Technical Program

 Monday, November 9, 2009
8:00 - 9:30 AM

Registration and Exhibits

Opening Plenary Session

Kevin Blankespoor, Boston Dynamics
Steve Roux, ASML

Student Competition: Information Session (Tutorial Starts at 7:00AM)
Room 4

9:30 - 10:00 AM Monday Morning Coffee Break
10:00 - 12:00 PM

Registration & Exhibits

Session 1A: Medical and Rehabilitation Robotics
Chair: Michael Gennert, Worcester Polytechninc Institute
Room 2

Design of Robotic Devices to Assist Persons with Disabilities
Allen H. Hoffman, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mechanical Engineering Department

A 3-Axis Optical Force/Torque Sensor for Prostate Needle Placement in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Environments
Hao Su

Development of an Intefrated Torque Sensor-Motor Module for Haptic Feedback in Teleoperated Robot-Assisted Surgery
P.K. Jamwal, University of Auckland

A Scalable System for Real-Time Control of Dexterous Surgical Robots
Paul Thienphrapa, Johns Hopkins University

Robotic Wheelchair to Guide Elderly and Visually Impaired People
Shyam Ravi Shanker Krishnan, Concordia University

Session 1B: Computation
Chair: John Conrad, Textron
Room 3

Hybrid Genetic-Fuzzy Approach to Autonomous Mobile Robot
K.S. Senthilkumar, King Saud University, College of Arts and Science

FPGA Based Speeded Up Robust Features
Tomas Krajnik, Czeh Technical University

Accelerating Robotic Assembly Parameter Optimization Through the Generation of Internal Models
Jeremy A. Marvel, Case Western Reserve University

Comparing Swarm Algorithms for Large Scale Multi-source Localization
Kathleen McGill, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College

Inference Model for Heterogeneous Robot Team Configuration based on Reinforcement Learning
Xueqing Sun, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College

Towards a Distributed Robotic Architecture for Autonomous Heterogeneous Platforms
Scott D. Lathrop, United States Military Academy, West Point

Student Competition: Robot Development
Room 4

12:00 - 1:30 PM Monday Lunch
1:30 - 2:30 PM

Registration & Exhibits

Plenary Session on Rehabilitation Robots

Charles Remsberg, Hocoma

Student Competition: Robot Development
Room 4

2:30 - 3:00 PM Monday Afternoon Coffee Break
3:00 - 5:00 PM

Registration and Exhibits

Session 2A: Military and Security Robotics
Chair: Karen Panetta, Tufts University
Room 2

Adaptive Task Allocation for Search Area Coverage
Ryan J. Meuth, Applied Computational Intelligence Laboratory at the Missouri University of Science and Technology

Development of Pseudo-Layer
Sushil Raut, SoST, International Institute of Technology

Design and Construction of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for the Launch of a Small UAV
A. Cadena, ESPOL

A Novel Approach to Vibration Isolation in Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
MAJ Chris Reitsma, D/EE&CS, West Point

Session 2B: Power, Communication and Other Technologies
Chair: William Agassounon, Textron
Room 3

A Generic Information-Centric Architecture for Robotic Systems Derived from a New Theory for Adaptive Systems
Vasile Coman, XCLSoft

A Practical Interaction Between Robots and RFID-based Digital Product Memories in a Logistic Scenario
Andreas Vogt, DFKI Bremen, (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) Robotics Innovation Center

Robot-assisted Energy-Efficient Data Collection from High-Fidelity Sensor Networks
Sandra P. Tinta, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Zero-Scrub, Large Contact Area, Three-Degree-of-Freedom Holonomic Ground Vehicles for Mobile Robotics Applications
Gregory V. Bean, Nrev Tech

Evaluating the Performance, Reliability and Safety of Lithium-Ion Cells
Kevin White, Exponent, Inc.

