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RBE Colloquium Series: Dr. Siavash Farzan | Underactuated Brachiating Robots Traversing Flexible Cables: From Concept to Reality


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, September 03, 2021
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Floor/Room #: 



Dr. Siavash Farzan

Assistant Teaching Professor, Robotics Engineering WPI

Underactuated Brachiating Robots Traversing Flexible Cables: From Concept to Reality

Friday, September 3, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Gateway Park 60 Prescott St. | Rm. 1002


Abstract: The ability of mobile robots to locomote safely in unstructured environments will be a cornerstone of robotics of the future. One avenue for deploying mobile robots into unstructured settings is to utilize elevated wire networks. This talk presents the development of a new class of wire-borne underactuated robots that employs brachiation -- swinging like an ape -- as a means of locomotion on flexible cables. Executing safe brachiation maneuvers with a cable-suspended underactuated robot is a challenging problem due to the complications induced by the cable dynamics and vibrations. From concept through experiments, this talk discusses the dynamic modeling techniques and control algorithms required to enable energy-efficient and robust brachiation motions on flexible cables. A novel hardware brachiating robot design and embodiment are presented, incorporating unique mechanical design features and providing a reliable testbed for experimental validation of the wire-borne underactuated brachiating robots.

Bio: Siavash Farzan is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Robotics Engineering Department at WPI. He received a Ph.D. in Robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2021. His current research focuses on safety-critical motion planning and control of underactuated robotic systems, while providing formal guarantees on their performance in the presence of modeling uncertainties and disturbances. Farzan brings several years of experience in industry as an embedded systems engineer into classroom. He has an interest in innovative instructional technologies, and has co-developed the first lab-based online Mechatronics course (hosted on edX), which brings hands-on mechatronics education to students around the world.