Past Projects

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2019


Master

Project

Student:

Victor Pierre Guy Delafontaine (MT)

Precise localization of a LoRa node through a UAV embedded with LoRa 5G

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are incredibly versatile tools capable of completing a wide range of applications. Soon the majority of drones will be connected to the cloud for BLOS missions and also perform fully autonomous flights. This will be achieved by using the novel Low Power Networks (LPN) which are characterized by a longer range, lower bandwidth, and low battery consumption. In this project, we aim at improving the localization function of the LoRa LPN network in order to find a node with a precision of less than 20m. This can be applied to scenarios of search and rescue (e.g., missing person in case of an avalanche). Towards this goal, a LoRa gateway will be installed on the drone and a node, to be localized, will be placed at an unknown location. When the node starts beaconing, the position is computed by triangulation, and the drone will plan his trajectory towards this position. Once the UAV is in the vicinity of the node, different algorithms will be implemented and tested for determining the position of the node accurately. The drone will also be embedded with 5G technology (e.g., NB-IOT) to transmit the LoRa node signal to an APN hosted on a Swisscom server. On this server, triangulation algorithms will be run to improve the first position estimation. A simulation environment will be set up (ideally in Matlab and Simulink) to test the software infrastructure before going on the real drone. Hardware in the loop simulations (connecting LoRa gateways on a laptop) could be envisioned to test the whole framework (e.g., LoRa gateway acquisition, communication with the Swisscom server). If time permits, the experiment will be extended to multiple UAVs in order to perform a local triangulation (without the need of running the localization algorithms on the server). Ideally, experiments will be performed in city areas, where the LPN signal is strong, as well as mountain areas where the signal is nonexistent. Tasks of the student: • Setup a simulation environment (preferably in Matlab/Simulink) which will allow to test the whole infrastructure without flying the drone • Install a LoRa Gateway on a drone • Connect the drone to the 5G Network (through NB-IOT technology) • Setup a server which gives the initial triangulation algorithm • Program the flight-path algorithm for reaching the desired area • Program the node-search algorithm based on the RSSI values • Perform flight tests and evaluate the results Ideal Candidate: • Passionate about the IoT and new technologies • Drone experience will be much appreciated • Good programming skills in C, C++, Python and Matlab/Simulink. Any other programming language is appreciated • Familiarity with the networking techniques • Above average academic results • Research oriented personality with hands-on experience The master thesis project will last 6 months and the working place will be in the Swisscom Digital Lab, in the EPFL campus. The master thesis, depending on the quality of the results, should result in a scientific publication. For more details regarding this subject, please consult: [1] "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Based Wireless Sensor Network for Marine?Coastal Environment Monitoring", Carlos A. Trasviña?Moreno et al., Sensors vol 17, issue 3 [2] "Understanding Autonomous Drone Maneuverability for Internet of Things Applications", Azade Fotouhi et al., WoWMoM 2017 [3] https://lora?alliance.org/

Type: Master project
Period: 04.02.2019 - 02.08.2019
Section(s): Robotics
Type of work: 20%Theory +40%Software +30%+hardware +10%misc
Requirements: control+theory +programming+(Matlab +python+or+similar)
Subject(s): Localization +control+and+estimation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Mahdi Nobar (Mechanical Engineering)

Simulation of multiple Crazyflies quadcopters

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we develop algorithms for coordinating the navigation of multiple quadcopters. The goal of this project is to develop the infrastructure for testing the swarming algorithms through software-in-the-loop simulation and evaluate their behavior. A preliminary phase involves the modeling of a Crazyflie drone. The result is a file of parameters in a standard format accepted by Gazebo, a dynamics simulator for robotics. Lots of studies about parameters identification and modeling of a Crazyflie exist on the internet. You can adapt them for your purpose. The first phase of the project consists of adding the Crazyflies firmware in the loop. The swarming algorithms are currently implemented in Matlab and Python. With the help of Matlab, Simulink and Python the student will send the input commands to the drones through ROS and develop a simple and intuitive analysis tool to monitor the state of the drones in real-time. The second step will involve the design of a simulation environment in Gazebo (so-called world) which resembles the DroneDome at LIS. Furthermore, the addition of obstacles will enable you to test the swarm in a cluttered environment. To make the obstacle detection possible onboard, the student will have to model a multi-ranger deck in Gazebo and implement a state-of-art obstacle detection strategy. Finally, to investigate the feasibility of embedding the swarm controller in the Crazyflie for a distributed approach, the last stage will imply the exploration of automatic code generation provided by Matlab and Simulink. A Crazyflie will be available for hardware tests. Depending on the quality of the results, the semester project could result in a publication. Previous experience with the cited software is required.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2019 - 05.07.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering School of computer and communication sciences
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% testing
Requirements: Modelling and programming skills (Matlab, Simulink, Python), previous familiarity with ROS.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, drone formations, simulation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Leonardo Cencetti (Robotics)

Video-audio communication for delivery drones

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous and can be monitored in real-time with the help of a web-application framework named Dronistics. In order to facilitate operation of the drone and communication between a sender and recipient, a camera, speaker and microphone will be deployed on the drone. The goal of this project is to design the audio and video communication between the sender and the recipient of the drone to ensure the efficiency. The first goal of this project is to perform a comparative study of protocols and existing open-source solutions that can be used to implement bi-directional audio communication and uni-directional video communication. On the sender side, the video and audio should be streamed on a web interface, and on the drone, the algorithm should be running on a Linux-based external computer that is running no GUI (e.g. a Raspberry Pi). The second goal is to design system architecture, make an analysis of the network throughput requirements, audio-video quality, scalability, security and privacy issues, and reliability. The third goal of the project is to implement the outcome of the above work in a real delivery drone and test it in a real scenario. The sender should initiate/join the communication from a web-based interface and the person next to the drone should initiate the communication by clicking a button on the drone.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2019 - 30.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 30% software architecture, 50% software development, 20% testing
Requirements: Solid understanding of software architectures, network protocols, and web-related technologies
Subject(s): Software Architecture, IoT, audio-video communication
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Camille Conrad Aussems (Robotics)

Long Range communication (LoRa) for Drones

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous with the help of a web-application framework of Dronistics. Reliable long distance Communication in mobile systems (like in the case of Delivery Drone) has always been a challenge that attracts various companies and researchers. LoRa is one of the promising technologies that offer long-range low-power ad-hoc communications. The objective of this project is the implementation of a, LoRa system in the delivery drones (developed at LIS) and the characterization of the communication channel. The first goal of this project is to perform a theoretical understanding of LoRaWAN Networks. This should be followed by a comparative study on various LoRa hardware modules that could be used in drone communication. Finally, various characterization tests for communication channel (for signal strength, bandwidth etc.. ) should be performed with the chosen module(s). The second goal of the project is to implement a LoRa communication between a base station and a real drone developed at LIS. The student can use various open hardware and open software resources for the implementation. The final goal of this project is to perform the feasibility study to extend the implementation securely to use a public network like Swisscom LPM, ThingsNetwork, etc..

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2019 - 30.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering School of computer and communication sciences
Type of work: 40% hardware, 20% software, 20% theory, 20%testing
Requirements: Good Understanding of Embedded Systems and Communication Systems
Subject(s): IoT, Communication Systems
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Sepand Feyz Mir Iravani (Robotics)

Enhanced Roll Control for Avian-Inspired Drones

We aim to improve the roll effectiveness of a highly maneuverable, avian-inspired feathered drone, which has thus far relied on wing tip folding for roll control. To guarantee controllability at low angles of attack, as well as in the post stall regime, the synergistic use of wing twisting and wing folding is investigated. Therefore, the goal of this semester project is to (i) improve the current wing twisting design, (ii) manufacture the wing architecture and mount it on the drone, and finally (iii) perform comprehensive wind tunnel tests followed by data analysis. This multifarious project gives the student a comprehensive insight into applied flight mechanics and aerodynamics combined with the development of a state of the art aeronautical device. A suitable candidate should be a do-it-yourself enthusiast.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2019 - 20.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: 10% theory, 10% coding, 20% experimental, 60% hardware
Requirements: mechanical design, basic aerodynamics
Subject(s): aerodynamics, flight mechanics, advanced materials, aeroelasticity
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Tristan Abondance (Microengineering)

Impact of parcel on a multicopters’ performance - delivery drones

At the LIS, we have developed a novel delivery drone capable of transporting parcels of different shapes and sizes, such as cylindrical or flat rectangular boxes (pizza boxes). However, attaching a parcel to a drone affects the drone’s aerodynamics and may lead to a significant increase in drag. The goal of this project is to design a mechanism that will solve this problem.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 18.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, electronics, aerodynamics
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design, wind tunnel tests
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Philipp Vital Spiess (Microengineering)

Use your body to control a robot - study of robot morphology effects

Wearable interfaces based on body motion can make the teleoperation of a distal robot easier to learn for inexperienced users. When a person is asked to move freely following their natural intuition as if they were to control a flying robot (in this case a fixed-wing drone), the most common strategy is to mimic the robot's attitude with their torso. This is true if the point of view corresponds to the drone's frontal camera. This effect could be explained by the fact that the user 'embodies' in the robotic envelope transferring his bod ownership to the machine. For this project, we want to evaluate and quantify the variability of the control strategy when the person is presented with different robots to be controlled. In particular, we will repeat the experiment for, a fixed-wing drone and implement a similar logic on a quadcopter and a ground robot. The inclusion of a simple manipulator would be a plus. Tests with human subjects need to be run in order to collect and process a suitable amount of data to explain the results' variance. Later, the student will propose a control strategy that can suit the different situations. In the second part of the project, this strategy will be implemented and tested to validate the hypothesis. Students interested in flying robotics, human-robot interfaces and body motion study are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 50% software 20% data analysis, 30% testing
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics, C# is a plus
Subject(s): Body motion, human-robot interfaces
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Manana Lordkipanidze (School of computer and communication sciences)

