Plenary Speech

Performance, Reliability and Usability – An industrial Measure for Robotics

Dr. Said Zahrai
Corporate Executive Scientist, ABB Group
Adjunct Professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Ever since robots entered the world of manufacturing, they have taken over inconvenient, repetitive, dangerous and heavy duties that expose human workers to health related risks. Doing that economically, designs needed to be at an optimal balance between cost, speed and accuracy, simultaneously providing long service time. With time, other aspects have shown importance on economics of robotic automation: the engineering effort for building, operating and maintaining systems have become an increasingly significant topic. Seeking the perfect balance forms challenges industrial engineering and academic societies have been joining forces to meet. Using technological advances, engineers and scientists have been modernizing robotics and pushing the limits forward. Although tremendous achievements have been made, new requirements continue to bring new challenges that need to be met. During this talk, we review some of technical milestones of historical value and further look into the current and future needs. We discuss trends and challenges in the industry and the way academia and industry could possibly jointly overcome them.
Speaker Bio
Dr. Said Zahrai is one of ABB’s Corporate Executive Scientists heading Innovation at Business Unit Robotics. During the past 15 years at Robotics, Said has been engaged globally in developing new technologies, products and services based on a multidisciplinary combination of technologies ranging from mechanics to electronics and software. As head of innovation, he is working with a network of talents and organizations for acceleration of innovation in the industry and society. He leads engineering teams to extend usability and applicability of robots in industrial space among others by integration of sensors and machine intelligence into more traditional algorithms. Prior to Robotics, Said was with ABB’s central research organization, ABB Corporate Research, with focus on applied mathematics, modeling, simulation and optimization of various industrial products and processes. Said holds Master degree in Engineering Physics, PhD in Hydromechanics and a Docent title from Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH). He has been conducting academic research in multiphase and magneto-hydrodynamic turbulence modeling and directing graduate studies as Adjunct Professor at Department of Mechanics, KTH.

Theory and Technology of Tri-Co Robots

Dr. Han Ding
Dean, School of Mechanical Science and Engineering,
Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
(Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The Tri-Co Robots (Coexisting-Cooperative-Cognitive Robots) are those that can naturally interact and collaborate with the operating environment, human as well as other robots, and be adaptive to the complex dynamic environments. The characteristics of Tri-Co robots include: compliant and dexterous structure, multi-modal perception, distributed autonomous and collaborative ability. This talk will introduce the current research activities of robotics in China, especially the Tri-Robot Research Plan of NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China), including the scientific challenges, key scientific problems and main research contents of the plan from the aspects of structure, perception and control, followed by the forecasts on China’s expected breakthroughs and goals in Tri-Co robot research domain. After that, the challenges of robotic techniques in machining are analyzed and summarized, and the recent research works in our group are also introduced.
Speaker Bio
Prof. Han Ding received his Ph.D. degree in Mechatronics from Huazhong University of Science & Technology in 1989. Supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Prof. Ding worked at University of Stuttgart, Germany in 1993. He obtained the National Distinguished Youth Scientific Fund in 1997 and was employed as the “Cheung Kong” Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2001. He was elected a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013.
Prof. Ding has long dedicated himself to the research work in the field of robotics and digital manufacturing and successfully combines the robotics and manufacturing technologies. He published three academic books and more than 300 journal papers, and licensed more than 60 patents in China. Prof. Ding acted as an Associate Editor (2003-2007) and an Editor (2011-) of IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. He was a Technical Editor of IEEE/ASME Trans. on Mechatronics from 2010 to 2014. Currently, he is a Senior Editor of IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. As a General Co-Chair, he hosted the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation held in Shanghai, China in 2011.

Artificial Intelligence and Medicine (AIMed)