Student Competition: Robot Development
Room 4

5:00 - 8:00 PM Monday Evening Reception
Student Competition: Judging and Awards

Room 4
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
8:00 - 10:00 AM

Registration & Exhibits

Plenary Session on Advances in Military Robots
Session Chair: Helen Greiner, The Droid Works

Col. Barry L. Shoop, United States Military Academy
Ben Riley, Rapid Reaction Technology Office
Jim Overholt, TARDEC

10:00 - 10:30 AM Tuesday Morning Coffee Break
10:30 - 12:30 PM

Registration & Exhibits

Session 3A: Actuation and Manipulation
Chair: Peter Meyer, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Chairman, Boston Chapter
Room 2

Real-Time Collision Avoidance Algorithm for Robotic Manipulators
Paul Bosscher, Harris Corporation

Development of Tele-operation Control Station for Intelligent Excavator
Sung-Min Moon, Korea Electronics Technology Institute

Superquadric Obstacle Modeling and a Danger Evaluation Method with Applications in Safe Planning for Human-Safe Industrial Robots
Nima Najmaei, University of Western Ontario

An Underactuated Gripper to Unlatch Door Knobs and Handles
Erin Rapacki, UMass Lowell Computer Science Department

Development of a High Accuracy Automatic Measurement System Utilizing an Industrial Robot and a Fringe Projection System
R. Franke, Technical University Dortmund

Session 3B: Navigation
Chair: Bill Michalson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Room 3

Analysis of Cross Correlation between Prediction and Observation Errors of an Inertial Navigation System
Bingbing Liu, Data Storage Institute, A*STAR

Wheel Load Transfer in High-Speed Unmanned Vehicles
John R. Rogers, United States Military Academy, West Point

Lifelong Localization of a Mobile Service-robot in Everyday Indoor Environment Using Omnidirectional Vision
Siegried Hochdorfer, University of Applied Sciences, Ulm

Hybrid Localization Solutions for Robotic Logistic Applications
Daniele Brevi, Instituto Superiore Mario Boella

Remotely Operated and Autonomous Mapping System (ROAMS)
Biruk A. Gebre, Design and Manufacturing Institute, Stevens Institute of Technology

Robot Demonstrations
Room 4

12:30 - 1:30 PM Tuesday Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 PM

Registration & Exhibits

Session 4A: Consumer Robotics
Chair: Taskin Padir, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Room 2

Pioneering the Personal Robotics Industry
Russell Nickerson, Bridgewater State College

2,000 Robotic Applications Using the National Instruments CompactRIO Embedded Control System
Vincent Wilczynski, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

A Vision for Spatial-Reasoning Commodity Robots
Zeke Koziol, Harvey Mudd College, Computer Science Department

Session 4B: Sensing
Chair: Al Constantine, Ashford University
Room 3

Sensing Passive Thermal Objects in Outdoor Scenes for Autonomous Robots
William L. Fehlman II, Department of Mathematical Sciences, United States Military Academy, West Point

When Trees are Not Green: Recent Developments in an Off-the-Shelf System for Robust color and Multispectral Based Recognition and Robot Control
Robert K. McConnell, WAY-2C Color Machine Vision

ICU: An Introduction to Object Identification and Mapping
Brian MacAllister, Bridgewater State College

Vision-Based Obstacle Detection and Avoidance for the CWRU Cutter Autonomous Lawnmower
Alexander Schepelmann, Case Western Reserve University

Self-localization Capable Mobile Sensor Nodes
Juergen Eckert, University of Erlangen, Germany

Robophthalmotrope: Proposing a Biologically Inspired, Mechatronic Platform to Study Sensorimotor Control
G. Alexander Korentis, Biomedical Engineering, University of Connecticut

Robot Demonstrations
Room 4

3:30 - 4:00 PM Tuesday Afternoon Coffee Break
4:00 - 5:00 PM

Registration Closed

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Plenary Speakers

Kevin Blankespoor
Lead Robotics Engineer, Boston Dynamics


The BigDog Robot is a fully autonomous quadruped in development by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA. BigDog is able to trot and walk over rough terrain and steep inclines. Its also able to carry several hundred pounds on flat terrain and over 100 pounds on challenging terrain. BigDog uses dozens of sensors to perceive its environment and adapt accordingly. It acts as both a vehicle for legged locomotion research and as a prototype for helping soldiers carry heavy loads in terrain inaccessible by existing tracked and wheeled vehicles.


Kevin Blankespoor is the Chief Engineer for the Bigdog Program. He's developed and implemented many of the controls algorithms currently used by the platform. He's also worked as a servo engineer in the hard disk drive industry and as a mechanical engineer in the automation industry. He holds a MEEE from the University of Colorado and a BSME from the University of Virginia.

Steve Roux
Senior Group Leader, Reticle Positioning, ASML


Part of an ISO definition describes a robot as being “an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications”. With that in mind it is clear that ASML’s lithogrpahy scanners are densely popluted with robots and robotic elements. This talk will start by looking back in time and contrasting the technology that was used in early lithography steppers to that found in current scanners. The number of servo loops has gone up exponentially and at the same time the required precision is rapidly tightening. In many parts of the machine robots are required to hand off material from one to another. Often this exchange occurs between elements that are servoed to different reference frames where the reference frames have substantial relative motion between them. Coordination of motion throughout the machine creates the need for complex software architectures with strict functional definitions and boundaries.