Use your body to control a robot - study of camera position effects

Wearable interfaces based on body motion can make the teleoperation of a distal robot easier to learn for inexperienced users. When a person is asked to move freely following their natural intuition as if they were to control a flying robot (in this case a fixed-wing drone), the most common strategy is to mimic the robot's attitude with their torso. This is true if the point of view corresponds to the drone's frontal camera. This effect could be explained by the fact that the user 'embodies' in the robotic envelope transferring his bod ownership to the machine. For this project, we want to evaluate and quantify the variability of the control strategy when the point of view changes from first person (immersive), to 'second' person (behind the drone), to third person (user seeing the scene from ground). Tests with human subjects need to be run in order to collect and process a suitable amount of data to explain the results' variance. Later, the student will propose a control strategy that can suit the different situations. In the second part of the project, this strategy will be implemented and tested to validate the hypothesis. Students interested in flying robotics human-robot interfaces and body motion study are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 50%+software +20%+data+analysis +30%+testing
Requirements: Python +basics+of+mechanics +C#+is+a+plus
Subject(s): Body+motion +human-robot+interfaces +flying+robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Antoine Weber (Microengineering)

Bidirectional wearable interface for mobile robot teleoperation - 2

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. For this project, we want to test how effectively a human is able to learn to use his own body instead of a predefined hardware interface (i.e. a joystick). In particular, a motion controller based on hand motion will be implemented and used to control the position of the drone, following a path through obstacles in a simulated environment. Later, a haptic feedback system will be developed to represent the drone's distance from obstacles by using vibrotactile motors anchored on the pilot's hand, similarly to parking sensors. We will then evaluate the effect of such feedback on the learning process. Students interested in flying robotics, haptics and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics, embedded software development is a plus
Subject(s): Wearable technology, haptics, human-robot interfaces, flying robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Thomas Clint Patrick Havy (Microengineering)

Bidirectional wearable interface for mobile robot teleoperation - 1

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. For this project, we want to test how effectively a human is able to learn to use his own body instead of a predefined hardware interface (i.e. a joystick). In particular, a motion controller based on hand motion will be implemented and used to control the position of the drone, following a path through obstacles in a simulated environment. Later, we will test if the learned skill is transferable to the control of multiple machines (one per hand). A desirable plus would hardware implementation and testing. Students interested in flying robotics and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics,
Subject(s): Wearable technology, human-robot interfaces, flying robots
Report: Click here

2018


Semester

Project

Student:

Julien Couyoupetrou (Microengineering)

Development of a soft highly robust robot

Soft robotics is revolutionizing the field of robotics, allowing to develop robots highly robust and safe to use in human environments. However, existing soft robots have usually locomotion performances still far from those of their natural counterparts or require tethering to an external actuation system or power supply. A possible strategy to design soft robots - currently pursued in our lab - is to use heterogeneous soft deformable modules using off the shelf electronic components that can be assembled into the robot morphology. In this proposed semester project, we seek to expand the current available kit of soft modules developing a new actuated module allowing to complete the basic kit to design a fully functional untethered soft robot. At first, the student will design and fabricate the additional actuated module on an available design concept. He will use lightweight materials, 3D printing technologies and off the shelf electronic components. Secondly, the available design of the complete first basic kit of modules will be used to design and build a proof of concept simple untethered soft robot able to locomote. Finally, the performances of the robot will be assessed in terms of locomotion speed, operational time and robustness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 25.02.2019 - 24.06.2019
Section(s): Microengineering
Type of work: 10% theory, 80% hardware (mechanical and electronics), 10% software
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms and materials, Arduino programming and 3D printing experience a plus
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, integrated systems
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Juraj Korcek (IN)

Evolution of controllers for soft modular robots with proprioception

The goal of this project is to build a neural network controller for a modular tensegrity robot with proprioception. The network will utilize inputs from a sensing system consisting of cable stretch sensors, which can be considered a simple form of proprioception. This should allow the robot to intelligently interact with the environment and navigate rough terrains more efficiently than with the current open loop system. The neural network will be designed and trained using evolutionary algorithms. Evolution of constant weights will be compared to evolution of Hebbian learning rules.

Type: Master project
Period: 05.09.2018 - 30.03.2019
Section(s): IN ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 70% software, 10% testing
Requirements: C++, python
Subject(s): tensegrity robots, sensory feedback, proprioception, neural network, evolution of learning rules, adaptive learning, soft robotics
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Adrien Paolini (ME)

Building a Robotic Flapping Wing to Study Bird Flight

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we develop drones with bio-inspired morphing air frames to achieve increased flight agility. To better understand bird’s wing morphology, wing motion and aerodynamics, we have teamed up with the Animal Flight Lab (AFL) at Lund University (SWE), and are looking for a highly motivated master student who likes to think outside the box. We aim to design and build a novel, artificial bird wing with flapping capabilities, which can later be used to perform extensive wind tunnel tests. The main phases of this master’s project can be distinguished as follows: Analysis of the anatomy of bird’s wings and its bio-mechanics | Study of literature regarding existing flapping wing systems | Design of a mechanism considering the requirements by AFL | Manufacturing of the wing and its mechanisms (mechanics and control) | Fitting and assembly in Lund (1-2 trips to Sweden expected).

Type: Master project
Period: 19.11.2018 - 16.03.2019
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 60% hardware, 10%+testing
Requirements: CAD+software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Biology, Control
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Julien Di Tria (Microengineering)

A path planning algorithms for delivery drones flying in urban environments

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we are developing a human-friendly drone delivery system called Dronistics. The system is composed of the safe-foldable drone called PackDrone and a software to control and monitor drones in real-time.

The first goal of this project is to extend the previous work of a semester project that aimed at computing the best path for the drone at a specified altitude (2D). The improved algorithm should be able to compute a path from point A to point B in a 3-dimensional space. The computed path should be able to avoid buildings, elevated lands, forbidden areas and other drones whose position and flight path are already known to the algorithm.

The second part of the project focuses on dynamic path planning. The algorithm should take into consideration unexpected obstacles such as buildings, construction cranes, trees, and other drones (not registered in a database) and re-plan the new optimum collision free path. Detection of obstacles should be based on existing on the market solutions for obstacles avoidance.

Finally, the system should be rigorously tested, and all the unintended situations should be handled. Tests should be initially done in simulation and validated in a real environment with a physical drone and obstacles. Further, the developed software should be well documented, and its performance should be analyzed. Moreover, the algorithms for path planning and obstacle avoidance should be implemented in the web application that navigates and monitors Dronistics’ drones.

Type: Master project
Period: 15.10.2018 - 15.02.2019
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: Control theory, C++, obstacles avoidance, path planning
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages,
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Pauline Maury-Laribière (MT)

Automated Propeller Geometry Measurement from 3D Scanning Data

This project is part of LIS’s collaboration with Maxon Motor which aims to bring about widespread adoption of professional drones for commercial applications by providing the market with high quality, efficient and reliable propulsion system components. The trend in the drone market towards high-end professional use requires designers to adopt more rigorous methods for performance analysis and sizing of propulsion systems. A major challenge lies in accurately estimating the aerodynamics of the propellers. Since it is often impractical to carry out wind tunnel tests, particularly with large propellers, the Blade Element Momentum Theory is used to model the prop’s aerodynamics. However, this method requires detailed knowledge of the propeller geometry which manufacturers do not typically publish. The goal of this project is to create a software tool which takes as inputs STL or ASC files which contain 3D coordinates of points on the propeller surface and outputs the following parameters: hub radius, tip radius, blade twist, chord length and aerofoil shape at discrete points along the radius. Subsequently the aerofoil shape will be used to determine the lift and drag characteristics at each radial position. If this task is successfully completed the scope of the project may be extended to include developing processes to further automate the 3D scanning of the propeller using examples of tools available on the market.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 02.02.2019
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: Coding experience in Python or MATLAB
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, UAV Propulsion Systems, 3D Scanning, Automation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Marco Zoveralli (IN)

Bandwidth efficient object recognition for drone swarms

The project aims at developing a bandwidth efficient distributed object detection system which can be flown on a drone swarm. The system exploits the different points of view of the drones in the swarm to improve object recognition, while keeping the amount of data that is transmitted to the ground station as low as possible. In this way a more efficient use of the limited wireless resources can be achieved. The projects will involve the use of both off-the-shelf neural network algorithms and WiFi communication protocols. The first part of the project will focus on the setup of the communication network between the communication modules to be mounted on the drones and the ground station. The second part of the project will focus on the setup of the image capture/object recognition system and some basic onboard image processing. The core part of the project will consist in the implementation and optimization of the detection and communication protocol, which will build upon the modules developed so far.This part will include the evaluation of the system performance in terms of both bandwidth efficiency and detection accuracy.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 50% software, 30% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: Good knowledge of WiFi communication protocols (hands-on experience desirable), programming skills (shell scripting, Python, C/C++), familiarity with computer vision
Subject(s): Distributed sensing, drones communications, computer vision, swarm robotics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Louis Munier (MT)

Integration of flight telemetry, precise landing and ground navigation of a UAV

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the LVC and will focus the flight telemetry and analysis of the data, the landing, and autonomous ground navigation. A C2/3 telemetry link is a criterion required by the challenge and needed during all flights. For this purpose, existing hardware will be used to send all the sensor data to the ground base. All communication needs to be encrypted between our drone and the ground control station as required by the challenge. Regarding this, state-of-the-art encryption methods will be studied to find the best solution and adapt it to our application. An automatic diagnostic procedure will be implemented on the ground control station using the logs provided by our platform. The landing will take place in a 10x20 meters area, so it must be precise and short. It will be assured by using existing autopilot hardware and adapting it to have a smooth and short landing. Different existing landing approaches, including experimental ones such as deep stall landing, will be investigated and tested to shorten the necessary runway to a minimum. Since the cargo pick-up criteria are specified to require minimal human intervention, automatic land navigation from the runway to the pick-up location will be designed. The navigation to the take-off will be done with the same algorithm. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s):
Type of work: 30% theory/state of the art, 50% software, 20% flying test
Requirements: Basic aerial vehicle and avionics knowledge and programming
Subject(s): Control, autonomous landing and ground navigation
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Camilla Carta (CH)

