Building astute robots
A. Sue Weisler
Ferat Sahin envisions the day when robots will work alongside humans on manufacturing lines, able to sense their surroundings and adapt independently to different responsibilities.
Currently, manufacturing lines are single- processes—one robot performing one task. When a robot is disrupted by an object or a person, it is programmed to stop, halting production until the object is removed and the system is restored. Robots need to be re-programmed to learn new tasks.
Sahin, co-lead of the robotics pillar of the Center for Human-Aware Artificial Intelligence, is working to embed more flexibility and autonomy into the robot’s system by integrating multiple biosensors toward what he calls collaborative robots—where the robots recognize objects nearby and can make autonomous decisions about actions.
“Our research is to make collaborative robots more aware of their environments and introduce internal and external sensors so that they can actually estimate what a human is doing, or will do, instead of just stopping,” said Sahin, a professor of electrical engineering. “It can choose another action such as avoiding the person or object by changing its path, slowing down or doing something else.”
The robotics systems he is building have a dynamic safety index—information based on distance, velocity and acceleration of both the robot and the object or person—which meet manufacturing safety standards.
It also integrates human signals and an understanding of meaning. Different emotions—stress, fear, anxiety, excitement—can be detected through behavior and biological signals that his team is collecting through markers, such as heart rate and skin changes. These data points can be read and interpreted by the robot then acted upon.
Biological signal processing is a strength of RIT’s electrical engineering program.
“Without robots being human-aware, it presents a risk, no matter how ‘smart’ they are,” he said.
May 23, 2019
Alumnus wins Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to improve drones for search and rescue
An RIT alumnus received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award in computer engineering to help drones assist with search and rescue operations in difficult terrain such as dense forests or steep mountains where GPS might not be reliable. Andrew Ramsey ’18 (computer engineering), ’18 MS (computer engineering) will conduct research at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt as part of a project to research innovative ways to determine the location of a drone in a low-cost and reliable manner.
May 23, 2019
RIT Venture Creations business incubator adds new companies to client list
Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations business incubator has announced the recent inclusion of three new companies to its client list. The addition of BOT Links, RemWell and Lux Semiconductors brings the number of client companies to 23.
May 22, 2019
Handsworth grad examines inner workings of outer space with NASA project
Assistant Professor Michael Zemcov interviewed by North Shore News for his part in contributing to NASA’s new mission to explore the origins of the universe by performing the first near-infrared all-sky spectral survey.
May 22, 2019
This Toilet Will Predict if You’ll Have Heart Failure
Yahoo News UK features a toilet seat developed by RIT that contains devices that measure blood oxygenation levels, heart rate and blood pressure to signal when someone is at risk for congestive heart failure.