Dr. Chih-Ming Ho
Distinguished Professor, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
and Applied Science, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automobile leads to “car without driver”, which is a revolutionary change. Transport vehicles become truly and completely automated! At the infancy stage, it is not yet clear where the new paradigm of fusing artificial intelligence with medicine is. However, we should not be limited to apply AI just for data mining of medical big data.
The current molecular mechanism based omic approach for developing a new drug takes billions of dollars and 10-15 years. Drug interacting with the non-linear and dynamically evolving patient’s body is an infinite database not just a big database. Apparently, a revolution change is needed.
Recently, we have discovered that the drug-dose inputs are correlated with the phenotypic outputs with a Parabolic Response Surface (PRS). With a few calibration tests to determine the coefficients of the quadratic algebraic equation governing PRS. PRS is able to dictate the composition and the ratio of a globally optimized drug combination for treating disease. Fusing AI with the unorthodox PRS approach will redefine the drug discovery pathway and guide patient’s body through efficient, affordable and safe therapy toward a desired phenotype for improving human health.
Speaker Bio
Chih-Ming Ho is a Distinguished Research Professor in UCLA School of Engineering. His research interest is in control of complex systems including personalized medicine, microfluidics, biosensor and turbulence. In 1997, Dr. Ho was inducted as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. In the next year, he was elected as an Academician of Academia Sinica. Dr. Ho received Doctor of Engineering Honoris Causa from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Dr. Ho holds ten honorary chair professorships including the Einstein Professorship from Chinese Academy of Science. Dr. Ho is Fellow of AAAS, APS, AIAA, AIMBE and 3M-Nano Society.

Plantoids: How Plant-inspired Technologies Push the Boundaries of Robot Abilities

Dr. Barbara Mazzolai
Director, Center for Micro-BioRobotics
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy

Bioinspiration is an ancient concept, currently consolidated in robotics. The emergence of a bioinspired approach in robotics represents an innovative way to rethink robot design since new strategies, new patterns of movement, new sensing or actuation abilities can be proposed to build innovative robotic systems. This new class of robots is expected to act in unstructured scenarios (e.g., locomotion in un-certain terrains, manipulation of unknown objects, accomplishment of non-predetermined tasks, etc.) and interact more safely with humans. Biological principles traditionally originate from animal models for robots that can walk, swim, crawl, or fly. Plantoid represents the first robot that imitates plants and their behaviors. In this talk I will introduce Plantoid and its new paradigm of movement in robotics, inspired by the growing abilities of plants. Unlike the majority of animals that grow until they reach maturity, plants grow for their entire life showing an indeterminate growth. Such feature endows plants with movement capabilities on a different time scale, purposively, effectively and efficiently. Plantoid demonstrates that plants are exceptional models for conceiving innovative technologies, such as self-growing soft robots, new sensors, actuators, control architectures, and materials.
Speaker Bio
Barbara Mazzolai is Director of the Center for Micro-BioRobotics and Deputy Director for the Supervision and Organization of the IIT Centers Network.
She graduated (MSc) in Biology (with Honours) at the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1995, and received the Ph.D. in Microsystem Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. From 1994 to 1998 she worked at the Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council in Pisa. In 1998 she obtained an International Master Degree in Eco-Management and Audit Schemes at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) in Pisa. From February 1999 until June 2004 she had a position at the Center for Research in Microengineering (CRIM Lab, now the BioRobotics Institute) of SSSA as Research Assistant and, from July 2004 to October 2009, as Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at SSSA. She was co-founder of the Research Centre on Sea Technologies and Marine Robotics of SSSA in Livorno. From November 2009 to February 2011 she was Team Leader at the CMBR. Since January 2017 she is Visiting Faculty at Aerial Robotics Lab, Department of Aeronautics, of Imperial College of London.
In 2010 she received the “Marisa Bellisario” Award for her scientific and management activities in the EU DustBot project for improving the urban hygiene and the quality of life of citizens. In 2013 she was awarded the Medal of the Senate of the Italian Republic for her scientific activities in biomimetics and biorobotics. In 2015 she was listed among the 25 most influential women in robotics by RoboHub. Her current scientific activity focuses on bioinspired soft robotics, with a particular research interest in merging biology and engineering. She has a long experience as Project Manager of European Projects in this field (e.g. OCTOPUS, FP7-231608; HydroNet, FP7-212790; DustBot, FP6-045299; EMECAP, QLK4-CT-2000-00489; etc.) and she was the Coordinator of the FET-Open PLANTOID European Project (n° 293431). She has also been member of panels of the European Commission within the Seventh Frame Program in the field of Robotics and ICT, and of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology in the field of Environment and Health. She is member of the Editorial Board of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Soft Robotics, Biomimetics, Robotics & Automation Letters, and Associated Editor for Frontiers in Bionics and Biomimetics. She served as Associated Editor for ICRA 2017, IROS and IEEE RA-L 2017, IROS 2013, as Government Forum Co-Chair for IROS 2016, and Publicity Co-Chair for BIOROB 2012.
She is also member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen and Stuttgart, Germany. She is author of more than 180 papers appeared in international journals, books, and conference proceedings. She is member of the IEEE, and of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and of the Robotics and Automation Society.

