Robotics Seminar Spring 2019

Tuesdays at 3:00-4:00pm, Upson 106 (Conference Room Next to the Lounge).

Light refreshments served starting at 2:45.

Spring 2019 Schedule

 1/22 Malte Jung, Cornell University Beyond Mere Human-Robot Interaction
 Human-robot interaction research to date has been dominated by laboratory studies, largely examining a single human interacting with a single robot. This research has helped establish a fundamental understanding of human-robot interaction, how specific design choices affect interactions with robots, and how novel mechanisms or computational tools can be used to improve HRI. The predominant focus of this growing body of work, however, stands in stark contrast to the complex social contexts in which robots are increasingly placed. As a result, we have a limited understanding of how groups people will interact with robots and how robots will affect how people interact with each other in groups. I will provide an overview of recent research performed at Robots in Groups lab, which addresses questions about human-robot collaboration with groups of people.
1/29 Ross Knepper, Cornell University A Discussion about Issues of Ethics in Robotics
Every engineer has a duty to be aware of the ethical implications of their work.  How could their technologies be used or misused?  What are their impacts on society?  Robotics technologies have the potential to transform society, with impacts on the economy, social relationships, care giving, jobs and work, safety, and many more.  Please come prepared with questions and thoughts about the consequences of robots on society and the world.
2/5  Ross Knepper, Cornell University  What is the best way to validate robotics research?
What makes robotics robotics?  What does it take to validate our robots?  There is a natural tension between building real robots and benchmarking robot algorithms.  Real robot tests do not easily scale to large numbers, meaning that it is hard to take advantage of tools and techniques used by other fields (deep learning, statistical power).  On the other hand, simulations make many approximations and simplifying assumptions that mean algorithms designed in simulation may achieve lackluster performance on real robot hardware.  A standard formula in robotics papers is “proof by video”, which reviewers may give more weight than it deserves.  A new development in the robotics field is a growing interest from computer vision researchers.  They bring with them a culture of standardized benchmarks, large scale datasets, and deep learning techniques.  They deploy robots to navigate within and even interact with the real world, and they are developing new datasets and benchmarks for use in robotics problems.  We will discuss how vision is changing robotics research as well as how robotics is changing vision research.  How will results be evaluated in the future within these neighboring cultures?
2/12 Achim J. Lilienthal, Örebro University Spatial Maps of Dynamics, Long-Term Human Motion Prediction and the Next Best Smelling Robots
 Abstract: In this presentation I will first briefly introduce the Mobile Robot & Olfaction lab at Örebro University, Sweden. Grounded in a basic research interest in perception systems we study, as the name suggests, topics in mobile robotics and mobile robot olfaction (gas-sensitive robots). Following this division, I will present recent work addressing the creation and use of spatial Maps of Dynamics (MoDs), and long-term human motion prediction (mobile robotics) as well as recent developments in mobile robot olfaction, including bout-guided gas source localization and robot assisted gas tomography (mobile robot olfaction).
Bio: Prof. Achim J. Lilienthal is head of the Mobile Robotics and Olfaction Lab at Örebro University, Sweden. His research interests are mobile robot olfaction, rich 3D perception, navigation of autonomous transport robots, human robot interaction and mathematics education research. Achim Lilienthal obtained his Ph.D. in computer science from Tübingen University, Germany and his M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Konstanz, Germany. The Ph.D. thesis addresses gas distribution mapping and gas source localisation with mobile robots. The M.Sc. thesis is concerned with structure analysis of (C60)n+ clusters using gas phase ion chromatography.
2/19 Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Cornell University
2/26 No Seminar February Break
3/5 Ross Knepper, Cornell University & Dylan Shell, Texas A&M University
3/12 Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung, Cornell University
3/19 Wendy Ju, Cornell University
3/26 TBA
4/2 No Seminar Spring Break
4/9 Jacopo Banfi, Cornell University New complexity results and performance-guaranteed algorithms for multirobot navigation of communication-restricted environments
Exploiting a team of mobile robots can provide a valid alternative to the employment of human operators in carrying out different kinds of information-gathering tasks, like environmental monitoring, exploration, and patrolling. Frequently, the proposed coordination mechanisms work under the assumption that communication between robots is possible between any two locations of the environment. However, real operational conditions may require to deploy robots only equipped with local limited-range communication modules. In this talk, I will first present a general graph-based framework for planning multirobot missions subject to different kinds of communication constraints. Then, I will focus on a few selected problems taken from the literature that can be framed in such planning framework (like computing a set of joint paths ensuring global connectivity at selected times), and present either new complexity results or performance-guaranteed algorithms to compute good quality solutions to these problems in reasonable time.
4/16 TBA
4/23 TBA
 4/30 Nialah Wilson, Steven Ceron
 5/7 TBA


The schedule is maintained by Corey Torres ( and Ross Knepper ( To be added to the mailing list, please follow the e-list instructions for joining a mailing list. The name of the mailing list is robotics-l. If you have any questions, please email

Schedules for previous semesters

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