“The Mechatronic Approach of Developing a
Facially Expressive Humanoid Robot, Modeling and Analysis”
Dr. Yonas Tadesse, Virginia Tech
Human beings aspire to create human-like robots that can be used for various societal purposes such as domestic workers, friendly communication with humans, and understanding the biomechanics and psychology of humans. Humanoid robots have also been projected to be used for military application, child care and customer services. The success in developing robots requires a multidisciplinary effort from various engineering and science fields. The challenges span from artificial intelligence to materials used to develop the robots and managing their power requirement. Parallel efforts are required to meet the demand of energy, develop efficient articulated mechanisms and mimic human appearance. The current state-of-the-art research on facial expression robots relies mostly on electromagnetic actuators. Other actuation technologies promise to provide critical breakthroughs but require overcoming some challenges. In addition, few computational tools are available to design and analyze the facial expressive human-like robot head. This talk will focus on both the creation of humanoid robots that employ smart materials for actuation and sensing, and multimodal energy harvesting technologies. The following topics will be briefly discussed: 1) Theoretical and experimental study on polymer-based and shape-memory-alloy-based artificial muscle. 2) A facially expressive baby humanoid robot using SMA-actuator technology, including nonlinear dynamic system modeling. We will introduce baby-DARwIn, the highest degree of freedom facial expressive baby humanoid robot to date, and discuss its potential application. 3) Humanoid neck mechanism using cost-effective four-bar mechanism. 4) A new approach for designing and analyzing facial expression in a robotic head called graphical facial expression analysis and design (GFEAD).
Yonas Tadesse received his PhD in mechanical engineering in 2009 from Virginia Tech, where he is now a research associate. His research interests include the theoretical and experimental analysis of smart materials; modeling and characterization, kinematics and dynamics of neck mechanisms; energy harvesting; and the implementation of system design. He has worked on a number of projects funded by NSF, ONR and the U.S. Army Research Office. He is a member of IEEE, RAS, ASME, SPIE, NSBE and ESME, and he is a frequent reviewer for a number of professional journals.