On 6/19/2017, Namita Anil Kumar defended her thesis which is titled "Design of a portable and compact gyroscopic device for hand rehabilitation."

Namita will continue her work to pursue a doctoral degree at A&M.

Congratulations, Namita!

In April 19-21, 2017, I attended a Wearable Robotics Workshop in Phoenix, AZ.

There were many interesting talks from renown researchers including key note speakers Dr. Goldfarb and Dr. Kazerooni.

Also, many companies presented their products including Hocoma, Ekso Bionics, Ottobock, Parker Hannifin, B-Temia, ReWalk Robotics, Rex Bionics.

https://wra5.wildapricot.org/event-2359716

Dr. Goldfarb visited TAMU to give a talk in the MEEN department seminar on 3/30/17.

Dr. Goldfarb is the world-renown researcher and pioneer in prosthesis and exoskeleton.

We enjoyed his insightful presentations and discussion.

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Ivan Gutierrez Arias visited our group for a brief intern in Spring 2017. Ivan is a senior student from Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Chile. Ivan and Seungjun worked on experimental validation of the biomechanical model of assistive glove for stroke patients.

Ivan stayed from 1/14/2017 to 3/10/2017.

I will miss you Ivan.

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From March 31st to April 1st 2017, we attended South Central American Society of Biomechanics (SCASB) at Plano, TX. SCASB is a regional meeting before annual national ASB meeting. Students had opportunities to present their work in front of many other researchers mostly from research institutes in Texas.

I was also invited to give a talk as a Key Note Speaker.

Moein's research was selected for a best paper award.

Congratulations!

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Namita presented at ARSO 2017 workshop at Austin on 3/8/2017.

Her presentation is titled "A User-Centric Feedback Device for Powered Wheelchairs Comprising a Wearable Skin Stretch Device and a Haptic Joystick."

This study was part of Han's research where Namita helped Han with the user-centric design of the wearable skin stretch device.

Her presentation was very clear and well-received at the workshop.

Please enjoy the video.

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On 3/7/2017, Daniel McGowan defended his thesis which is titled "Design of a Light Weight Modular Powered Transfemoral Prosthesis."

Dan designed a modular, light-weight and energy-efficient prosthesis using passive spring components.

The details of his thesis and presentation video cannot be shared here due to the patent issues.

If these are cleared out, I will share the information here.

Congratulations, Dan!

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Last Fall semester 2016, it was my third time in a row teaching the stacked course of MEEN 408 (Introduction to Robotics) and MEEN 612 (Mechanics of Robotic Manipulator) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M. MEEN408/612 usually covered kinematics and dynamics of robotic manipulators in the first half of the semester and nonlinear control of the robot in the second half of the semester. Also, students presented class projects at the end of the semester. Based on the observation and experiences of the two past years, I had two issues.

- Nonlinear control part was too challenging for the most of the undergraduate students and fairly large amount of the graduate students. Obviously, some graduate students were very keen on learning nonlinear control theory, though.
- The quality of the class project was not satisfactory since students had hard times in implementing what they have learned from the class into hardware control problem and they didn't have much time left once they barely understand how to play with the hardware. FYI, there are tendencies that undergraduate students wanted to play with hardware control with Arduino and graduate students wanted to do simulations.

At the beginning of the Fall semester 2016, I decided to change the course a little bit as follows:

- Some of nonlinear controller design part were dropped. I covered these in MEEN655 (Design of Nonlinear Control System) in Spring 2016 and, maybe, these will be covered somehow in a new (so-called) "advanced robotics" next year.
- The class project was more systematically managed.

First of all, I termed the class project as "Robotics Challenge." Students were notified the details of robotics challenge and what they are supposed to do at the challenge on the first day of the class. The following was the description that students were given on the Robotics Challenge.

To better understand the details of the tasks, the following pictorial explanation was given. In one word, it 's about everything of manipulator control. It includes kinematics, dynamics and control of the robotic manipulators. What is more challenging was that students had to do motion planning so that the optimal position/velocity profiles and release timing had to be administered in real time to maximize the chances to get scores. The distance, height and angle of the target were randomly selected and given to the students to make the Challenge more challenging.

I decided to introduce students something that can be used in any robotics fields (e.g., industry or academia). It is true that Robot Operating System (ROS) is becoming the stardard in both academia and industry. ROS is a robotics framework that can facilitate the integration of many heterogeneous robots over the networks. And Beaglebone Black (BBB) is a very small single board computer that is very powerful for hardware control. BBB has 69 GPIO, 8 PWM, 3 Enhanced Quadrature Encoder Pulse (eQEP) Modules, 2 I2C, 7 Analog Inputs, and any other usual peripheries. The problems I had with ROS and BBB were that almost all students had no experiences on these. BBB also has 512MiB RAM, 1GHz AM335x ARM with an FP accelerator, 4GiB on-board flash AND and external SDcard slot, Ethernet, USB-Host, HDMI, 2 on-board fast programmable microprocessors (the PRUs, 200-MHz, 32-bit).

However, I had more challenging problems. How can students learn ROS and BBB to accomplish the "Robotics Challenge" at the end of the semester? Since I needed to cover robotics theory in the classroom, I couldn't set aside any classroom hours for the Lab. So, I, by myself, made Video Lectures for the Lab materials on ROS and BBB as follows:

- ROS: Installation of ROS in BBB with Ubuntu
- ROS: Hello World w/ ROS
- ROS: Topic Example
- BBB: Control of Built-in LEDs
- BBB: GPIO and using C++
- BBB: ADC and C++
- BBB: PWM and C++
- BBB: eQEP (Quadrature Encoder)
- BBB: Combining all C++, making your own library
- ROS: Network setting
- BBB: Servomotor and C++
- BBB: DC Motor and C++, Integration of BBB and ROS

Students were asked to watch and follow the video lectures. They had to screen-capture and send the Lab demo to TA so that they can get credits. However, this wasn't any burden to students since the Lab was based on each team of 8 students, meaning that each team (not individual student) had to submit the Lab demo results to TA. There were some other advanced topics including "Making Device Tree Overlay" to reconfigure hardware setting. Even though I didn't cover these in the video lectures, I taught these for those teams that needed complicated hardware settings.