Development and Visualization of Neural Network in Robogen

RoboGen™ (www.robogen.org) is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains (neural network). It features an evolution engine and a physics simulation engine. The goal of this project is to further develop the neural network framework in RoboGen to evolve more capable controllers for different robot morphologies. The first part of this project is to understand the working of RoboGen software and the theory behind recurrent neural networks. This will be followed by the development of an improved network architecture that will also include sensory-feedback modulated oscillator models to improve the robot’s capabilities. The second part of the project is to extend the RoboGen platform to introduce visualization of the neural controller of the robot. For this part, various open-source neural network visualization tools will be suggested to the student, who could also develop his own solution. The third part of this project is to further develop recurrent neural networks by adding various other state-of-the-art neuron models. Finally, the developed software should be tested, validated and theoretical software analysis (such as o-analysis) should be performed. This project will be done in collaboration between two labs: Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob), and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems from Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% Theory, 80% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Evolutionary Algorithm, Neural Networks, Modular robots
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Siqi Zheng (MA)

Give the sense of touch to soft modular robots

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. However, their soft bodies have unlimited degrees of freedom and it is very challenging to control their motions and the forces they apply to the environment. Indeed, a distributed sensory feedback to detect global and local deformations should be included in the practical design of soft robots to improve their controllability and include detections of loads from the environment. The objective of the semester project is to design and manufacture sensorized soft modules able to detect deformations. At first, the student will implement a technology available in our lab to sensorize the modules. Secondly, he will make a set-up for detecting deformations of the modules under different conditions and will characterize them. Finally, a demo application of a multi-module structure will be manufactured and characterized to show the potential of the results.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 80% hardware, 10% software
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of structures and materials, Arduino/matlab
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, stretchable sensors
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Roc Arandes (MT)

Development of a bio-inspired robotic manipulator

Vertebrates have manipulation capabilities - in terms of dexterity and versatility - still unmatched by robotic applications. For this reason at laboratory of intelligent systems (LIS) we are focusing on extract bio-inspired principles to improve next generation of robots. In this proposed semester project, we seek to increase robot manipulation capabilities by developing a bio-inspired robotic modular manipulator. At first, the student will design and fabricate the manipulator based on an available design concept. He will use lightweight materials and 3D printing technologies. Secondly, a mechanism for grasping will be designed and manufactured. Finally, the performances of the actuated manipulator will be assessed in terms of workspace area, actuation forces and robustness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 04.06.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory 80% hardware
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms and materials
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, manipulation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Loic Niederhauser (CH)

Control a Robot by means of an Adaptive Body Motion Decoder

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. This interface needs to adapt to one’s control style in order to grant responsiveness and error correction. In this preliminary stage, the student will design a variable structure with gain-adaptive Single-Input Single-Output (SISO) interface and test in VR for a drone teleoperation task. Subsequently, this system will be adapted through machine learning to the control of a robot by means of body motion. Students interested in neural networks, HRI as well as VR programming are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% experimental
Requirements: Python or Matlab, C# basics, elementary knowledge of control systems
Subject(s): Error feedback, teleoperation, adaptive control
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Victor Camille Baptiste Faraut (CH)

Development and test of a human motion capture system

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitations in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. Currently, a hardware infrastructure has been proposed and designed consisting in modular parts with plug-and-play functionalities: the next step is to implement a real application. For this project, you will test the board (a BeagleBone Green Wireless) in different configurations and estimate time requirements for several communication and processing tasks, including acquisition from different sensors, signal processing, multiplexing. Later, you will use the same infrastructure to develop an acquisition system from a set of IMUs, to track a the motion of a human, and validate this system in camparison with a commercial IMU-based motion capture system and a IR camera-based one. Students interested in embedded software and processing and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL MT PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 20% hardware, 50% experimental
Requirements: embedded software, real-time systems
Subject(s): real-time capabilities assessment, hardware
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Hugo Kohli (Microengineering)

Haptic display for a wearable Human-Robot Interface

Haptic is becoming a prominent area in the field of human-robot interfaces. Force feedback and vibrating haptic devices are capable of displaying the presence of obstacles and other physical objects and forces, as well as providing info on robot status and dynamics. In the LIS we are developing a wearable interface finalised to the control of a flying robot. For this application, we are going to adopt a shared control architecture to support human teleoperation in case of difficulties due to the operator cognitive state and challenging environmental conditions. Shared control can be a misleading tool in that the robot’s behaviour does not always reflect user’s inputs. The goal of this project is to design, prototype and test a haptic display which will be installed on the user’s body to inform them about the current shared control state. We want to investigate amplitude and direction resolution for the device consisting in an array of vibrotactile motors. A good plus would be the integration of such device in the current wearable system. Students interested in haptics, wearable hardware design and validation are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: Hardware interfacing, embedded software
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, wearable technology
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Cyrill Florin Lippuner (MT)

Wearable Technology : Integration of hardware and UI for a new framework

Wearable sensors have become very popular in many applications such as medical, entertainment, security, and commercial fields. In the LIS, our goal is to develop a unified framework to allow the user to easily design and prototype experiments and application exploiting this kind of technology. So far, several efforts have been done in this sense on the software, hardware and interfacing sides. Now, we want to integrate the currently available advancements in a first integrated version of the framework. - Integration of the current hardware and user interfaces in a single GUI for system prototyping. - Implementation of a new UI for hardware diagnostics and control Students interested in wearable technology implementation and software development are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN MT PH
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% hardware, 60% software
Requirements: python, basics of embedded software coding
Subject(s): Hardware and Software integration, UI design
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Ludovic Sébastien Pierre Coullery (MT)

Implementation of a novel connection strategy for soft modular robots

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. Consequently, it is very challenging to design a connection strategy for such modules that should also exchange power and information. Indeed, a novel connector able to mechanically connect the deformable modules and, at the same time, allow exchange of energy and information should be included in the practical design of such soft robot. The objective of the semester project is to design and manufacture such new connector based on a novel connection strategy. At first, the student will familiarize with the current soft modular robot and the connection strategy developed in our lab. Secondly, he will design and manufacture a new connector and will characterize it in terms of mechanical robustness, electrical conductivity and quality of the data transmission. Finally, a demo application of a multi-module structure will be manufactured and characterized to show potential applications.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 10% theory, 70% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: good understanding of electrical/mechanical engineering, CAD technologies a plus
Subject(s): soft modular robotics, power and data transmission, bio-inspired robotics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Maxim Pavliv (MT)

Development and testing of a device to give haptic guidance based on the Hanger Reflex when flying a drone with upper body movements

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To do so, we created a wearable interface, called the FlyJacket, with which the user can control a drone with intuitive body movements. The control of the drone can even be enhanced by giving a haptic guidance to the user using tactile feedback. The goal of this project is to integrate a simple, not cumbersome and lightweight haptic guidance device into the FlyJacket based on the Hanger Reflex (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on22yoI40TI&t=7s, publication: Development of a Head Rotation Interface by Using Hanger Reflex, Sato et al.). During this project, the student will have to familiarized him/herself with the Hanger Reflex principle. Then, he/she will have to develop the hardware and the electronics of a lightweight and portable device to trigger the Hanger Reflex by applying force on the torso. This device will be integrated into the FlyJacket., Finally, the student will have to test its effectiveness by doing extensive test with a significant number of human subjects. This will be done by comparing performances of a flight task between subjects with the haptic guidance and a control group that doesn't have this feedback. This project require a highly motivated, independent and creative student. Indeed, a reliable device need to be implemented early in the project in order to have the time to perform tests on human subjects. We are expecting the student to come with his/her own ideas and always be one step ahead of the current state of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: Mechanical+workshop+experience +Solidworks +motivation
Requirements: 10%+theory +50%+hardware +40%+test+on+subjects
Subject(s): Mechanics +Haptics +Wearable +Actuator +Human+Machine+interaction
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Paul Megevand (ME)

Cargo bay, waterproof protection design and wind sensors for a UAV

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the LVC and will focus on a way to transport packages, protect the drone against water and a way to measure wind speed. Firstly, as the main objective of the competition is to transport several 250 g packages defined by the LVC rules from A to B, the drone will have to integrate a cargo bay in which cargo pick-up will have to require a minimal intervention at the destination location. Due to the African environment with weak infrastructure (low runway quality and size), the cargo bay will also have to be designed in a way to absorb hard landings, bumps and drops. As the drone will be used for transportation in a region of Africa with many big water areas (lakes, rivers…) that need to be overflown and a wet season, a water crash must be anticipated. To do so, critical electronics (e.g. autopilot) will have to be protected against water and a specific design will have to be implemented on the drone so it will become waterproof (IPX7: immersion in 1m depth). In the event of a water crash landing, electronics have also to be protected against short-circuits. Thus, a system that mechanically unplugs the battery from the drone will have to be designed and integrated on the drone. However, to avoid any battery disconnection during flight, a special attention to the false positive case will have to be given. Finally, as the autopilot will have to know the precise wind speed during flight and the wind speed and direction during taxi before take-off, a wind measurement system will have to be designed and embedded on the drone. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 10% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware, 20% test
Requirements: CAD software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Conception, Structure
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Michael Perret (MT)