Delivery of Large-Sized Cargo into Cells with Light

Dr. Eric P. Y. Chiou
Professor, Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Enabling technologies for transferring large-sized cargo into mammalian cells are needed to advance key applications in cell engineering. High-throughput delivery of organelles, modified intracellular pathogens, proteins, and other cargo is required to obtain reliable statistical data. However, reliable methodologies for introducing large-sized cargo into mammalian cells at high throughput have not existed. Here, we report a massively parallel platform for high-throughput delivery of large cargo directly into the cytosol of mammalian cells. Cargo up to a micron in size or more can be reproducibly delivered into 100,000 cells on the platform in a minute. The delivery platform is a compact chip on which hundreds of thousands of micron-sized cavitation bubbles explode in response to laser pulse illumination. High-speed fluid flows near cavitation bubbles disrupt contacting cell membranes with precision, resulting in micron-sized transient membrane pores. Pressured flow provides an active driving force to speed slow diffusing large cargo through these pores before they reseal. We have reproducibly delivered large cargo including micron-sized bacteria, enzymes, antibodies, and functional nanoparticles into a variety of cell lines, including three different types of primary cells, with high efficiency and high cell viability. Massively parallel and nearly simultaneous delivery of cargo into cells under the same physiological conditions enables reliable statistical measurements of cargo interactions with cells over time.
Speaker Bio
Dr. Pei-Yu Chiou received his Ph.D. degree in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005. He received his M.S. degree in the Electrical Engineering Department from UCLA and B.S. degree in the Mechanical Engineering Department from National Taiwan University in 1998. He was an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) between 2006~2011, associate professor between 2011~2015, and full professor since then. His research interests focus on optofluidics, biophotonics, Lab on Chip, and flexible devices. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2008, UCLA MAE Teaching Award in 2014, JALA TOP TEN innovation award in 2015. He was elected to the fellowship of the College of Fellows at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2017. He has 15 international and US patents and a co-founder of NanoCav LLC.

Biological Intelligence Across Scales and Inspiration for Artificial Intelligence in Robotics

Dr. Mingjun Zhang
Professor, Nano-biomaterials, Robotics and Brain Health Laboratory
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Surgery (Courtesy)
Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute
Neurological Institute
Biophysics Program
Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies
The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA

It is believed that through evolution nature has provided some of the greatest and most intelligent structures ever created in the earth, ranging in scale and complexity from DNA to the human brain. A deeper understanding of these structures may provide valuable insight to address some of the most important biological and engineering challenges currently facing our communities. One of the major challenges that has been explored over the years is biological intelligence evolved over time across scales from different organisms. Of particular interest is how the biological intelligence may be employed to inspire artificial intelligence for robotic applications. While the interpretation of “biological intelligence” may be different in plants and animals, there is still a strong collection of supporting evidence that intelligence from either of them could have proven favorable influences for robotics, even though the underlying molecular mechanisms for realizing artificial intelligence in robotics and the biological intelligence in nature are totally different. In an effort to obtain insight from some of the many different decision-making strategies employed in biology, this study looked at plants and microorganisms in different scales in order to determine whether general principles could be identified in sensing, actuation and control, along with the already proposed scaling of organisms as a result of natural selection. For the purposes of this study, the theory that organisms have increased in size throughout evolution was utilized and upheld as a means for comparison. The ultimate goal of this talk is to synergistically compare biological intelligence from nature across scales selected over the course of evolution, and to employ the underlying principles for robotic intelligence. We will report results of our recent studies on nanoparticle based sensing, actuation and control, and mathematical formulation of unusual intelligence in plants, microorganisms and humans.
Speaker Bio
Mingjun Zhang is a Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery (courtesy), Neurological Institute and Davis Heart and Lung Institute at The Ohio State University. He received the Doctor of Science degree in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, and the PhD degree in Industrial Automation from Zhejiang University. He also holds MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering respectively from Stanford University. His BS/MS degrees were in Mechanical from Zhejiang University. He first discovered that ivy secretes nanoparticles for surface affixing (Nano Lett, 2008). In 2011, his group discovered a unique multi-flagella-based swimming mechanism of Giardia (PNAS) that has bee proposed for micro/nano-robotic propulsion. In 2012, his group discovered the curved swimming trajectories of whirligig beetles are more energy efficient than linear trajectories, which explains why they are more often observed in nature (PLoS Comp. Bio.). In 2013, his group discovered nanoparticles secreted from a carnivorous fungus could be used for immunochemotherapy (Adv. Func. Mater.). In 2014, his group discovered that T. foetus has distinct flagellar beating motions for linear swimming and turning, and multi-flagellated propulsion does not necessarily contribute to greater thrust generation, and may have evolved for greater maneuverability or sensing (J. Roy. Soc., Inter.). In 2016, his group self-assembled first GFP/YFP/BFP-inspired fluorescent peptide nanoparticle shifting ultraviolet light to visible range (Nature Nanotechnology). In 2017, his research group discovered a new class of “physical biomarkers” for Alzheimer’s disease, and developed a computational algorithm to integrate the biomarkers and cognitive assessments to diagnose AD and predict its progression (Science Advances). His long-term research goal is to create a library of functional nanoparticles and used them as building blocks for sensing, actuation and control in medicine and robotics. Mingjun’s research has been sponsored by NSF, ARO, AFRL, ONR, ORNL, National Academies’ Keck Future Initiative, Mangurian Foundation, Ross Center for Brain Health and Performance and industries. Research results from his laboratory were highlighted by Science, Nature, AAAS Science, BBC news, Alzheimer’s News, American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering Society, and the National Science Foundation of USA. He was awarded Early Career Awards by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, and the Office of Naval Research. He has 7 years biotechnology industry working experience in Silicon Valley, California, USA.

