Modular Robot Projects
Modular Robots for Assistance in Robust and Intelligent Operations (MARIO)
In this project we are investigating techniques for using modular robots as operational aids for patients with limited upper body mobility such as spinal cord injury patients. The three major thrust areas of the project include modular robot hardware development and control algorithms for its mobility, AI-based decision making techniques for autonomous modular reconfiguration and locomotion and shared autonomy, and testing of the robot with SCI patients.
Funding: NU Collaboration Initiative Seed Grant (2017-2019)
Collaborators: Prof. Carl Nelson, Mechanical and Materials Engg., UNL; Judy Burnfield, Madonna Rehabilitation Center, Lincoln, NE.
Modular Robots for Muscular Rehabilitation (MORS)
This project targets the problem of developing a wearable modular robotic system, for assessing human movement and providing different types of exercises for the user. The system will be able to provide not only a variety of exercises (concentric, eccentric, assisted and resisted), but also to assess the change in variability of the movement as the subject shows functional improvement. The system will not only be useful for patients with sensorimotor problems such as stroke, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, but also for special populations such as astronauts who spend long periods of time in space and experience muscle atrophy.
Funding: NASA EPSCoR (2018-2021)
Collaborators: Prof. Carl Nelson, Mechanical and Materials Engg., UNL; Prof. Mukul Mukherjee, Biomechanics, UNO.
The objective of the ModRED (MODular Robot for Exploration and Discovery) project was to develop a modular robot for exploration of initially unknown or partially-known environments such as extra-terrestrial surfaces on the Moon or Mars. We developed hardware for a modular self-reconfigurable robot (MSR) along with associated control techniques and software algorithms based on coalition game theory for self-reconfiguration and autonomous locomotion. The results from ModRED project led to MARIO and MORS projects.
Funding: NASA EPSCoR (2011-2015)
Collaborators: Prof. Carl Nelson, Mechanical and Materials Engg., UNL.