Towards solar panels cleaning through drones

Dirt on the surface of solar panels (SPs) represents a significant factor in drops of their efficiency [1, 2]. Cleaning SPs can be expensive, hazardous and often tricky. This project aims at providing a first step towards the solution of this problem. In the following, some details and phases of this project are given. BLOCK 1: INTEGRATION OF THE DRONE ARCHITECTURE (SW/HW) In this block, the student must quickly familiarize with the literature related to the general topic of the project. After that, the drone architecture has to be built. It consists of assembling drone hardware (e.g., Pixhawk flight controller [5], motors, ESCs, power distribution board, propellers and frame) with an ODROID XU4 [6] and an onboard camera (e.g., OpenMV Cam M7 [7]). It will be fundamental the understanding of the PX4 software [9, 10]. Once the drone is assembled it will be the turn of understanding how to create an object in the Motion Capture System (MoCap) environment (DroneDome). Subsequently, the student should familiarize with the ROS concepts. ROS [8] is a fundamental tool for many robotics projects and it will be used, in this project, to link the flight controller to the MoCap and the laptop/pc used by the student. The drone should be able to autonomously go from a point A to a point B in the DroneDome. BLOCK 2: DETECT AND LAND ON A SOLAR PANEL In this block, the student should understand the basic concepts of visual servoing. These will be used to detect a solar-panel-like structure placed in the DroneDome. This task will be achieved by placing fiducial markers (e.g., Apriltags [3, 4]) on the SP and, without relying on the MoCap, landing at the center of the SP. The drone should be able to autonomously go from a point A to a point B in the DroneDome, find a SP by detecting the visual fiducials and land on it. BLOCK 3: INTELLIGENT DETECTION AND DOWNWASH CLEANING This block can be split into two main parts: • instead of directly landing on the SP, the drone will plan and execute an intelligent trajectory which, thanks to the downwash effect, will give an initial cleaning of debris • some basic edge-detection technique [11] will be investigated and applied to detect a SP without the aid of fiducial markers. The presented approach represents a first fundamental step towards the solution of the complex task of cleaning solar panels. Note also that this project might also be a good starting point for future master thesis projects. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The student is expected to document his/her work throughout the semester project carefully. Moreover, as usual, he/she will have to do a mid-term and final presentation of his/her work. A final report also has to be provided. REFERENCES [1] M. R. Maghami, H. Hizam, C. Gomes, M. A. Radzi, M. I. Rezadad, and S. Hajighorbani, “Power loss due to soiling on solar panel: A review ” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 59, pp. 1307–1316, 2016. [2] M. H. Bergin, C. Ghoroi, D. Dixit, J. J. Schauer, and D. T. Shindell, “Large Reductions in Solar Energy Production Due to Dust and Particulate Air Pollution ” Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., vol. 4, no. 8, pp. 339–344, 2017. [3] E. Olson, “AprilTag: A robust and flexible visual fiducial system ” Proc. - IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom., pp. 3400–3407, 2011. [4] J. Wang and E. Olson, “AprilTag 2: Efficient and robust fiducial detection ” Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intell. Robot. Syst., pp. 2–7. 2016. [5] Pixracer - https://docs.px4.io/en/flight_controller/pixracer.html [6] ODROID XU4 - https://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825 [7] OPENMV Cam M7 - https://openmv.io/products/openmv-cam-m7 [8] ROS - http://wiki.ros.org/ROS/Introduction [9] PX4 user guide - https://docs.px4.io/en/ [10] PX4 developer guide - https://dev.px4.io/en/ [11] Canny edge detection OpenCV - https://docs.opencv.org/3.1.0/da/d22/tutorial_py_canny.html

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 5%+state+of+the+art +40%+hardware +40%+software +15%+misc
Requirements: Basic+aerial+vehicle+knowledge+and+programming
Subject(s): Control +hardware +drone +MoCap
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Damien Roger Richard Coulon (ME)

Development of the chassis and steering system for a long delivery drone

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the Lake Victoria Challenge and will focus on the development of the chassis and steering system. Due to this environment with weak infrastructure (low runway quality and size), the chassis needs to be designed to allow take-off and landing on a very short and potentially rough runway all while keeping the payload safe. This chassis needs to connect the wing, the motor block, the wheels and the cargo bay of the drone. To assure the shortest possible take-off and landing against the wind and for precise good delivery, the drone must be maneuverable on the ground. A steering system has to be implemented to this end. As for the chassis, the steering system has to support rough runways and imprecisions at landing. Since the weight is an important factor, all the requirements should be met with minimum weight. The drone will be used for transportation in a region of Africa with many big water areas (e.g., lakes, rivers) that need to be overflown and a wet season. Thus, the steering system has to be waterproof (IPX7) to withstand emergency water landing and heavy rain. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 10% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware, 20% test
Requirements: CAD software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Conception, Structure
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Joël Zbinden (ME)

Flight control and telemetry integration for short take-off of a UAV

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of a flying platform which could take part in the LVC and will focus on the implementation and programming of the flight controller and telemetry hardware. The LVC demands an autonomous and easy-to-use system. Therefore, the selected platform will need to be equipped with a compatible flight control unit which will contain all the necessary sensors for speed measurement, consumption control and reliable positioning in space (e.g. GPS receiver). These components will be integrated with the provided chassis. A suitable autopilot will be selected among the ones present on the market. Then, it will be programmed, calibrated and tuned to satisfy our needs. Since the runway will have limited dimensions (e. g. 10m x 20m), different autonomous take-off sequences will be investigated and tested to assure stable and effective take-off. For the necessary and mandatory observability of the status of the drone and recoverability in case of a crash landing on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, telemetry hardware with enough coverage and range will need to be embedded on the drone. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 16.01.2019
Section(s):
Type of work: 10% theory and state of the art, 40% software, 20% hardware, 30% test
Requirements: Basic aerial vehicle and avionics knowledge and programming
Subject(s): Control, autonomous flight, aerial robotics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Marjorie Marie Joséphine Lasson (MT)

Comparative Study of Coaxial and “Flat” Multicopter Propeller Configurations

In the future drones will become a ubiquitous feature of urban airspaces, carrying out deliveries, aerial inspections and perhaps even transporting people. If they are to coexist with us near our homes and places of work we will require drones to become safer, quieter and more efficient. The quadcopter is currently the best known and most common rotor configuration but it has a fatal flaw: losing a single rotor makes the craft uncontrollable under most conventional control algorithms. Hence, we are interested in studying systems with six or eight propellers that could continue performing -albeit with a limited flight envelope-, in the event of rotor damage. The project will compare flat hexa and octo-copters to an “X8” configuration with 4 arms, each holding two coaxial propellers. The project has two primary goals. The first is to experimentally investigate various coaxial configurations including, but not necessarily limited to different combinations of blade diameters and pitches, different numbers of blades per propeller and using different rotational speeds for the top and bottom props. Some of the performance metrics to be considered include the specific thrust in terms of force per unit of power, heating of the motors and ESCs, and the level of noise produced by the system. The second goal is then to use these same metrics to compare the better performing coaxial configuration(s) to flat 6 and 8 rotor systems that achieve the same level of thrust. The key tasks for this project include the design and manufacturing of a rig for attaching the propellers to our thrust stand, carrying out the experiments on various propeller configurations, and processing and analysis of the data.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2018 - 14.01.2019
Section(s): GR ME MT
Type of work: 60% Testing, 25% Hardware, 10% Software, 5% Theory
Requirements: Basic Aerodynamics, Coding for automating experiments and data acquisition
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, UAV Propulsion Systems, Experimental Methods
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Rayan Mouwafak (ME)

Design and development of morphing tail

The pursuit of equipping drones with advanced flight capabilities such as aggressive maneuvering and perching calls for a more bio-inspired design and function of the tail. The aim of this project would be to develop an aircraft tail with artificial feathers and characterize its aerodynamics in the wind tunnel. By improving the current tail and feather design, the student is tasked to build small tail prototypes using 3D-printers and our laser cutter and subsequently compare their aerodynamic characteristics. To find out more about the project, please contact the supervisor stated below.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, Flight mechanics
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Hugo Bordog (ME)

Brake thruster for precision landing

As multi-rotor platforms offer low aerodynamic efficiency and limited range, the concept of equipping fixed wing drones with precision landing capabilities is an intriguing one. Although vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) techniques such as the tilt-rotor and tilt-wing methods have been researched widely, most mechanisms tend to be complex with high energy requirements and involve highly nonlinear dynamics. Therefore, the project aims to develop dedicated high impulse thruster that can be deployed on the aircraft’s fuselage to bleed off the remaining velocity during a high angle of attack landing. To find out more about the project, please contact the supervisor stated below.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Mechanics
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Didier Negretto (ME)

Development and study of ailerons vs. folding wings

We aim to improve the roll effectiveness of a highly maneuverable feathered drone with folding wings capability. To operate beyond the convectional flight envelope which includes flying at extended angles of attack and low velocities, sufficient roll control is required to allow effective maneuvering in cluttered environment. This can be achieved through the methodical application of properly sized ailerons and folding wings. The goal of the project is to design and develop ailerons for the feathered drone and subsequently, carry out a comparative analysis of roll effectiveness between the ailerons and the folding wings using the wind tunnel.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, Flight mechanics
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Mahmoud Zgolli (MT)

Control interface for drone swarms

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we are developing algorithms for controlling drone swarms. However, controlling several agents at the same time is not trivial and the need for an easy-to-use interface for swarm control arises. The goal of the project is to develop an intuitive interface for controlling a swarm of drones using only a single control mechanism (via gesture recognition, leap motion, remote controller, joystick, etc.). Existing flocking algorithms already allow the agents to avoid collisions with each other and to stay cohesive as a group. The control interface you develop on top should allow a user to steer the swarm as a single cohesive unit and it should be as intuitive as controlling a single stabilized drone. The project will involve the selection of a control mechanism, the design, and implementation of a control algorithm that fulfills the above requirements, followed by extensive testing thereof in simulation. Optionally, the algorithm can be validated in a state-of-the art motion tracking hall with real drones.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.12.2018
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 60% software, 20% testing, 20% theory
Requirements: Programming skills (Python, C++, Matlab), previous knowledge of ROS and the PX4 autopilot is a plus.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, multi-agent control, human-robot interaction
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Robin Wütschert (IN)