Keynote Speech

Surface-tension Actuation of Multiple Microrobots and Reconfigurable Electronics

Dr. Aaron T. Ohta
Associate Professor, Dept. of Electronic Engineering,
University of Hawaii, USA

Control of surface tension is a powerful tool for microscale systems. This talk will cover the use of surface tension as an actuation mechanism for two systems: microrobotic manipulation systems, and reconfigurable electronic circuits for communication systems.
Our lab has developed optically controlled microrobot platforms that integrate functionality suitable for tissue engineering and single-cell analysis. The optically controlled microrobots use light to modulate the surface tension of microbubbles. This indirect optical manipulation allows manipulation over a larger effective area as compared to direct optical manipulation, and minimizes the possibility of damaging delicate samples due to illumination by intense light. This type of micromanipulation can gently assemble living cells into various patterns, and has the potential to enable the assembly of functional tissues. Towards this goal, we have also demonstrated the independent actuation of up to 50 microrobots, and cooperative microassembly using multiple microrobots.
Surface-tension actuation is also useful for reconfigurable electronic circuits. Liquids can easily change their shape and can be routed through different pathways, properties which are desirable for reconfigurable electronic circuits that can alter their behavior and performance to adapt to specific tasks. We have developed various methods of electrically controlling the size and shape of liquid metals, which has allowed us to create various reconfigurable microwave-frequency electronic circuits. These reconfigurable circuits have the potential to reduce the size, weight, and power requirements of communication systems.
Aaron T. Ohta received the B.S. degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, in 2003, the M.S. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, in 2004, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008, all in electrical engineering.
In 2009, he joined the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in the areas of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidics. Dr. Ohta was the recipient of the 2012 University of Hawaii (UH) Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Research and the 2015 University of Hawaii (UH) Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching. These are the ten-campus UH System’s most prestigious research and teaching awards.

Robotic Pig Cloning based on Mechanical Properties of Oocytes

Dr. Xin Zhao
Vice Dean, College of Computer and Control Engineering,
Nankai University, Tianjin, China

