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Our open and ongoing projects in this area are listed below, together with a selection of completed projects where relevant.

Active Perception for Flexible Object Handling in Smart Manufacturing

Intelligent object handling is becoming a must in a smart manufacturing system especially with the recent appearance of the motion compliant dual handed industrial robotic systems. Also the enhanced 3D sensing capabilities from the robotics domain enables us to reconsider our view about the smart manufacturing by enabling on the fly spatial perception of the robot working space.

AI planning and learning for nonlinear control applications

Planning methods for optimal control use a model of the system and the reward function to derive an optimal control strategy. Here we will consider in particular optimistic planning, a recent predictive approach that optimistically explores  possible action sequences from the current state. Due to generality in the dynamics and objective functions that it can address, it has a wide range of potential applications to problems in nonlinear control.

Optimal control of a communicating robot

Mobile robots typically communicate wirelessly, both to receive commands and to provide sensing data. The range of communication is finite and bandwidth varies with the relative position to base wireless antennas, so communication quality is strongly affected by the trajectory of the robot. However, trajectory control design rarely takes this into account. In this project, we aim to design and study a trajectory control strategy that optimally takes into account communication needs of the robot.

Observation and control for a power-assisted wheelchair

This project takes place in the context of a collaboration with the University of Valenciennes, France, involving Professors Thierry-Marie Guerra and Jimmy Lauber, Sami Mohammad at Autonomad Mobility, and PhD student Guoxi Feng. The overall objective is to control the power supplied by the electrical motor of the wheelchair, so as to push (or brake) together with the user without taking over entirely. This ensures that the user can achieve their driving task but still keeps them active. Specific tasks, each of which could be handled by a student, include:

Assistive robot arms

Robots that assist elderly or disabled persons in their day-to-day tasks can lead to a huge improvement in quality of life. At ROCON we are pursuing assistive manipulators, as well as UAVs for monitoring at-risk persons. This project focuses on the first direction, and presents a wide range of opportunities for a team of students, starting from low-level control design and vision tasks, to high-level control using artificial intelligence tools. Each student will work on one well-defined subtopic in these areas. Specific tasks include:

Robotic prosthetic hand

The goal of this project is to design and construct a robotic prosthetic hand, aiming at helping amputees perform basic every day tasks. The robotic arm should be lightweight and offer a level of dexterity so that the patient can grasp objects of different sizes and shapes. Apropriate modeling and control of the robotic hand should be developed.

Robotic controller for surgical assistance robot

One very elusive application for robotic arms, is for asistance during surgery. A specific application is when performing incisions or drilling for fixation of implants. Robotic arms can be more accurate and repeatable than a surgeon, and can be programmed on before-hand to assist in patient-specific operations.

Robot control using data from depth camera

In several applications, robots are used in dangerous, sterile or remote locations. However, the current level of sophistication of robotic controllers, does not allow them to operate without human supervision or intervention. Therefore, these robots need to be controlled by a human, usually from a distance.

Connected Industrial Worker

Augmented Reality is at the stage of becoming a mature commercial technology, attracting interest in a variety of industries. NGi Systems is partnering with UTCN to drive innovation in this field in Cluj-Napoca.

Mapping with mobile robots

The main aim of the project is to develop a robot being able to add semantic 3D information to an indoor map. The developed would be based on existing open-source modules in cooperation with the Braintronix company within a European project.

Currently the company is producing the VIPER mobile platorm for research and development purposes. Within this project, the robot would be augmented with additional 3D sensors in order to facilitate the semantic mapping. 

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