News & Events
The Caltech Robotics Team placed fourth in the 18th Annual International RoboSub Competition. The Competition is designed to introduce students to high-tech STEM fields such as maritime robotics. This year's team from Caltech was led by mechanical engineering recent graduate Justin Koch who was advised by Professor Joel Burdick. [Caltech story]
For the past year, a team of Caltech students, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, met at the campus pool on Sunday afternoons to prepare for the 17th Annual International RoboSub Competition. These members of the Caltech Robotics Team carefully crafted and optimized their robotic submarine named Bruce. Bruce was programmed to perform tasks such as pulling a lever, parking between two poles, and shooting little torpedoes at a target without the help of a human operator. At the competition the Caltech team received the judges' award for Best New Entry. [Caltech release]
Graduate student Matanya B. Horowitz, who works with Professors Joel Burdick and John Doyle, is one of the speakers at TEDxCaltech. He is active in several Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenges that seek to develop better control mechanisms for robotic arms, as well as develop humanoid robots that can do human-like tasks in dangerous situations, such as disable bombs or enter nuclear power plants during an emergency. [Caltech News]
Joel W. Burdick, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, are developing new technologies to expand their research which has enabled a paraplegic man to stand and move his legs voluntarily. The team has until now used intelligent guesswork to determine which stimuli might work best. But soon, using a new algorithm developed by Professor Burdick, they will be able to rely on a computer to determine the optimum stimulation levels, based on the patient's response to previous stimuli. This would allow patients to go home after the extensive rehab process with a system that could be continually adjusted by computer. [Caltech Release] [ENGenious Progress Report]
Melissa M. Tanner, a Mechanical Engineering graduate student, is the student lead for a new Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) mini-program called, Tools and Algorithms for Sampling in Extreme Terrain. This program will give a handful of undergraduate students the opportunity to help develop instruments for an extreme-terrain rover called Axel, which could one day be used to explore the moon, Mars, or an asteroid. The Caltech faculty mentor to the mini-program is Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, who is part of the Caltech and JPL team developing Axel. [Caltech Feature]
Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues are recipients of a 2011 Breakthrough Award by Popular Mechanics for their work that helped a paralyzed man stand. The Breakthrough Innovator Awards are in recognition of "innovators whose inventions will make the world smarter, safer, and more efficient in the years to come." [Popular Mechanics Article]
Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, have used a stimulating electrode array to assist a paralyzed man to stand, step on a treadmill with assistance, and, over time, to regain voluntary movements of his limbs. Using a combination of experimentation, computational models of the array and spinal cord, and machine-learning algorithms, Professor Burdick and his colleagues are now trying to optimize the stimulation pattern to achieve the best effects, and to improve the design of the electrode array. Further advances in the technology should lead to better control of the stepping and standing processes.