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.
April 17, 2019
Innovative suspension system for off-road vehicles takes top spot in spring Tiger Tank competition
A uniquely designed magnetic coil piston that will improve suspension systems in on- and off-road vehicles took first place in RIT’s semi-annual Tiger Tank entrepreneurship competition. Sponsored by RIT’s Saunders College of Business and hosted by RIT’s Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Tiger Tank gives students the opportunity to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges with a chance to win cash prizes.
April 17, 2019
RIT hosts 2019 Upstate NY Regional Student Conference on April 19 and 20 at Polisseni Center
Concrete canoes float—really. And bridges are more complicated to construct than putting up a few steel beams. Student-engineers who build both the unusual—yet attractive—canoes and complex bridge spans will display their designs at the 2019 Upstate New York Regional Student Conference taking place April 19-20 at RIT.
April 16, 2019
Mahany Welding Supply donates equipment to College of Engineering Technology
Mahany Welding Supply donated two gas metal arc welding cells and two gas tungsten arc welding cells to be used within an advanced manufacturing degree program in RIT’s College of Engineering Technology to provide needed workforce skills.
April 16, 2019
President David Munson to again emcee performing arts challenge on eve of Imagine RIT
Proving that RIT students are stars not only inside the classroom but on the stage as well, President David Munson will emcee his second performing arts competition next Friday night on the eve of the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival.