December 21, 2011: Our new course CS5350 Applied Geometric Representation and Computation was approved to be taught in S12. This will be an adaptation of our prior topics course taught as CS7380 in F10.

December 7, 2011: We held the grand finale to our new introduction to robotics course CS4610 today, with undergrad groups demonstrating impressive autonomous algorithms to collect objects among obstacles using vision and map navigation, and grad students showing implementations of visual-servo line following. Ten of our new OHMM robots were used throughout the course. Student feedback included: “Best/most informative class I’ve ever taken”, “The combination of in-class analysis of ideas and out-of-class hands on lab assignments truly embodies the ‘co-op’ mentality of Northeastern’s overall curriculum”.

December 5, 2011: All the main hardware systems have now been validated on our Open Hardware Mobile Manipulator (OHMM), a new small low-cost teaching robot. These include differential drive mobility with quadrature encoder feedback; on-board low- and high-level processors (8bit/20MHz and 32bit/1GHz); wifi and ethernet connectivity; 5A-h NiMH battery; optional AC supply; a 3-DoF arm with gripper; and a mast supporting both a monocular camera and Kinect. All components for the robot are either available off-the-shelf or are fabricated with hand tools, 3D printing, and laser cutting. No custom machining is required. We will be releasing all design files and sourcecode for the robot under open source licenses.

November 16, 2011: We were pleased to host Rob Platt for a visit and seminar today. Rob is currently a research scientist working with Russ Tedrake, Leslie Kaelbling, and Tomas Lozano-Perez at MIT, and he will start as assistant professor at SUNY Buffalo in 2012.

September 27, 2011: We presented our new work on perception in unmodeled environments in the contact and deformation session at IROS in San Fransisco. Prof. Vona was a co-chair of the session along with Jeff Trinkle from RPI.

June 24, 2011: Our new paper Curved Surface Contact Patches with Quantified Uncertainty has been accepted for publication at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2011. See videos and get the source code here.

June 23, 2011: Detailed mechanical design is now complete for our new robot, the Open Hardware Mobile Manipulator “Ohmm”, an open design for a low-cost but capable platform for learning modern algorithms and software techniques in manipulation and locomotion. It combines a differential-drive base, low and high-level onboard processors, a mast with several camera options, bump and distance sensors, and a compliant 3DoF manipulator arm with precision sensing.

April 21, 2011: We were pleased to host our collaborator Jeff Norris of the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a visit and seminar today.

April 20, 2011: We have released a new software package called the Surface Patch Library (SPL) which includes models of 10 types of curved surface patches and an algorithm to fit them to potentially noisy range sensor data. Uncertainty is quantified throughout using covariance matrices. Some of the mathematical foundations of the system are described in this paper.

March 19, 2011: Our new introduction to robotics course CS4610 was approved to be taught in F11. This will be an exciting and challenging course where students will learn to modern robotics software techniques for mobile manipulation. Undergraduate enrollment is now open. There will also be a concurrent graduate version of the course.

January 27, 2011: We were pleased to host Justin Werfel of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for a visit and seminar today.

December 20, 2010: The first offering of our new course Applied Geometric Representation and Computation has just completed as topics course CS7380. A focal point this term was studying Klein and Murray’s work in Parallel Tracking and Mapping (PTAM). Student feedback was very positive: “The well designed syllabus, the course’s projects and the Professor’s/students’ presentations made the class very interactive in a way that everybody became very enthusiastic about the class. In addition this class helped me a lot with my research.

December 15, 2010: We were pleased to host Greg Aloupis of Universite Libre de Bruxelles for a visit and seminar today.

November 18, 2010: John Reif of Duke University visited NEU CCIS today as part of our Distinguished Speaker Lecture series.

July 26, 2010: The Visolate PCB milling system originally developed by Prof. Vona was featured on the Make magazine blog today.

April 8, 2010: A story about Prof. Vona, Expanding Possibilities of Lunar Exploration, was posted on the NEU website today.

February 4, 2010: We were pleased to host Joseph Durham of UCSB for a visit and seminar today.

March 24, 2010: Prof. Vona gave a presentation in the nuACM lecture series today. Video here.