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Prof. Sunil K. Agrawal
Columbia University

Sunil K. Agrawal received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990. He is currently a Professor and Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory at Columbia University, located both in engineering and medical campuses of Columbia University. Dr. Agrawal has published more than 500 journal and conference papers, three books, and 17 U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of the ASME and AIMBE. His honors include a NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House in 1994, a Bessel Prize from Germany in 2003, and a Humboldt US Senior Scientist Award in 2007. He is a recipient of 2016 Machine Design Award from ASME for “seminal contributions to design of robotic exoskeletons for gait training of stroke patients” and 2016 Mechanisms and Robotics Award from the ASME for “cumulative contributions and being an international leading figure in mechanical design and robotics”. He is a recipient of several Best Paper awards in ASME and IEEE sponsored robotics conferences. He has successfully directed 35 PhD student theses and currently supervises the research of 5 PhD students in ROAR laboratory. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Wearable Technologies” from Cambridge University Press. He was the Conference Chair for IEEE BioRob2020 organized in New York City.
Rehabilitation Robotics and Retraining of Everyday Human Functions

Abstract: Neural disorders and old age limit the ability of humans to perform activities of daily living. Robotics can be used to characterize and retrain human neuromuscular responses. Columbia University Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory designs innovative robots and performs clinical studies to potentially improve everyday human functions such as standing, reaching, head turning, walking, stairclimbing, and others. Human experiments have targeted individuals with stroke, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and elderly subjects with vestibular disorders. The talk will provide an overview of some of these robotics technologies and scientific studies performed with them.

Learning Objectives:

1. Human functions in daily life and impairments
2. Robotics for functional rehabilitation
3. Clinical studies to improve human functions

Prof. Auke Ijspeert
EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne)

Auke Ijspeert is a professor at EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland), IEEE Fellow, and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory. He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL (1995), and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). His research interests are at the intersection between robotics and computational neuroscience. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to gain a better understanding of animal locomotion and movement control, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and locomotion controllers (see for instance Ijspeert et al, Science, Vol. 315, 2007 and Ijspeert, Science Vol. 346, 2014). He is also interested in assisting persons with limited mobility using exoskeletons and assistive furniture. With his colleagues, he has received paper awards at ICRA2002, CLAWAR2005, IEEE Humanoids 2007, IEEE ROMAN 2014, CLAWAR 2015, and CLAWAR 2019. He is associate editor for the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics and the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics. He is also a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science magazine.
Investigating and assisting locomotion using modular robots

Abstract: The ability to efficiently move in complex environments is a fundamental property both for animals and for robots, and the problem of locomotion and movement control is an area in which neuroscience, biomechanics, and robotics can fruitfully interact. In this talk, I will present how biorobots and numerical models can be used to explore the interplay of the four main components underlying animal locomotion, namely central pattern generators (CPGs), reflexes, descending modulation, and the musculoskeletal system. Going from lamprey to human locomotion, I will present a series of models that tend to show that the respective roles of these components have changed during evolution with a dominant role of CPGs in lamprey and salamander locomotion, and a more important role for sensory feedback and descending modulation in human locomotion. I will also present the Roombots project, a project in which we use self-reconfigurable robots to create an assistive environment for people who have limited mobility.

BioRob’s Research Topics:

1. Neuromechanical Simulations
2. Amphibious Robotics
3. Modular Robotics
4. Rehabilitation Technologies
5. Humanoid Robotics
6. Quadruped Robotics