Omnidirectional vision for drones

Omnidirectional imaging is a hot research topic and has important applications to aerial robots equipped with multiple cameras. In addition to numerous use cases in cinematography and film-making, omnidirectional vision can enhance drone autonomy by providing 360-degree visual sensing for tasks such as collision avoidance. The present project aims at implementing and comparing efficient stitching algorithms for omnidirectional vision, possibly enhancing existing solutions. Since the algorithm is to be run on the drone onboard computer and potentially used for real-time applications such as collision avoidance, it should have low complexity and must be able to run at an acceptable speed. The first part of the project will involve the selection and implementation of suitable stitching algorithms. Existing algorithms may be enhanced by taking the a priori information such as the camera configuration into account. The second part of the project will involve testing of the proposed algorithms on a physical drone platform.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.12.2018
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 40% software, 30% hardware, 20% testing, 10% theory
Requirements: Programming skills (shell scripting, Python, C/C++), image processing
Subject(s): Omnidirectional vision, computer vision, multi-camera, aerial robotics, image processing
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Yoann Yves Lapijover (MT)

Swarming algorithms for quadcopters

The state of the art of swarming algorithms is rich. Many of these algorithms are inspired by animal behaviours such as ants, bees and birds and they are designed to visually resemble to them. The most evident example is the Reynolds flocking model [1], developed by the homonymous author to simulate flocks of birds in computer games. DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF AN OPTIMAL DECENTRALIZED SWARMING ALGORITHM When considering drone applications, Olfati-Saber model well suits the needs to keep the robots separated by a known constant inter-agent distance and make them navigate in a preferential and common direction [2]. Furthermore, in realistic scenarios taking into account optimal control helps improving the performances of the flock [3]. The outcome of this first work-package should be the implementation of an optimal swarming algorithm. SWARM DEPLOYMENT IN SIMULATION By integrating an existing simulator (ideally Gazebo [4], [5]), you will deploy your swarm in a search and rescue mission, where the dense group will disperse to explore an area and then become compact again when the goal is reached. The outcome of this second section should be a simulated demo of the mission. ROBUSTNESS OF THE SWARM IN STRESSFUL CONDITIONS The performances of a flock are highly sensible to the failure of some individuals, to the physical constraints of the sensors (for instance limited field of view) and to real world perturbations (like wind). The aim of the last section of the project is to test the robustness of the algorithm under deliberately stressful conditions, like the limitation of the agent’s visual capabilities (cameras with limited field of view) or the arrival of external intruders. The outcome of this work-package is the implementation of one scenario at your choice among the ones cited before and the analysis of the flock performance. You will develop the code in Matlab, Python and/or ROS/Gazebo. Good programming skills are required. References: [1] C. W. Reynolds, “Flocks, Herds, and Schools: A Distributed Behavioral Model ” p. 21, 1987. [2] R. Olfati-Saber, “Flocking for Multi-Agent Dynamic Systems: Algorithms and Theory ” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 401–420, Mar. 2006. [3] O. Saif, “Reactive navigation of a fleet of drones in interaction ” 2016. [4] http://gazebosim.org/ [5] http://www.ros.org/

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 21.12.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% programming, 20% testing
Requirements: Programming skills (Python, MATLAB, C++), design of experiments, familiarity with autopilots like PX4 and simulator like Gazebo would be a plus.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, multi-agent control
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Victor Pierre Guy Delafontaine (MT)

Development of a dynamics simulator for swarms of quadcopters

At the LIS we are currently working on swarming algorithms for quadcopters. In this regard, reproducing the dynamics of a drone in simulation with fidelity is essential to make multiple drones fly together in reality. Drones simulators are effective tools to test the behaviour of a platform without taking the risk of damaging real hardware and being capable of running hundreds of experiments at a click of a mouse. In the framework of this project, you will gain hands-on experience in several key aspects of quadcopter control and navigation, as well as a good knowledge of decentralized drone flocking. ENHANCEMENT OF A QUADCOPTER SIMULATOR By integrating an existing simulator developed in Matlab, you will enhance the low level control strategy, ideally robust control (to take perturbations into account [1]), and implement an optimal path following algorithm. For this, you will make use of the already implemented physical and graphical packages. The outcome of this work-package should be a simulated demo of the quadcopter following the input commands in position and velocity. GENERALIZATION TO MULTIPLE QUADCOPTERS The generalization of the simulator to multiple drones will make it possible to fly a small fleet of drones at the same time. Multiple instances of the same quadcopter should be generated to run in parallel. The paradigm of object oriented programming (in Matlab) may be helpful to this aim. The outcome of this work-package should be a software allowing to simulate the dynamics of a variable number of drones. DECENTRALIZED SWARMING ALGORITHM To simulate a decentralized swarm of drones, an algorithm of flocking has to be integrated to the previous work. A decentralized flocking algorithm that suits the needs to keep the robots separated by a known constant distance and to make them move in a preferential direction is Olfati-Saber [2] model. Building up on the Olfati Saber algorithm, LQR controllers can improve the performance of the swarm [3]. The outcome of this section should be a simulated demo of a flock navigating according to a decentralized algorithm. The implementation of a simple interface could help to set the parameters of the flock. The code will be developed in Matlab/Simulink. Previous knowledge on control and estimation theory are required. References [1] C. MASSÉ, O. GOUGEON, D. NGUYEN, and D. SAUSSIÉ, “Modeling and Control of a Quadcopter Flying in a Wind Field: A Comparison Between LQR and Structured ??Control Techniques ” in 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), 2018, pp. 1408–1417. [2] R. Olfati-Saber, “Flocking for Multi-Agent Dynamic Systems: Algorithms and Theory ” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 401–420, Mar. 2006. [3], O. Saif, “Reactive navigation of a fleet of drones in interaction ” 2016.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 21.12.2018
Section(s): EL MT SC
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% software, 20% testing
Requirements: Programming skills (MATLAB, Simulink, Python), control theory, familiarity with quadcopters would be a plus.
Subject(s): Quadcopter control, navigation, guidance
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Lombardo Julien Maxime (MT)

Incremental Non-linear Dynamic Inversion (INDI) control

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe cargo delivery drone. The drone has shielded propellers to be safe while flying close to people. However, transportation of heavy packages might be very dangerous while a drone is flying during strong winds. Especially, strong wind gust can destabilise the platform, cause fall from the sky thus injure people and damage property.

The goal of this project is to adapt existing control algorithm for quadcopters to improve resistance to wind changes while flying with packages of different size and weight delivered by a drone developed at the LIS.

The first task of this project is the implementation of the Incremental non-linear dynamic inversion controller (INDI) (existing implementation in Paparazzi) to PX4 autopilot to keep the platform stable during sudden changes of wind.

The second task is to validate the controller resistance to the wind and characterise adaptation to varying inertia of the drone due to changes of the payload. Flight tests with Bebop 2 (Parrot’s drone) and/or the PackDrone (delivery drone developed in the LIS) should be done.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: Control theory, C++
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Nathanaël Yvon Ferraroli-Tissot-Daguette (MT)

Improvements and new manufacturing methods of the PackDrone drone

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe and foldable delivery drone called the “PackDrone”. The features of the drone can be find here: https://dronistics.epfl.ch/EPFL/ Existing cage: The cage of the drone is manufactured with strong and lightweight pultruded carbon-fibre tubes connected by flexible 3D printed joints that allow folding of the drone. However, pultruded carbon fibre tubes have limited energy absorption. Thus they break during strong collisions with obstacles. Moreover, the broken carbon parts are dangerous for people. Flexible joints are 3D printed which limits the possibility to produce a bigger number of them in a short time. Additionally, tubes and joints are assembled and bonded manually which is a time-consuming process. The main goal of this project is to find the best available materials and new techniques of manufacturing, to create a stronger light-weight cage in a shorter amount of time. Secondly, the selection of materials must be validated with various lab-experiments. In the end, the prototype of the drone should be built with proposed manufacturing method, and its performance should be measured. The first task of the project is to find materials that could absorb more energy and could be safe after breaking. This part also requires identifying a new method of manufacturing of curved carbon rods to be used in the cage. The second task is to find new methods of manufacturing of flexible joints, e.g. injection moulding or overmoulding. For this task redesign of the joint might be required. Thirdly, the new method of assembling of the cage should be developed to reduce the manufacturing time of the cage. Additionally, the proposed new method should also enable easy replacement of the damaged parts. Finally, the new CAD design of the drone should be done considering the new materials and manufacturing methods. Any improvements/modifications to the other parts of the drone (quadcopter) should be made if required. In the end, the prototype of the drone should be built and tested. If time allows a smaller version of the cage could be designed and built.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, carbon manufacturing, moulding methods
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Anton Hào-Chen Lu (MA)

Middleware for Transportation Drone: Communication with the drone

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing drones for a last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous and are controlled in the real-time and monitored by the Dronistics’ web-application framework. The main goal of this project is to design a communication software between the autopilot of the drone (PX4) and Web-API. The first step of this project is to analyse various existing frameworks (such as Drone/Core, Dronekit, FastRTPS, etc.) that enables reliable communication with the autopilot. The selected framework for the communication software should be implemented and validated with the simulated version of the autopilot. Additionally, the software should be capable of capturing in the real-time drone’s parameters (such as battery status, system status, GPS location). Secondly, the theoretical analysis of the implemented software (using Big O notation) should be performed and efficiency parameters such as computation time and memory usage should be optimised. Additionally, developed software should be integrated into two types of companion computers: Odroid and Snapdragon (both with Linux OS), and the performance metrics should be analysed. Thirdly, the communication software developed should be capable of reprogramming the drone autopilot for different morphologies and should also be capable of modifying the gain parameters Finally, the monitoring and controlling endpoints of the communication software should be well documented and every endpoint should be tested independently. Thus the final goal of this project is to develop an integration-ready software that can be combined with the Web-API to control and monitor the drone. The diagram on Figure 1 explains the concept of the described above software framework.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50%+software, 30%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Basic understanding of programming and software architecture
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Hannes Kaspar Rovina (MT)

