Steven’s summer project with NASA JSC, IHMC and U. Michigan on Intuitive Whole-Body Control of Valkyrie!

This video summarizes the deployment of applications on Valkyrie performed by Steven Jens Jorgensen from the U. of Texas at Austin and other researchers at NASA, IHMC, and U. Michigan. Given desired end-effector poses, a nonlinear optimization routine is used to solve the whole-body Inverse Kinematics (IK) of NASA’s Valkyrie robot while satisfying balance constraints. The joint position solutions are converted to the appropriate messages and are sent to IHMC’s controller interface, which interpolates between the robot’s initial (current) configuration to the desired configuration using third-order functions (polynomial for positions and a hermite curve for orientations). By specifying just the hand pose, a preliminary grasp planner uses the Whole-body IK solver to command Valkyrie’s hand to the desired pose. The Whole-body work is a collaboration between NASA and the Human-Centered Robotics Lab (HCRL) at the University of Texas at Austin. The grasp planner is from The Laboratory for Progress at the University of Michigan. This work was partially supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF) under the grant number NNX15AQ42H.


Behold, the Draco liquid cooled compliant robotic leg prototype

The video below shows the new Draco liquid cooled prototype leg produced as a collaboration between the Human Centered Robotics Lab and Apptronik Systems.. We have developed a new liquid cooled viscoelastic actuator capable of significantly surpassing the mechanical power of legged systems with convection cooling. The leg was presented during the Office of Naval Research S&T Expo in Washington DC.

IJRR Paper Accepted

Big congratulations to Ye for having his theoretical locomotion paper accepted!!

Y. Zhao, B. Fernandez, L. Sentis, Robust Optimal Planning and Control of Non-Periodic Bipedal Locomotion with A Centroidal Momentum Model, International Journal of Robotics Research, Accepted, July 2017

Congrats to Students for Best Manipulation Paper Award

Congratulations to Prashant Rao from the ReNeu Lab, Gray Thomas from the Human Centered Robotics Lab, and ReNeu’s Lab PI Ashish Deshpande, for winning the IEEE ICRA 2017 Best Robotic Manipulation Paper Award!

Workshop Talk IEEE ICRA 2017

Gray, Donghyun and Luis had a blast talking about our new lab’s pet topic “Uncertainty in Human-Centered Robots” #icra2017 #singapore #marinabaysands

Abstract: Uncertainty permeates in all control approaches and significantly complicates controller design. This is specially true for human-centered robots which rely on oversimplications such as ignoring high-frequency behaviors or realtime delays to central computers. In this talk Luis will join forces with HCRL students Gray and Donghyun to present detailed mathematical work on choosing structure for measuring uncertainty in a meaningful statistical sense, motivate the nature of uncertainty in hardware systems involving high performance series elastic actuators, and devise a planning and control framework that embraces uncertainty to external disturbances via reinforcement learning of locomotion responses.

Kenan Isik Defends his PhD. Congratulations!

Welcome Toyota HSR Platform Unit #38

Look at our new robotic companion, the Toyota HSR. Fun times ahead for #RoboCup2017 #UTAustin.

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Click below for some seriously fun talks in social impacts of robotics

Media from IEEE ARSO 2017 Organized by the HCRL.


RoboCup@Home 2017 – Here we Come


Snapshot XPRIZE POPSCI Interview at SXSW Cognitive Robots

PI, Luis Sentis gave a 45 minutes interview during SXSW discussing cognitive computational control and human-centered robotics. Here is a preview snapshot. The full interview will be aired later in the year by XPRIZE.

RoboCup@Home 2017 Semi-Autonomous Grocery Organization

Qualification Material for RoboCup@Home 2017: Semi-autonomous grocery organization using the Dreamer compliant humanoid robot with whole-body control. Speech recognition and synthesis enabled.
Participants: Kwan Suk Kim, Jaemin Lee, Minkyu Kim, Steve Jorgensen, Luis Sentis

HCRLers talk at SXSW 2017

Title: A Developer’s Primer for Coding Human Behavior in Bots
Abstract: This session demonstrated ways to model human-robot interaction (HRI) using a practical coding scenario. We explored how to program a humanoid robot head that manages its eye contact to maximize “connection” and minimize “social awkwardness” in human interaction. This session addressed practical computational questions and frame cognitive modeling problems based on intuitive mechanical analogies. We leveraged the power of feedback Whole-Body Control to generate useful behaviors – and demonstrated the results on the Dreamer Humanoid robot head!
Participants: Steven Jorgensen, Travis Llado, Orion Campbell, Luis Sentis

New MS Thesis on Human-Robot Interaction

We are very pleased to have the MS Thesis on Human Detection, Gesture Recognition, and Policy Generation for Human-Aware Robots, completed from our own Steven Jorgensen. Congratulations!


Cognitive Study on Gaze Interactions

People Talking to Dreamer

arXiv Paper Link

IEEE ARSO 2017 Speaker Line Up

We are very pleased to have an all star line up of keynote speakers for the IEEE International Workshop of Advanced Robotics and its Social Impact in Austin, during March 8-10, 2017: (1) Ruzena Bajcsy, Director Emerita of Citrus at the University of California at Berkeley and co-founder of the renown GRASP laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania , (2) Sabine Hauert, Professor of Swarm Robotics at the University of Bristol, TED talk speaker, and expert in science communication, (3) Mady Delvaux, member of the European Parliament and advocate of increasing digital competences in education systems, and (4) Alan Manning, a renowned UK labour economist and professor of the London School of Economics.

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You can find the biographies of the speakers on this link.

Additionally, a panel in conjunction with SXSW is scheduled to take place on Friday March 10, 2017.

IEEE-RAS International Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts

The HCRL is very pleased to announce the 2nd call for submissions, due on October 7th, for the IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts. ARSO is a single track workshop with top scientific and social papers gathering an eclectic mix of researchers, scientists, and thinkers intersecting the area of robotics and autonomous systems from various perspectives. Consider submitting your top research studies addressing significant scientific, computational, and experimental questions in advanced robotics and its broader impacts, including:

  • Science of autonomous systems
  • Comparative studies of humans and robots
  • Large-scale software development for robotics
  • Data and prediction sciences for just-it-time feedback (social and robotic systems)
  • Mission centered robotics for scientific exploration: space and marine environments
  • Experimental robotics: robustness, adaptation, safety, and security
  • Robotics in education
  • Rehabilitation, ortthotic, and prosthetic sciences and devices
  • Industrial and manufacturing trends in robotics
  • Robotic innovation and startups
  • Ethical and legal issues in robotics
  • Labour dynamics influenced by robotics
  • Robotics in emerging markets: defense, oil and gas, and health
  • Robot assistants, companions, and artificial life systems
  • Perceptual studies using robotics

Notice that there are various options for submission:

  1. Full conference papers (peer reviewed and published in IEEE Xplore, 6 pages, with up to 2 additional pages) on significant research/scientific questions and methods (oral or interactive presentations)
  2. Abstracts (2 pages) on all topics (oral or interactive presentations)
  3. Proposals for organized sessions (2 pages) on all topics (oral presentations in the style of a panel)

Full papers will published in IEEE Xplore.



All the best,

ARSO 2017 Organizing Committee