Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Dynamic Reconfiguration for Versatile Mobile Performance


Dr. Anirban Mazumdar


Sandia National Laboratories


Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 3:00:00 PM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Jon Rogers


Mobile robots can transform how society addresses important challenges including disaster response, infrastructure inspection, and public safety. However, many mobile systems cannot yet live up to this promise. Robots designed for high performance in one environment are frequently unable to maintain mobility, energy efficiency, and performance in a new or dynamic setting. Systems that can reconfigure have the potential to function effectively in unstructured environments by changing their gearing, actuation, or controllers to best match the changing conditions. In this talk I will describe how dynamic reconfiguration can enable versatility, agility, and efficiency in mobile robots. I will explore three case study examples from my past research: 1) Multi-modal mobility for steel bridge inspection, 2) Underwater maneuverability in complex environments, and 3) Energy efficient legged locomotion. Specific accomplishments include novel pump-valve underwater propulsion systems, as well as variable and contact based mechanisms for walking robots. The talk will conclude with an overview of my vision for how dynamic reconfiguration can enhance the future of mobile robotics through the development of new drive-trains, emulation of multi-scale biological behaviors, and synergistic human machine teaming.


Anirban Mazumdar received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007, 2009, and 2013 respectively. At MIT he performed his graduate research on new design and control approaches for mobile robots under the guidance of Professor H. Harry Asada. He is currently a Postdoctoral Appointee in the High Consequence Automation and Robotics group at Sandia National Laboratories. He was a core member of the Sandia team that demonstrated the high endurance WANDERER bipedal robot at the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge. His current research interests include energy efficient mobile robots, autonomy for critical systems, and embedded sensing for wearable technologies. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2008) and a Tau Beta Pi Fellowship (2007). In 2013 he was awarded the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering’s de Florez award for “Outstanding Ingenuity and Creative Judgement” for his Ph.D. research on agile underwater robots.


Refreshments will be served.