Is cost effective robotics interesting?
Mark Yim, University of Pennsylvania
3:30 p.m., March 2, 2022 | VIrtual
Robotic technologies have shown the capability to do amazing things. But many of those things are too expensive to be useful in any real sense. Cost reduction has often been shunned by research engineers and scientists in academia as “just engineering.” For robotics to make a larger impact on society, the cost problem must be addressed.
Instead of cost reduction processes of existing systems, we will focus on creating novel design ideas to start with. The resulting devices range from mechatronic components (sensors and actuators), robotic components (grippers and drive trains) to full systems (swarms of flying or floating systems).
Along the way we will answer questions like: Can you control a drone to fly in 3D space with just one motor? Can you make a robot gripper that has no motors? Can diff-drive be holonomic? The presented devices taken as a whole result in general principles that guide cost effective systems.
Mark Yim is the Asa Whitney Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Yim is the director of the GRASP Lab, the oldest robotics research laboratory in the country established in 1980. His research group designs and builds a variety of electromechanical hardware. Demonstrations range from a humanoid robot on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to transforming robots that can change their shape to the smallest self-powered flying robot in the world. His other research interests include product design, robotic performance art, novel locomotion, low-cost manipulation, in the search and rescue as well as healthcare applications. Honors include the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (UPenn’s highest teaching honor); induction to MIT’s TR100 in 1999; induction to the National Academy of Inventors. He has over 200 publications and over 50 patents issued (perhaps the most prominent patents are related to the video game vibration control which resulted in over US$100 million in litigation and settlements). He has started three companies, one in robotics and one medical device company making a steerable needle and one focused on thermal storage.