Many robotic applications require a robot to operate in an environment with unknowns or uncertainty, at least initially, before it gathers enough information about the environment. In such a case, a robot has to rely on sensing and perception to feel its way around. Moreover, it has to couple sensing/perception and motion synergistically in real time, such that perception guides motion, while motion enables better perception. In this talk, I will introduce our research in combining perception and motion of a robot to achieve automatic object recognition, object modeling, and robot navigation in uncertain or unknown environments. I will talk about approaches and present results ranging from modeling or recognition of unknown objects based on continuum robot manipulation under either RGBD or touch sensing to real-time synchronized sensing and adaptive motion for robotic assembly and to constrained manipulation in unknown dynamic environments.
Jing Xiao received her Ph.D. degree in Computer, Information, and Control Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. She is the Deans’ Excellence Professor, William B. Smith Distinguished Fellow in Robotics Engineering, Professor and Interim Head of the Robotics Engineering Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). She joined WPI as the Director of the Robotics Engineering Program in 2018 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and led the program to become the Robotics Engineering Department in July 2020. Prof. Xiao is an IEEE Fellow. Her research spans robotics, haptics, and intelligent systems. She has co-authored a monograph and published extensively in major robotics journals, conferences, and books. Prof. Xiao served as the Program Director of the NSF Robotics and Human Augmentation Program (8/1998-12/2000). She is currently an elected member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Administrative Committee. She also served as the IEEE RAS Vice President for Member Activities for two terms (2014-2017) and received the 2016 IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award.