A swapping and recharging battery ground station for a delivery drone

At the LIS, we are developing drones for fast transportation of lightweight packages (up to 2 kg). Although the drones can quickly deliver goods at a cheaper cost, the range of delivery is still limited. Inefficient batteries are one of the main reason for this limitation. This project aims at eliminating these traditional limitations by the development of an automated battery-swapping mechanism, which could be used by drones during long-range deliveries. The objective of this project is to develop a ground station for the “PackDrone”. The first goal is to design a mechanism that enables quick battery replacement. The second goal is to implement all required sensors that help in precise landing and orientation of the drone during landing. Finally, the prototype of the ground station should be designed, build and validated with the real drone. The first task of this project is to redesign holder enclosing batteries of the drone. The design should ensure the ease of battery swapping (it may require finding the different shape of batteries). Precise orientation of the drone on the ground station is an important constraint for automatic battery replacement mechanism. Thus the second task is to design a mechanical system that helps to precisely position the drone while landing in the ground station. Additionally, hardware integration of existing supporting system for precise landing with the ground station is required, e.g. IR beacon, vision-based landing or RTK GPS. Thirdly, a mechanism to automatically swap batteries should be designed. The ground station should also have the capabilities to charge used batteries for further use. The ground station should be weatherproof and have integrated weather sensors such as anemometer and thermometer. Finally, the ground station should be extensively tested at the different weather and lighting conditions and its operational reliability should be validated.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% software, 60% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, manufacturing
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, ground station
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Elisabet Arvidsson (MA)

Middleware software design for transportation drones

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous. They are controlled and monitored in the real-time by the Dronistics’, web-application framework. The main goal of this project is to design a Web-API that runs on the companion computer of the drone. The Web-API should accept high-level messages from the external application and perform the corresponding operations on the autopilot. Additionally, the Web API should follow publish-subscribe architecture. Thus the WebAPI should notify the subscribed applications on specific changes in drone parameters (such as a battery, system failure, GPS change, etc. ) The first step of this project is to analyse various existing protocols and open-source REST (Representational State Transfer) compliant Web-API framework for the implementation. During this analysis, comparative study on reliability, security and bandwidth requirement should be performed. Then, the chosen Web-API framework should be implemented. However, the student can use pre-defined values for the drone-parameters. Secondly, a simple web-based application should be developed for a remote server that can reliably control and monitor the drone parameters to validate the WebAPI developed in the first step. Then, the developed Web-API should be ported to different companion computers (Raspberry Pi Zero, Odroid, etc.) and bottleneck analysis should be performed. Finally, the software should be integrated with the real-time drone parameters. Thus, the web application (developed in the step 2) along with the Web-API should be capable of monitoring and controlling the simulated drone reliably. The diagram on Figure 1 explains the concept of the described above software framework.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 80%software, 20%testing
Requirements: Programming
Subject(s): Software Architecture IoT
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Louis-Dominique Renaud (MT)

Adaptive Estimation of Multirotor Geometry and Inertia

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe cargo delivery drone. The drone is inside a cage that can be folded to be safe while flying close to people, and to protect the package. However, transportation of heavy packages might be dangerous if the drone cannot adapt to packages with unknown mass. Furthermore, the drone should be able to adapt to misalignment of rotors that may result from an improper unfolding of the drone.

Indeed, drone autopilots need to have knowledge of the geometry and inertia of a multirotor in order to transform roll pitch and yaw commands into motor commands. This is usually performed using a mixer matrix that is generated according to pre-defined geometries. Using a mixer matrix that does not correspond to the actual geometry of the multirotor may lead to controller instability and crash.

The goal of this project is to allow the drone to estimate its geometry and inertia while flying. The first task of this project will consist in a review of the existing methods, followed by implementation in the PX4 autopilot. The second task is to validate the algorithm. Flight tests will be performed on a multirotor with modified geometry (for example by displacing one of the motors) and inertia (for example by adding a mass). The student will characterize the accuracy of the estimation, and the improvements in controller stability.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 40% software, 10% hardware, 40% experiments
Requirements: Good programming level in C++, data analysis in python. Basics in linear algebra
Subject(s): drone, parameter estimation, mixing
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Jan Niklas Benzing (MT)

Improvements in safety of a protective cage for a delivery drone

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe delivery drone. The drone is designed to transport lightweight items such as medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment over short distances. This drone has an all-around protective cage, which separates propellers from the environment thereby protecting the drone and people. Especially, while delivering goods directly to peoples hands. However, the low density structure of the cage allows fingers to reach the inside of the cage easily. Thus fingers can be injured by the fast rotating propellers.

The main goal of this project is to redesign and build a protective cage for an existing in the LIS delivery drone. The cage should have a structure dense enough to separate fingers of an adult person from the propellers. In the same time, the structure should minimally disturb the airflow which allows the drone to fly.

The first task of this project is to find lightweight materials, fabrication techniques, and mechanical structures that could be used to improve safety of the existing design of the cage. The selection of the best structure should be based on drag calculations verified by experiments (test bench with precise force sensor will be provided).

The second task is to design and build the cage using selected materials and techniques of manufacturing. Implementation of the existing quadcopter in the cage will be required. In the end, the performance of the developed drone should be validated in the controlled environment using motion capture system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.03.2018 - 22.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, carbon manufacturing, moulding methods,
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Florian Kaufmann (CH)

Cellular Controlled Drone

The goal of this project is to prototype a drone that allow for its control logic to be hosted on a distributed cloud accessible via cellular connectivity. Furthermore, all communication needs will have to be implemented via cellular connectivity. Beyond the prototyping, the student will be asked to explore and measure how factors such as latency, range and throughput affect the ability to control and steer drones. Of particular interest is the placement of control function (on the drone or in the network), and the possibilities offered by centralizing parts or all of the control logic.

Type: Master project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 19.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% software, 30% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): flight control, state estimation, networking
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Valentin Kindschi (MT)

Flying in vision denied cluttered environments using contact-based navigation.

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe and foldable delivery drone called the “PackDrone”. This drone has an all-around protective cage, which separates propellers from the environment thus protecting people and the drone. The unique cage design of the “PackDrone” also ensures the safe flight in the cluttered environments (while flying close to obstacles). Additionally, the cage is equipped with a mechanical solution to withstand collisions, thereby allowing it to physically interact with its environment by flying along flat surfaces such as walls, and ceilings.

The present version of the “PackDrone“ is autonomously stabilised but has not got yet any haptic sensors or high-level controller that tells it where to go after the collision. To navigate autonomously in cluttered vision denied environments (fog, smog or smoke), we aim at using the haptic-based interactions with the environment and apply some reactive control to the contacts that occur during flight. The goal of this project is to design and test haptic-based sensors for the drone.

The first task of the project is to design and implement haptic-based sensors within the protective cage. The sensor should be a part of the mechanism that allows to withstand collisions, thus redesign of the mechanism is required.

The second task is a validation of the implemented sensor with the device to withstand collisions. The validation should be performed by acquiring and analysing the sensor data using Arduino electronic development board. Tests will be performed by usage of motion capture system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.02.2018 - 14.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: microcontrollers e.g. Arduino, C/C++,
Subject(s): Flying Robots, transportation of packages, sensors
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Gabriel Neamtu (IN)

Wearable Technology: Prototyping of a Modular Hardware Front-End

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitation in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. The main goals of this project can be summarised as follows: • Research of the connectivity requirements for a set of wearable devices. • Choice of a hardware platform (microcontroller) for the development of the system. The choice should be justified by research on the market based on the needed specifications. • Design and prototyping of the front-end (analog/digital transmission, power supply, communications) • Implementation of hardware recognition and data streaming to a PC through a selected protocol. • Development of a wireless interface to communicate with a computer (bonus) • PCB design (bonus) • Design of different modules (bonus) The student will mainly work on hardware design, driver development and embedded software. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2018 - 08.06.2018
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 10%+theory +60%+hardware +30%+embedded+software
Requirements:
Subject(s): hardware design, hardware, interfacing, signal acquisition, communications
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Kunal Shrivastava (CH)

Precision landing for a cargo drone

Description: Multicopters are recently used to deliver different types of goods in dense environments such as cities, due to their manoeuvrability and possibility for vertical take-off and landing. However, landing among high buildings may cause reflections or even loss of the GPS signal causing imprecision in the localisation of the drone, thus unprecise landing. In this project, we aim at using a vision based technique to land precisely in a designated place by a drone sender or recipient.

Specifically, the first goal of this project will be to localise and remember a take-off position of a drone for precise landing in the same place after delivery. The second task is to find a landing spot indicated on Google maps by a recipient. Thirdly, the algorithm should verify the position of obstacles on the ground such as people, cars, trees etc. and not land on them. Then, the landing performance will be validated on the prototype of the safe foldable delivery drone developed at EPFL.

Goal: The goal of this project is to design and implement a vision based solution for precise landing in cluttered outdoor environments.

This project will be done in collaboration between two labs: Robotic and Perception Group from the University of Zurich, and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems from Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne.

Contact Details: Davide Scaramuzza ([email protected]), Przemyslaw Kornatowski ([email protected])

Type: Master project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 01.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 25% théorie, 60% software, 15% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): drones, vision based navigation
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

2017


Semester

Project

Student:

Jean Marc Bejjani (MT)

Development of a simulator for soft modular robots

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies. Such robots are expected to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. On the other hand, it is very challenging to simulate the kinematics and dynamics of their soft deformable bodies. At LIS we are investigating a new approach to develop soft modular robots that can lead to a simplified representation of their body deformations. Hence, such simulations can be performed with classical physics simulators to predict soft modular robot dynamics in real time. The objective of this semester project is to utilize a classical physics simulator (BULLET engine) to perform real time dynamic simulations of soft modular robots. At first, the student will familiarize with the selected simulator and with the prototype of soft modular robot that we developed at LIS. Secondly, the student will modify the classical simulator to simulate the soft modular robot. Thirdly, the student will implement a specific control algorithm to control the robot in the simulated environment and extract its behavior data. Finally, a comparative study between the performance of simulated and real prototype will be performed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 20% theory 80% software
Requirements: C++, MATLAB, knowledge in kinematics and dynamics
Subject(s): Dynamic simulations, soft modular robots
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Luigi Campanaro (ME)

Development of a controller for soft modular robots based on self-sensing

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots in fact can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. However, their soft bodies have unlimited degrees of freedom and it is very challenging to control their motions and the forces they apply to the environment. lndeed a distributed sensory feedback to detect local deformations should be included in the practical design of soft robots to improve their controllability. The objective of the thesis project is to develop a controller for actuated soft modules able to self-sense their deformations. At first the student will analyze state of art control strategy of soft robots. Secondly, he will implement state estimation control in one single actuated soft module in simulation and later in a real available prototype. Finally a possible control strategy for different assembled soft modules will be proposed and investigated.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.10.2017 - 31.03.2018
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% software, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): soft robotics, modular robotics, control engineering
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Karim Zeid (MT)

A software framework for adaptive structure of multirotor transportation drone

At the LIS, we are developing modular-drones for fast transportation of lightweight packages (up to 2 kg) with medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment etc. As the packages have different weight and dimension, the modular-drone (of LIS) should adapt its body according to the package. These drones will be controlled in real-time using Dronistics (a JAVA-based software).

