Student Projects

Typically, projects I supervise both have an artificial intelligence and a mechatronics component. However, it is also possible to do pure software artificial intelligence projects if you are interested. Here you can find various student projects for your inspiration, but my interests are wide so if you have an interesting idea you are welcome to discuss it with me.  In either case, drop me an e-mail so we can setup a meeting to discuss your project.

Most topics can be the basis for a Master's project, a Bachelor's project and even a self-study project.

Robotic Liquid Handling

This topic is related to our currently running E.U. project EVOBLISS. The overarching goal for ITU, in this project, is to make a robotic platform based on the RepRap open-source mechatronics perform chemical experiments automatically. Currently, a Ph.D. student and a post doc are busy building the machine. The scope for student projects is very large ranging from design of user-interfaces for the robotic platform, computer vision algorithms, optimization of running experiments (maybe using genetic algorithms), or using the platform for particular chemical or biological experiments. Read more about EVOBLISS here.

Previous projects:

A Vision-Based Liquid Handling Robot for Automation of Chemical Experiments

An Automatic System for Handling of Petri dishes.


Machine-Repairable Machines

The question is to understand how we can design robots and controllers such that the robots can be automatically repaired by other robots. This area of research is in its infancy hence the goal of a project would be to implement a complete working prototype using MINDSTORMS as a mechatronic basis. The project will cover control and comunication, mechanical design in LEGO our by using 3D printers, and development of repair concepts.

Previous projects:

Autonomous Robot-Repair System

Soft Modular Robotics

The project with be partly about simulating modular robotics using physics engines as well as making very simple mechanical prototypes of soft robot modules.

No previous projects in this area.

Robot-Plant Interaction

The potential of robot-plant interaction is largely unexplored hence in this project we will use the LocoKit robot construction kit to build a robotic lattice structure and attach it to a real plant. We will then study the possible interactions from a technological view-point. Can the robot lattice support the plant when physically stressed (e.g. by wind), can the plant guide the robot lattice towards a light-source. Etc.

No previous projects in this area.

Domain Specific Programming Language for Digital Fabrication/Robot Fabrication

Many programming languages exist for describing geometry e.g. openGL, Java3D, etc.. However, few languages consider the actual challenge of turning a given 3d geometry into a working piece of mechanics. E.g. for two parts to fit a given tolerance has to be specified. However, no language supports this. This project then is to consider the extension of geometric programming languages to include fabrication relevant features.

No previous projects in this area.

The following projects will be co-adviced with Andrés Faína Rodroguez-Vila:

Assemblable Robots- Towards printable robots

The aim of this project is to automatically build robots using an open source 3D printer. 3D printers are usually used to build parts of the robots, the autonomous fabrication of robots is still a challenge. The project seeks to address this issue by using a modular construction system. First, a standardized set of components (battery, electronic board, motors and sensors) will be designed as a basis parts for building robots. These parts will be designed employing 3D printed parts and open source tools. Afterwards, we will design some different robots which can be assembled. To this end, a 3D printer will be modified to assembly these modules automatically using a specific gripper head.
This project will cover mechanical design, electronics and the software framework to represent morphologies of the robots and generate the commands for the printer.

No previous projects in this area.

Autonomous construction of structures using a multi-robot system.

This project aims to automatically build small structures using robots. To this end, we will explore two different approaches. On one hand, we will employ ropes or fabrics to build tensile structures such as tents or bridges. On the other hand, we will study how to employ magnetic bars to build grid-shells structures like geodesic domes. Both approaches employ lightweight materials suitable to be carried by small robots. The project will adapt and modularize the construction elements for easy and quick deployment of the structures and built-in sensors will provide feedback to the robots about the state of the structure. We will use predefined designs for the shape of the structures and we will study how to coordinate the team of robots to carry out the construction.
The mechanical design of the robots can be realized using Lego or Locokit systems with some custom parts.

No previous projects in this area.

Coevolution of morphology and control for heterogeneous modular robots.

This project will extend an open source robotics simulator, such as Gazebo, to evaluate the fitness of modular robots for different tasks like locomotion or manipulation. The simulator must be accurate and, for example, it should detect collisions between modules and it should calculate the holding forces between two connected modules. The modular robot system will be based on a heterogeneous modular architecture with different types of modules (rotational, slider, etc.) and we will model these modules in the simulator.
Afterwards, we will automatically obtain the morphology of the robot and its control parameters for different tasks using coevolution. Specifically, we will study the influence of different parameters in the coevolution process such as codification, control of the modules, discrete space or heterogeneity. For example, we will coevolve the morphology of the robots using different subsets of types of modules to study the influence of the heterogeneity in the evolution. In addition, extremely simple modules might be built to study the transfer from simulation to reality.

No previous projects in this area.

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