Robotics faculty members awarded new research grants

CS&E faculty and their collaborators through the Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI) have recently been awarded new research grants.

Hyun Soo Park (Computer Science & Engineering), Ben Hayden (Neuroscience) and Jan Zimmerman (Neuroscience) received a $998,608 Neural and Cognitive Sciences (NCS) grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “NCS-FO: Neural Correlates of Social States in Macaques.” The project will leverage the project team's recently developed high resolution motion capture system, which can measure, detect, and quantify natural social behaviors and their corresponding neural activity. This research will open new opportunities to study early behavioral markers, such as those for at-risk children with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Ju Sun (Computer Science and Engineering), Rajesh Rajamani (Mechanical Engineering), and Nichole Morris (Mechanical Engineering) received a $1.2 million Cyber-Physical Systems (Medium) grant from the National Science Foundation.  The project is titled “CPS: Medium: Smart Tracking Systems for Safe and Smooth Interactions Between Scooters and Road Vehicles.” It will study smart tracking systems on scooters for ensuring safe and smooth interaction with other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. The smart system consists of inexpensive sensors, active-sensing-based estimation algorithms, and deep learning based robust image processing to enable trajectory tracking of all nearby vehicles on the road. If the danger of a scooter-vehicle collision is detected, an audio-visual alert is automatically provided to the car driver to make them aware of the presence of the scooter. The system also monitors the scooter rider’s behavior, provides real-time feedback to improve rider compliance with traffic signals and sidewalk rules, and documents the information as a part of the rider’s safety record. 

Hyun Soo Park and Volkan Isler (both from Computer Science & Engineering) received a $638,460 NRI research grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “Collaborative Research: NRI: INT: Dense 3D Reconstruction of Dynamic Actors in Natural Environments using Multiple Flying Cameras.” The project explores methods for and development of a large-scale data collection tool for high-resolution and multi-viewpoint visual recording and motion analysis of natural group behaviors (e.g., herds of animals or groups of people) in-the-wild over very large environments (e.g., desert plains or mountain sides) using a team of flying robots.