The objective of this project is to develop a software, which could firstly define a geometry of the modular drone depending on the size and weight of the parcel. Secondly, the software should adapt gains for proposed geometry. Thirdly, the developed software should be well tested and should be integrated with our existing software Dronistics.

The first task is to write a JAVA-based software that could define number of motors, and its position for given parcel. Additionally, the software should be capable of visualizing the proposed configuration.

The second task is to find the gain for the proposed configuration by interpolating the look-up table (non-model based methods such as gain scheduling).

The third task is to experimentally tune gains of different configurations of the multicopters in order to fill in the look-up tables required for the second task.

The last but not least, extensive tests should be done to validate the algorithm. The flight controller will be based on the PX4 and PixHawk autopilot (software and electronic control board) which communicates with the software Dronistics.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Java programming, programming PID controllers,
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, adaptive morphology
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Quentin De Longraye (IN)

Rendering the sensation of flying: design, manufacturing and testing on subjects

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. To do so, we created a wearable and portable interface called the FlyJacket. With it, users can control a drone with intuitive body movements. An important factor to improve this control and also to deepen the embodiment is to render force that the drone is experiencing when flying. The goal of this project is to integer a simple, not cumbersome and lightweight device into the FlyJacket to render the haptic feedback and test its effectiveness by doing extensive test with a significant number of human subjects. The project work flow is the following: the student will have to do a literature research on the state of the art of wearable and portable devices that give somatic feedback. Then, the best solution will be chosen and a prototype will be designed, manufactured and implemented in the FlyJacket. The second half of this project is to test the efficiency of the device on a significant number of human subjects. This will be done by comparing performances between subjects with the haptic feedback and a control group that doesn't have this feedback.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 20% literature review, 30% hardware, 50% experiment
Requirements: Motivation! 😉
Subject(s): haptic feedback, human drone interaction, actuator, wearable
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Julien Di Tria (Microengineering)

A path planning algorithm for drones flying in urban environments

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we are developing a drone-based point-to-point logistics solution to transport lightweight packages (up to 2 kg). We have a JAVA-based software (Dronistics) that can control and monitor drones in real-time.

The objective of this project is to develop an algorithm that could compute the best path from point A to point B in a 3-dimentional space. This computed path should be capable of avoiding all the buildings, elevated lands and other obstacles. 3D model of the environment could be obtained from existing databases (such as Google earth). The developed algorithm should calculate the path in terms of GPS-waypoints and also be capable of providing various details of the path (such as the flight distance). The computed path should be drone-friendly, which means the path should be away from the obstacles (such as buildings and trees). The algorithm should be tested at different environments and should be capable of visualizing path in a 3D map.

Finally, the theoretical analysis of the algorithm (using Big O notation) should be performed and efficiency parameters such as computation time and memory usage should be optimized. The algorithm should be compatible with Dronistics software which is developed at LIS.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 80% software programing, 20% testing
Requirements: Java programming, Data Structures, 3D geometry
Subject(s): Flying Robots, obstacle avoidance, path planning
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Egor Piskarev (MA)

Development of variable stiffness dielectric elastomer actuator

Dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) is a class of electroactive polymer that exhibits high compliance, large actuation stroke, and fast response speed. DEAs are composed of two compliant electrodes sandwiching an elastomer membrane. Applying high voltage induces electric charges on the electrodes that squeeze the membrane in thickness direction and cause expand in area as actuation. The idea of this project is to use low-melting point alloy (LMPA) with DEA. LMPA changes its phase between solid and liquid as a function of temperature. Thanks to this behavior, DEA with LMPA can have variable stiffness of the structure to withstand large external force or to keep an actuated shape without consuming energy. During the project, the student will design a proof of concept of this variable stiffness dielectric elastomer actuator (VSDEA). Subsequently he will establish fabrication process of the device, and characterize it in terms of actuation stroke, force, and rigidity change. Finally, the student will develop a simple 2-fingered gripper using VSDEA to demonstrate the effect of stiffness change.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 01.02.2018
Section(s): MA
Type of work: 25+%+theory +75+%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Smart+materials
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Pol Michel Alain Banzet (ME)

Model and Design of a Soft, Wearable Sleeve

In recent years, there has been a burgeoning interest in the field of wearable robotics for rehabilitation and health monitoring. We are invested in broadening the scope of the current research to encompass applications like telerobotics, that would enable users to interact with robots in an intuitive manner, when provided with passive haptic feedback., The feedback provided through a system of compliant modular clutches, which conform to the human body, are meant to constrain human joint motions. The objective of the project is to design, model and fabricate an upper extremity sleeve integrated with these clutches. This project will entail a study of the surface interactions between various fabric substrates and the upper limb. Drawing on established design principles for orthotics, the student will present ergonomic solutions for the strategic placement of the clutches on the sleeve.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): MA ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 30% theory; 50% modelling; 20% design
Requirements: Matlab, Simulink/OpenSim, Solidworks
Subject(s): Biomechanics, Mechanics of Materials. Design
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Ece Ozelci (ME)

Smart Variable Stiffness Fibers for Soft Robotics

Variable stiffness components (i.e components that change their stiffness and deformability under a specific stimulus) can be used in soft robotics structures to increase deformability and adaptability of the system while minimizing actuation components. In this context, we want to develop a variable stiffness component by using low melting point materials (alloys, polymers) encapsulated in soft materials (elastomers, textiles): the stiffness change is here due to the phase change (solid to liquid and vice versa) of the low melting point material, which is triggered by thermal energy.  In order to achieve better controllability, heating and cooling systems will be designed and integrated in the variable stiffness component. For example, microfluidic channels can be fabricated around a variable stiffness component and can be used as cooling systems. To fabricate them, 2D, 3D printing, laser machining, material patterning and heterogeneous material assembling technology can be used. The component and systems should be designed with consideration on a targeting application, and developed. The component performance (e.g heating and cooling times and control schemes) should be tested and optimized. We most welcome email contact for exploring ideas and discussing project details.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory and design, 50% fabrication, 20% evaluation
Requirements: Heat transfer, Dielectrics, Electromechanical devices
Subject(s): Variable stiffness, Tensegrity robot
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Alaa Bakr Maghrabi (MT)

Simulation model of upper body movement with kinetic assistance

As part of a collaborative study with the BioRobotics Laboratory (BioRob), one of our research goals is to facilitate intuitive teleoperation of mobile robots. The approach that we have adopted involves mapping the degrees of freedom of the human torso to those of an aerial robot, and providing kinetic feedback based on this configuration, to assist the user in controlling the drone’s trajectory. To validate the user’s response to varying force feedback, we have developed a Simulink model of the torso and the upper body as a simple inverted pendulum. While this model serves as a good rudimentary platform for our analysis, we would like to develop a new model in OpenSim, a software platform that is built specifically for biomechanical systems analyses. The goal of this project is to build a human model and carry out a comparative study of the forward dynamics predicted by the two simulated systems with those measured during subject tests. Students should have some experience with Matlab and Simulink. Experience with OpenSim would be advantageous but is not required. Students will be co-advised with Amy Wu from BioRob.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): ME MT SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% hardware, 70% software
Requirements: Matlab and Simulink
Subject(s): Dynamics Model, Programming, Robotics, Simulator
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Jules, Mertens (CH)

Soft active joint for human assistance

Worldwide an increased demand for assistance and rehabilitation technologies is driven by the advent of an aging society. Assistance of limbs joints movements is one of the most important for a user. However, it is complex to design and functionalize a lightweight and flexible solution able to guide and allow mobility of the user at the same time. We seek to develop a wearable, compliant and lightweight tensegrity active joint for human limbs assistance. At first, the student will investigate state of the art upper limb wearable assistive robotic devices. Secondly, he/she will design and fabricate a wearable actuated tensegrity joint based on an available passive structure involving the usage of 3D printing technologies. Finally, the performances of the actuated soft wearable module will be assessed in terms of weight, compliance, and actuation forces.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2017 - 28.01.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms
Subject(s): soft robotics, wearable robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Hugo Elysée Arthur Meyer (MT)

A Software for Motion Tracking and Acquisition of Biometric Signals from Wearable Systems

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitation in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. The main goals of this project can be summarised as it follows: • Development of drivers for a set of different devices (IMUs and EMGs) • Design and development of a basic Graphic User Interface for the interaction with the hardware and the signal readout • Real time data storage and graphic output consisting in plots and 3D visualization of motion tracking and biometric signals. The interdisciplinary nature of the tasks would allow the student to learn how to tackle issues in several fields of engineering such as programming, hardware interfacing, signal processing, 3D graphics. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 12.01.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 10%+theory +20%+hardware +70%+software
Requirements: python+or+java
Subject(s): wearable+devices +hardware+interfacing +signal+acquisition+and+processing +graphics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Johann Hêches (MT)

