Robotic Manipulation and Mobility Lab

ROAM Lab, December 2017. Here is a group timeline.

In the broadest sense, robotics is the science of effecting physical change on the world. Robots have already had great impact on our society, often by being able to effect change repeatedly, tirelessly and precisely. In order to make the next leap and find new ways to assist people, robots need to become more versatile and learn to handle variability, interacting with the world more intelligently.

Our work focuses on versatile manipulation and mobility in robotics, aiming for robotic applications pervasive in everyday life. We look to develop new mechanisms that leverage both mechanical and computational intelligence, hoping to achieve simplicity in design without compromising versatility. We investigate novel autonomous capabilities to simplify many aspects of mobile manipulation, especially in tight, cluttered, or occluded settings. Such domains are difficult to parse and understand using sensor data; explicitly reasoning about the inherent uncertainty could prove key to successful task execution. We also focus on new Human-in-the-Loop paradigms for robotics, which can help non-roboticists operate co-robots in the workplace or the home. 
Our research areas include:
  • Manipulation and grasping: underactuated hands, passively adaptive and compliant mechanisms; grasp analysis and quality metrics, grasp planning; eigengrasps, postural synergies and low-dimensional hand posture subspaces; GraspIt!: a simulator for robotic grasping.
  • Interactive or Human-in-the-Loop robotics: shared autonomy for mobile manipulation; assistive robotics.
  • Dynamic simulators and virtual environments: rigid and soft body dynamics; contact models, joint and contact constraints, LCP formulations; collision detection engines.
  • Perception and modeling: object modeling and recognition; acquisition and rendering of large 3D models (e.g. buildings); using cameras and other range sensors for navigation and manipulation tasks.

We are interested in many application domains, including:

  • Versatile automation in manufacturing and logistics
  • Assistive and rehabilitation robotics in healthcare
  • Mobile manipulation in unstructured environments

The most recent developments in our work can be found categorized in the Projects section, along with highlights and videos. All videos are available on our Youtube channel. You can also look in the complete list of Publications (uncategorized, in chronological order). If you are a student or researcher interested in joining our lab, please read about currently open positions and opportunities.

March 2016 - ROAM Lab funded by NASA to develop versatile manipulation for Assistive Free Flyers. February 2016 - Matei Ciocarlie named Sloan Research Fellow.
February 2016 - We'll be at ICRA 2016 in Stockholm to present our study on wearable hand orthoses for stroke patients. February 2016 - Our work on rehabilitation robotics was recently covered by the Columbia Spectator.
December 2015 - Holiday greetings from the ROAM Lab! September 2015 - We've moved into our brand new lab space.
August 2015 - Our lab is kicking off a new NSF-supported project that aims to build wearable assistive devices for dexterous manipulation. July 2015 - ROAM Lab funded by Coulter Foundation to develop new hand orthoses for stroke patients.
May 2015 - Gripper Developed in ROAM Lab Tested on NASA Astrobee Robot Prototype. May 2015 - ROAM Lab funded by Office of Naval Research for work on Collaborative Human - Robot Manipulation.
April 2015 - ROAM Lab helps organize a Mini-Symposium on the Internet of Things, as part of the Columbia Data Sciences Institute Data on a Mission series of events. November 2014 - Baxter Robot used in Intro to Robotics class for motion planning and collision avoidance projects.
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