In class, I covered the following materials.

- Linear Algebra
- Forward and Inverse Kinematics
- Velocity Kinematics and Jacobian
- Path and Trajectory Planning
- Dynamics
- Joint Control including (Normal, Robust, Adaptive) Inverse Dynamics and Passivity-based Control.

Whenever possible, I tried to give examples related to the Challenge. Oh, yes, I dropped sliding mode control, optimal control, several optimization-based controls, and feedback linearization which I covered in the past two years.

Let me talk about the recommended settings for the Challenge.

First of all, students had to use at least two BBB's: one for actuation and one for sensing. They were allowed to use PC's for complicated computation or visual display. Some students used MATLAB-ROS package to make use of computing power of MATLAB. All of these including BBB's and PC's were integrated with ROS over each team's local network.

Gripper control was another challenging. Releasing with perfect timing is a hard problem. Even with the perfect timing, slight perturbations due to various factors including friction may change the initial projectile angle and velocity. Recommended solution was to use electromagnetic mechanism. Two teams chose electromagnetic mechanism and the other two teams used the generic gripper mechanism.

The following is the score sheet.

And, there's what each team did. Even though not every team could accomplish the tasks, I can say that the Challenge was successful. Beginning from this, I can expect a lot more exciting and challenging "Robotics Challenge" in the following years.

**Please appreciate each team's preparation.**

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

**Here are the pictures and videos from the "Robotics Challenge" on 12/7/2016 at ENPH 301.**

**The video is at the end of this page.**

The video is about 20-min long.

Team4: at 1:10

Team2: at 2:45

Team1: at 4:00

Team3: at 7:40

If you don't have time to watch all, I recommend jumping to 7:40.

Thank you for your hard work during the semester.

Han, Shawanee and Lanna left early.

At the Buffalo Wild Wing on 12/14/2016

Woolim and I attended IROS 2016 in Korea last October.

Woolim presented control of upslope walking of transfermoral prosthesis using spline optimization on behalf of Victor.

I am also attaching pictures of some other interesting robots.

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This year, American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) was held in Raleigh, NC from 8/2-8/5.

As we did last year, the whole group attended ASB.

We flew from Houston to Atlanta.

From Atlanta, we rented two cars and drove to the Smoky mountain at Gatlinburg, TN.

Next day, after staying at a cabin one night, we visited Clingmans Dome.

At the Clingmans Dome, I understood that why this mountain is called the Smoky mountain.

In the afternoon, we drove to Raleigh via Charlott.

The conference itself was very informative and helpful to all of us.

Specifically, for about the half of the students, it was their first conference.

They learned various research in this field and became interactive with many other students at the conferences.

They asked questions to researchers and shared their contacts.

Well, we also enjoyed 5k running early in the morning.

To be honest, it was for Dan.

At the end, Woolim and I almost walked.

At the conference, we presented 5 studies.

Three of them were poster presentation, one was podium and one was thematic poster.

Next year, ASB will be held in Boulder, CO.

I don't know if the whole group can travel together again next year.

However, this is HUR Group and all group members will be together.

I am attaching only some pictures.

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Victor finished his MS degree and left college station on 6/10/2016 (Friday).

We had a farewell party after we came back from Dynamic Walking Conference.

Victor was a versatile student who was very good at all of hardware, simulation, mathematics and theory in control and dynamics, specifically in bipedal walking.

We will miss you.

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Since Robot Operating System (ROS) becomes more popular and the standards in the academia and industry, I decided to have a ROS tutorial for HUR Group.

Two weeks before the Fall 2016 semester starts, I gave a three-day ROS tutorial.

Starting 8am till noon for 3 days, I covered ROS history, concepts, programming, topic example, interfacing with depth cameras, git, etc.

I also prepared coffee in the morning.

ROS version was Indigo and Ubuntu version was 14.04.

I wanted to cover the integration of ROS with beaglebone black (BBB), but I had some urgent family issue in Korea and I couldn't do the integration.

Instead, Kenneth volunteered to cover how to use git and how to collaborate using git. For practice, they worked on the documentation of ROS tutorial based on my tutorial using git and latex.

Thanks Kenneth.

In the Robotics class that I taught for Fall 2016, I covered the integration of ROS and BBB.

No pictures available for the tutorial!!!

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Kenneth and I attended American Control Conference (ACC) at Boston from July 6-9, 2016.

Kenneth presented his work titled "Unification of Locomotion Pattern Generation and Control Lyapunov Function-Based Quadratic Programs."

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Dynamic Walking Conference 2016 was held at Camp Ohiyesa, in Holly, MI from June 4, 2016 to June 7, 2016.

Victor, Kenneth and I attended the conference.

We presented two works: one on push recovery mechanism by Victor and one on foot placement estimation during slipping using Capture Point method by Kenneth.

This conference was very useful in terms of theoretical approach in bipedal walking.

We also met many world-renown researchers.

The CAMP itself was interesting and there were many entertaining activities.

Obviously, camp fire was fantastic.

http://dynamicwalking.org/index.php/dw/2016

Some pictures.

Note that in each picture, at least one of us are there. Find it.

Victor's Presentation. (1 min lightning talk)

I lost Kenneth's Presentation (5min talk). Sorry about that.