Robot Design

Publications (by PI)TahaAmesO'Malley, and Cartwright.
Funding:  National Science Foundation, Cyber-Physical Systems Program ($1.8 M)
Awards:  NSF CPS 1136099 and 1136104.
Duration:  2011/9 - 2015/9.
Participating Groups:  Effective ModelingAMBER, and MAHI
Principle Investigators:  Walid TahaAaron AmesMarcia O'MalleyRobert Cartwright.
Overview Poster

Abstract:  In many important situations, analytically predicting the behavior of physical systems is not possible. For example, the three dimensional nature of physical systems makes it provably impossible to express closed-form analytical solutions for even the simplest systems. This has made experimentation the primary modality for designing new cyber-physical systems (CPS). Since physical prototyping and experiments are typically costly and hard to conduct, "virtual experiments" in the form of modeling and simulation can dramatically accelerate innovation in CPS. Unfortunately, major technical challenges often impede the effectiveness of modeling and simulation. Project MetaBot develops foundations and tools for overcoming these challenges. The project focuses on robotics as an important, archetypical class of CPS, and consists of four key tasks: 1) Compiling and analyzing a benchmark suite for modeling and simulating robots, 2) Developing a meta-theory for relating cyber physical models, as well tools and a test bed for robot modeling and simulation, 3) Validating the research results of the project using two state-of-the-art robot platforms that incorporate novel control technologies and will require novel programming techniques to fully realize their potential 4) Developing course materials incorporating the project's research results and test bed.

With the aim of accelerating innovation in a wide range of domains including stroke rehabilitation and prosthetic limbs, the project is developing new control concepts and modeling and simulation technologies for robotics. In addition to new mathematical foundations, models, and validation methods, the project will also develop software tools and systematic methods for using them. The project trains four doctoral students; develops a new course on modeling and simulation for cyber physical systems that balances both control and programming concepts; and includes an outreach component to the public and to minority-serving K-12 programs.