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Company Profile

Professor Choset's education and research interests straddle the border between computational theory and mechatronic engineering implementation: rigorous mathematical results enable engineering advancements while the practical aspects of implementation drive theoretical derivation. Professor Choset's research program centers on two foci: highly articulated system and coverage tasks. One such highly articulated system is a snake robot which can exploit its many internal degrees of freedom to thread through tightly packed volumes accessing locations that people and conventional machinery otherwise cannot. The two great challenges facing snake robot research is design and path planning. Since we are interested in applications such as urban search and rescue and inspection of engines, our snake robots must maneuver in three-dimensions and still posses a small cross-sectional diameter. Our current designs maximize mechanical strength per cross-section diameter by allowing the point of power transmission to occur at the periphery of the device. Ultimately, Professor Choset's long-term goal is to develop highly articulate snake-like robots for minimally invasive surgery; the idea here is that the snake robot can reach deeper into the body without a need for additional or large incisions. Currently, his group is developing a device for cardiac surgery. Once the snake robot is built, it still requires control. Simple engineering hacks alone are not sufficient to coordinate the internal degrees of freedom to allow for purposeful motion. Essentially, the robot must plan in a multi-dimensional, one for each degree-of-freedom, space. Our approach uses a retract-like structure of the space, which reduces planning from a multi-dimensional search problem to a one-dimensional search. In 1997, Professor Choset received the NSF Career award to develop this retract-like structure. However, the retract structure is not enough; each path generated by the retract must be optimized so that the snake robot can more easily follow it. Naturally, with all optimization problems, we must contend with local minima. Here, we take recourse to homotopy theory where were the retract-like structure serves as a topological map that seeds a set of candidate searches of the robot's free space, one of which leads to the global optimum. Here, we are exploiting the natural topology encoded in the free space to divide into regions each having simple structure and optimizing within each simple space a cost function. This approach is general: the cost function can be anything: path length, safety, energy, etc. For snake robots, we have defined a "snake robot" cost function. Currently, we are developing new techniques for the snake robot to crawl and climb in three-dimensions.

Product Range

  • Mechatronics in medicine
  • Medical robotics research: Bone tissue engineering
  • Medical robotics research: Instrumented endoscopic tool
  • Medical robotics research: Robot assisted surgery
  • Mobile robot research: Climbing robot
  • Mobile robot research: Field and service robots
  • Mobile robot research: Mechatronics
  • Mobile robot research: Micro robots
  • Mobile robot research: Micromotion manipulator
  • Mobile robot research: Mobil robot locomotion strategies
  • Mobile robot research: Multi-Degree-of- Freedom (MDOF) vehicle
  • Mobile robot research: Pipe inspection robots
  • Mobile robot research: ROV
  • Mobile robot research: Safety, security and rescue robots (SSRR)
  • Mobile robot research: Service robot
  • Mobile robot research: Snake robots
  • Mobile robot research: Teleoperation and remote handling systems
  • Mobile robot research: Underwater snake
  • Mobile robot research: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
  • Research in the field of robotics
  • Robotics research: Mobile robotics