The micro-manipulation (MM) technique is crucial approaches to operate cells. The traditional MM methods ignore the mechanical properties of cells, which make them have lower operation accuracy and easily cause damage of the cells. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is one of the most complex cell manipulations, the major challenge in robotic SCNT is to increase the development rate of reconstructed embryos. Robotic SCNT includes three steps: oocyte rotation to find polar body, oocyte enuleation, and somatic cell injection. We analyzed mechanical properties of oocytes, and proposed the oocyte rotation and oocyte enuleation methods based on minimum forces. Experiment results show that the proposed robotic SCNT system reduce the mechanical damage of the oocytes, and lead to high development rate. Furthermore, robotic SCNT has been applied to pig cloning. We did thousands of robotic SCNT operations and transferred 510 reconstructed embryos to 6 pigs, and obtained 14 cloned pigs at last. Our results demonstrate that the robotic SCNT not only relieves the operator from tedious cell operations, but also reduces the damage of the oocytes in SCNT.
Speaker Bio
Xin Zhao received the B.S. degree from Nankai University, Tianjin, P.R.China, in 1991, the M.S. degree from Shenyang Institute of Automation, CAS, Shenyang, P.R.China, in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree from Nankai University, in 1997, all in control theory and control engineering.
He joined the faculty at Nankai University, Tianjin, P.R.China in 1997, he is Professor and Vice Dean of College of Computer and Control Engineering. His research interests are in Mico-Nano Manipulation and System, including Micro manipulator, Micro system and Mathematical Biology.
Prof. Zhao was the recipient of 1999 Excellent Professor Award, Nankai University, 2000 Inventory Prize, Tianjin Municipal Government, 2002 Excellent Professor Award of “College Key Teachers Fund”, Ministry of Education, 2002 Excellent Professor Award of “Baogang Fund” and 2007 Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University, Ministry of Education.

Perspective of Humanoid Robotics Research beyond the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

Dr. Shuuji Kajita
Senior Researcher, AIST
(National Inst. Of Advanced Industrial Science and Tech.), Japan

The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) was an international robotics competition for disaster response inspired from the accident of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. At the DRC finals 2015, twenty three robots from all over the world have competed with their skills on the field at Pomona, California, USA.
To attend the competition, we developed HRP-2Kai, a humanoid robot of 171 cm high, 65 kg weight, and 32 degrees of freedom. By using this robot, we developed a control system to perform car driving, door passing, valve turning, uneven terrain walking etc. Although our result of the competition was not very good (10th place out of 23 teams), we learned many things from this challenge.
In this talk, I would like to draw a perspective of humanoid robotics research beyond the DRC finals. For example, we are developing an airbag system which can protect our robot at the worst case of the system failure. This was conceived reflecting the fall accidents during the competition and the damage of the robot caused by them. Some new ideas to realize more robust control will be also explained.
Speaker Bio
Shuuji Kajita received M.E. (1985) and Dr.E. (1996) degrees in control engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. In 1985, he joined the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Meanwhile he was a Visiting Researcher at California Institute of Technology, 1996-1997. Currently he is a senior researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan, which was reorganized from AIST-MITI in April 2001.
His research interests include robotics and control theory. He is a member of Society of Instrument and Control Engineers, Robotics Society of Japan, IEEE (Robotics and Automation Society), and the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. Recently, published book: Introduction to Humanoid Robotics, Springer, 2014 (coauthored with Dr. Kensuke Harada, Dr. Kazuhito Yokoi, and Dr. Hirohisa Hirukawa).

Robotic Exoskeletons for Motion Assistance and Rehabilitation

Dr. Wei-Hsin Liao
Professor, Dept. of Mechanical and Automation Engineering,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

In recent years, various exoskeletons have been developed in both research and industry for two main applications: human power augmentation, rehabilitation and healthcare. Exoskeletons for rehabilitation and healthcare purposes are usually equipped with actuators at hip and knee joints in the lower limbs. For paralyzed patients who totally lost the mobility in their lower limbs, the exoskeleton suits are designed to assist their daily motions like stand up and walk. While for geriatric patients and other patients suffering from stroke or traumatic brain injury, the exoskeletons can be used in functional rehabilitation. The number of patients with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury has reached one million in Hong Kong and mainland China. Lives in the wheelchairs not only bring secondary complications like neuropathic pain and bladder complications to these paralyzed patients, but also may cause psychological problems like depression. We developed novel assistive devices for the welfare of these patients. With the developed exoskeletons, paralyzed people could regain the ability to stand up and walk. This will bring them better life quality and social activities. On the other hand, the developed exoskeletons can also be used in neurologic and orthopedic rehabilitation of mobility impaired patients. By providing user-adaptive assistance in gait training, exoskeletons can help the patients achieve better recovery from gait disorder, and reduce the burden of physical therapists at the same time. In this talk, the developed devices/systems and key results will be presented.
Speaker Bio
Wei-Hsin Liao received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA. Since August 1997, Dr. Liao has been with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he is currently the Associate Dean (Student Affairs), Faculty of Engineering. His research has led to publications of 190 technical papers in international journals and conference proceedings, 17 patents in US, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. He was the Conference Chair for the 20th International Conference on Adaptive Structures and Technologies in 2009; the Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, SPIE Smart Structures/NDE in 2014 and 2015. He received the T A Stewart-Dyer/F H Trevithick Prize 2005, awarded by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). In 2008, he received the Best Paper Award in Structures from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He also received the Best Paper Award in Automation in the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Information and Automation, and the Best Conference Paper Award in the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation. As the Chair of Joint Chapter of Robotics, Automation and Control Systems Society (RACS), IEEE Hong Kong Section, Dr. Liao received 2012 Chapter of the Year Award from the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Mechatronics, Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, as well as Smart Materials and Structures. Dr. Liao is a Fellow of ASME, HKIE, and IOP.

