphology and physiology constant. In this presentation, I will discuss a diversity of robotic models of fish fin and body structure, ranging from simple to complex, that we have developed for the study of fish locomotion. These robotic systems have proven useful for understanding basic physical principles of aquatic locomotor dynamics in fishes, and for comparative analyses of fish functional designs. Robotics is a valuable comparative method that provides a new avenue for understanding the functional and evolutionary diversity of locomotor systems in fishes. Lab web site: http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/lauder
Alexander J. Smits of Princeton University will be presenting the lecture “Hydrodynamics of Manta Ray Swimming” on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 4pm in 3110 Etcheverry. Please click here for the flier.
Aquatic animals propel themselves using a wide variety of mechanisms. In manta rays, propulsion is achieved by combining oscillating and undulatory motions of flexible surfaces. We are interested in studying the unsteady hydrodynamics of such motions to understand and model the wake structure. Experiments have been conducted on flapping flexible membranes, flapping rigid plates, and mechanical models of manta rays. Preliminary observations suggest a rich set of phenomena exist, depending on the non-dimensional frequency of flapping, the wavelength of the excitation, and the aspect ratio of the fin. Under certain conditions, simple wake structures are observed that bear a strong resemblance to the structure of co-flowing jets and wakes. In other cases, bifurcating wakes are seen, which appear to correspond to a decrease in efficiency. The performance of active and passive actuation methods is also explored.
Robert Wood of Harvard University will be presenting the lecture “Progress in Insect-Scale Robots” on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 4pm in 540 Cory Hall. The seminar is co-sponsored by the EECS RESS Seminar Series.
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Left photo: Trainee lunch with Rob Wood; Right photo: Rob Wood RESS presentation.
Russ Tedrake of MIT will be presenting the lecture “Feedback Motion Planning with Sum-of-Squares Verification (w/ applications to Walking Robots and Robotic Birds)” on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:00pm in 306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium). This seminar is co-sponsored by the EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series.
Click here for additional information.
Left photo: Russ Tedrake presenting seminar; Right photo: Trainee lunch with Russ Tedrake
Steven Vogel of Duke University will be presenting the lecture “Bear Bones and Ferrous Wheels: When Might Nature be Worth Copying?” on Thursday, August 26, 2010. Click here to download the flier.
- Thomas Daniel of the University of Washington will be presenting the lecture: A Tale of Two (or Three?) Gyroscopes: Inertial measurement units (IMUs) in flying insects on Thursday, November 5, 2009. Click here for more information.
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