Steve Roux is currently managing a cross functional team of systems engineers, mechatronics/servo control experts, mechanical, materials science and electrical engineers as well as project managers responsible for Reticle Stage development at ASML. His enginering career started later in life after a twelve year career as a navigating officer on various ships, salvage tugs and large schooners. He completed his BSME degree while working as a technician and later as a junior engineer at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center. He later added an MSME degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1997 he moved to work for SVG Lithography. This meant going from using Lithography tools in his daily work to designing subsystems for these fascinating machines. In 2001 ASML and SVG merged and the company is currently in a dominant position in this vital photolithography market, supplying the tools needed to constantly shrink features on integrated circuits keeping Moore’s Law alive. Steve Roux is named as inventor or co-inventor on 28 US patents and numerous foreign patents. He is married and lives in Connecticut. His primary hobby is participating in sports car racing as a fan as well as a driver/car owner.

Charles Remsberg
CEO, Hocoma


Successful rehabilitation of neurologically involved patients suffering from stroke, traumatic brain-injury, spinal cord-injury and other neurological disease requires intensive function specific activities. Robot’s have been used for gait rehabilitation of the lower extremity, as well as task specific training in the upper extremity with mixed success. Future developments will see improved degrees of freedom, improved patient-robot interaction and the implementation of augmented feedback (Virtual Reality). This presentation will report on recent technical challenges in robotics controls for medical devices in both upper and lower extremity robots and the incorporation of augmented feedback for improved patient engagement.

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Student Competition

The IEEE Conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications (TePRA) is held in the greater-Boston area and offers numerous advantages to students. Students can learn about the state-of-the-art in practical robotics R&D and meet representatives of both industry and the military, who are the main consumers of practical robotic systems. Students can take part in a robotic competition for which prizes are awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams. Finally, there is a reduced registration fee for students. The details of the student competition will be announced soon.

Click Here For Student Competition Registration

Student Competition Guidelines

Cost: $35 (IEEE members) / $45

Additional fee for the second of the conference: $40 (IEEE members) / $50

    (Includes conference CD, admission to all sessions, and abstract book)

Team Prizes: $150 (1st Place) / $100 (2nd Place) / $75 (3rd Place)

This competition provides a unique opportunity for robotics enthusiasts to participate in a robotics competition during the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications (TePRA). At the beginning of the competition each team (up to 4 members) will be given an iRobot Create, a programmable robot pre-assembled to facilitate the development of new robots. After a workshop during which participants will learn how to program their robot, a mobile robotics challenge will be presented. Participants will have the day to prepare their robot entry, and compete for prizes before conference attendees.

Note: You can register as a team group of four or as an individual. Individuals will be placed on teams at the discretion of the competition organizers if there is a shortage of robots.

Note: Participants can choose not to compete and just attend the workshop.

Online registration for the Student Workshop and Competition is now available. Registration deadline is Thursday, November 5, 2009.

Physical requirements:

  • At least 1 Laptop with Bluetooth capability
  • Python2.5
  • PySerial
Please install and test the required software before coming to the workshop

Entrants should also have:

  • Good working knowledge of Python
  • Basic understanding of autonomous robot navigation

7:00-10:45am: Tutorial, Information Session, Create Workshop
10:45-11:15am: Competition information session
6:00pm-8:00pm: Competition during the reception

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To be announced.

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Technical Program Committee


Michael A. GennertWorcester Polytechnic Institute
William R. MichalsonWorcester Polytechnic Institute


Technical Program Committee

William Agassounon Textron Defense Systems
Kevin Blankespoor Boston Dynamics
Martin Buehler iRobot
Julian Center Autonomous Explorations, Inc.
Jeanne Dietsch Mobile Robots, Inc.
Sorin Faibish EMC
Gregory Fischer Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Chris Jones iRobot
Ted Kochanski University of New Hampshire
John Masciola Caliper Life Sciences
Peter Meyer Philips
Taskin Padir Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Karen Panetta Tufts University
Ryan Pettigrew IEEE RAS Boston Chapter
Jean-Pierre Rasaiah Applied Manufacturing Technologies, Inc.
Gretar Tryggvason Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Peter Wells Foster-Miller

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