Medical robots for NOTES: Design, Control and Application

Dr. Shuxin Wang
Distinguished Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering,
Tianjin University, China

With the development of technology, Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is hoped to be replaced by noninvasive surgery, stimulating the appearance of Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), which correspondingly promotes the change of surgical robots. MIS robots are generally made up of rigid components, while NOTES robots have to be flexible to arrive at and depart from the target lesion via the long and curved natural orifice. However, the robots are also required to be rigid to support the end instruments stably in an operation. Thus, the ability to switch between rigid and flexible modes freely plays an important role in designing NOTES robots. In this talk, we will review the existing variable stiffness technologies and classify them by their transition mechanisms. Some vital properties, such as the ratio of top and bottom stiffness, changing-time and feasibility in clinical application, will be compared. After that, a novel NOTES robot with a variable stiffness coat will be introduced. Its design philosophy and stiffness control method will be presented. Then, some contrast experiments will show the significance of the coat. In addition, the future tendency of NOTES robots will be discussed.
Speaker Bio
Shuxin Wang is a Professor at Tianjin University, a Yangtze River Scholar of the Ministry of Education, the winner of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars of China, Director of the Medical Robot Joint Research Center co-established by Tianjin University and Wego Group, and Director of Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design. He is a member of Technical Committee for Multibody Dynamics in International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM), and the Associate Editor of Robotic Surgery. His research interests include medical robotics, automation and multi-body dynamics. He is the author or co-author of over 160 academic papers and has over 60 authorized patents. He and his team members developed the “MicroHand” robot for minimally invasive surgery, which is known as China’s first surgical system used in the clinics. He has received two national scientific awards in recent years.

Sensing and Processing of Spatial-temporal Data for Robot Dexterous Operations

Dr. Fuchun Sun
Professor, Department of Computer Science and Technology,
Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Spatial-temporal data including videos and tactile sequences provide robots with necessary clues for environmental sensing and object recognition for robots, which is central to the robotic dexterous operations. Due to the several difficulties of the coupling on the spatial and temporal patterns, high dimensionality and multi-modal structure, it is very challenging topics for processing of spatial-temporal data. In this talk, we will present the developed high-resolution four-modal sensor device which contains micro-vision, tactile/slip sensors and temperature. A new type of dexterous hand is developed, where four-modal device is equipped and muscle like actuation. A more systematic method of spatial-temporal data processing is used to solve the joint representation and fusion of vision and tactile sensation, as well as sensing-actuation mapping problems. Finally, some experiments are used to reveal the proposed theoretical approach and point out the future directions.
Speaker Bio
Dr. Fuchun Sun is professor of Department of Computer Science and Technology and President of Academic Committee of the Department, Tsinghua University, deputy director of State Key Lab. of Intelligent Technology & Systems, Beijing, China. His research interests include robotic perception and intelligent control. He has won the Champion of Autonoumous Grasp Challenges in IROS2016.
Dr. Sun is the recipient of the excellent Doctoral Dissertation Prize of China in 2000 by MOE of China and the Choon-Gang Academic Award by Korea in 2003, and was recognized as a Distinguished Young Scholar in 2006 by the Natural Science Foundation of China. He served as an associated editor of IEEE Trans. on Neural Networks during 2006-2010, IEEE Trans. on Fuzzy Systems since 2011 and IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Systems since 2015.