Modelling the Neuromuscular system and the Kinematics of the Human Body

Wearable sensors have become very popular in many applications such as medical, entertainment, security, and commercial fields. In the LIS, our goal is to develop a unified framework to allow the user to easily design and prototype experiments and application exploiting this kind of technology. In order to do this, and accurate model of the human body needs to be prepared and implemented as a 3D avatar for the tool. The main phases of the project can be summarised as it follows: • Study and production of a preliminary report (3-5p.) of the state of the art of wearable systems: sensors and actuators, technology, placement on the body, signal acquisition and processing. • Analysis of biomechanical aspects for a kinematic model of the human body. • Analysis of the human neuromuscular structure for the accurate placement of sensors and actuators. • Implementation of the acquired knowledge in the production of a 3D virtual model of the human body, on which a set of sensors (visualised as simple markers) can be applied. The model needs to be scalable and adjustable to different body structures. • As an additional task, the student can propose a tool or a procedure to automatically adapt the appearance of the avatar to different persons. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 12.01.2018
Section(s): IN MT SV
Type of work: 40% theory, 30% modelling, 30% software
Requirements: python or java, preferably
Subject(s): wearable devices, modelling, biometric signals, graphics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Timothée Peter (MT)

Development of a biotensegrity mobile robot

Biotensegrity could be a novel design principle for bio-inspired mobile robots. The aim of this project is to proof this concept through development of a bio-inspired mobile robot using tensegrity structure. The robot will consist of a tensegrity structure driven by a servo motor. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible person for more detail.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2017 - 22.12.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks, 3D printing
Subject(s): Bio-inspired robots, tensegrity
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Sébastien Rosat (ME)

Development of a smart materials based actuation for soft modular robots

Modular robots that can change morphology through re-assembly are a robust and versatile solution in situations where multiple tasks are required and the operating environment is not well defined or even unknown. Soft modules can be implemented in such systems to display physical compliance providing safer and better interaction of these robots with the environment. Moreover, the body softness provides a very high robustness absorbing high mechanical shocks. We seek to develop a soft actuator technology based on smart materials to improve such robots in terms of robustness and compliance. At first, the student will investigate state of the art smart materials based actuators. Secondly, he will design and fabricate an actuation mechanism, and implement it in an available prototype of soft modular robot developed in our lab. Finally, the performances of the actuated soft modular robot will be assessed in terms of deformability, robustness and force.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 20.12.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory 70% hardware
Requirements: smart and novel materials, good understanding of mechanisms, CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar)
Subject(s): smart materials, soft robots, modular robots
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Simon Pyroth (MT)

Indoor speed estimation for a contact tolerant drone

Flyability redefines UAV boundaries and brings drones indoors, in complex and confined spaces, and in contact with people. Our goal is to shape the future of the drone market through innovation and commercialization of novel products changing how people work, play and communicate. Flyability is an investor-backed tech-focused company which has received multiple awards and has a worldwide recognition. Flyability’s first product, Elios, is designed for industrial inspection professionals who can now get access for the first time to complex places in seconds without risk. The goal of this master project is to work on potential future technologies for the next Flyability drone. The primary focus will be researching and prototyping sensing solutions which would allow the drone to estimate it’s current speed in unstructured industrial environments. Some of the tasks will include: - Studying the state of the art of sensors which could be used for position or speed estimation. - Testing and evaluating various sensors and evaluation kits, such as optical flow and inertial sensors. - Creating prototypes of possible solutions, including electrical design and software. - Performing tests to assess and compare the performance of various solutions in different environmental conditions. - Choosing the most appropriate solution and providing guidelines for the implementation of this solution on the next Flyability product. As this master project is focusing on the development of future technologies for future products, the student should be conscious that the scope of this internship can be redefined from time to time to fit better-emerging ideas.

Type: Master project
Period: 25.01.2017 - 25.08.2017
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): state estimation, sensor fusion
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Alexandre Moscardini (MT)

Design and manufacturing of a slack-enabling tendon drive for soft upper-limb exosuit

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. A way of doing it is using cable driven actuation. One drawback of this actuation is that the tension should always be maintained in the tendon to prevent derailment from the spool. The goal of this project is to develop and test a slack-enabling tendon drive. As this device will be integrated in a wearable device, it has to be small, lightweight, passive and the friction should be minimized., During this project, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and extensively tested (optimization of the size and weight, system reactivity, friction …).

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 20.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Mechanics, Wearables, cable actuation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Hugo Viard (MT)

Design, manufacturing and testing of a bidirectional glove

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive interfaces to interact with distal robots. To improve the control, we aim to develop portable bidirectional interface that can command distal robots and receive haptic feedback from them. The goal of this project is to develop and control a smart bidirectional glove. This glove will sense finger movements using liquid metal sensors, and will give back pressure sensation (such as in case of gripping an object) using fishing line actuators. During this semester project, the student will have to get familiarized with human proprioception, study and develop both the sensing and the actuation parts. He will have to integrate both device in a fully functional glove. The issue of the high temperature for the actuation will have to be solved. The student will also have to make the control (reading sensors and actuations) and to do extensive tests on the interface performances.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 20.06.2017
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: Electronic is an advantage
Subject(s): Soft robotic, haptic feedback, sensor, wearable
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Egor Piskarev (MA)

Fabrication and characterization of low cost ultra stretchable sensors

Supervisors:

Jun Shintake

We have developed a low cost ultra stretchable sensor. The next step is to characterize the sensor performance in order to apply this technology to robotic applications. The student will work on: 1) Fabrication of the sensor. 2) Characterization of the sensor in terms of strain, cycle, and repeatability. 3) (optional) If the project goes quickly, there will be chance to prototype a robotic application.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): MA
Type of work: 25% theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft robotics, stretchable electronics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Louai Bensaid (MT)

Variable stiffness t-shirt for wearable human-robot interfaces

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we develop variable stiffness fabrics to be used in wearable human-robot interfaces. The goal of this project is to develop a prototype of a self-adaptable t-shirt capable to vary its stiffness and deformability: in the soft state, the t-shirt should softly conform to the morphology of the user, like a normal elastic t-shirt. Then, once adopted the user morphology, it should become stiff and not deformable in order to rigidly maintain the adopted shape and block any further movement, like a carapace. Such a smart t-shirt has to be lightweight and portable. During this project, the student will study a specific variable stiffness strategy (i.e. layer jamming) and will design, manufacture and test a functional prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): MA MT MX
Type of work: 20%theorie, 30% experiments, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Wearable robotics, soft robotics, variable stiffness
Report: Click here

2016


Master

Project

Student:

Cyril Stuber (MT)

Symbiotic User Interface between the fly jacket and a commercial drone

Drones are becoming ubiquitous in our daily lives and are challenging us to develop new avenues of interactions. Existing interfaces such as joysticks and remote controllers require training and constant cognitive effort and provide a limited degree of awareness of the robots’ state and its environment. At the laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing a new immersive and intuitive interface that allows novice and experienced users to fly drones. The setup uses a “fly jacket” that tracks user hand gestures and provides visual feedback from a camera mounted on the drone. The goal of this project is to interface the fly jacket with a commercial drone. A first objective of the thesis is to develop the required hardware and software to interface the fly jacket and the drone. A second objective is to ensure a safe interaction with the drone. This will encompass automatic take-off and landing, geo-fencing, stable flight guarantee, etc. A third objective is to tune the level of aggressiveness of the drone during flight. An integrated system and demonstration is expected by the end of this project.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 17.06.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 70% software, 10% hardware
Requirements: Programming, aerodynamics, natural interface
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Natural User Interaction
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Lucas Monnin (IN)

Highlight of geo-referenced information during flight

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By developing a bidirectional interaction we obtain a simpler interaction and allow more people to fly. In our solution, the human is flying a fixed-wing drone using his upper body gestures and at the same time is having a visual and a haptic feedback. The sensors to monitor the gestures and the actuators are embedded in a 'flight jacket' the user is wearing. The goal of this project is to develop relevant tools to be able to use the fly jacket in search and rescue scenarios. In simulation, a quadcopter will first be designed and used with the fly jacket. Then, highlights of geo-referenced information such as interest/hazard spots triggered by an external device will be implemented. This will then be tested with a real quadcopter using augmented reality. Simulation and reality tests will conclude the success of this project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 17.06.2017
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 100% software
Requirements: Programming, aerodynamics, natural interface
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Simulation
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Grégoire Besson (MT)

Development of a soft, jumping robot

Locomotion on rough terrain is a difficult task for robots of small in size, such as those used for inspection or search and rescue scenarios. To solve this problem, several small animals in nature use jumping as their main means of locomotion. We seek to develop a novel type of soft jumping robot composed of a deformable body., At first, the student will analyze state of art solutions of jumping robots. Secondly he/she will develop and manufacture an actuation system for an available prototype of a deformable and lightweight, smart structure developed in our lab. Thirdly, a simple controller will be developed and tested to perform jumps and angled jumps. Finally, the prototype will be tested to assess the jumping capability, the speed and jumping angle precision.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.02.2017 - 15.06.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory 30% research 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar, microcontroller programming, good understanding of mechanisms
Subject(s): Jumping robots, soft robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Guglielmo Milan (ME)

Design and Manufacturing of Foldable Wings Based on Layer Jamming

Aerial robots provide valuable support in several high-risk scenarios thanks to their capability to quickly fly to locations dangerous or even inaccessible to humans. In order to fully benefit from these features, aerial robots should be easy to transport and rapid to deploy. One solution to solve this transportation issue is to reduce the size of the drones. The shortcoming is a reduction in payload capabilities and in flight time. Therefore, foldable structures, which can be packaged for transportation and quickly deployed for operation, are a promising solution to enable full benefits from the potential of flying platforms. The goal of this project is to develop foldable wings for small sized flying robots (wingspan 0.5-1 m) based on layer jamming. Layer jamming is instrumental in stiffening the wing in the deployed configuration ensuring load bearing capabilities. First, an analysis of the state of the art on jamming technologies and origami wing will be done. Then, based on this analysis a design will be proposed and a prototype of the foldable wing will be manufactured. Finally, static tests and flight tests will be performed to assess the design and suggest improvements. The goal of the test is to assess the deployment (folding and unfolding) time, the volume reduction and the wing weight and stiffness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Foldable mechanism
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Jérémie Willemin (MT)

Design of a Disposable Robot for Exploration in Search and Rescue Scenarios

The robots currently recruited for search and rescue missions are very complex and expensive machines, hence fragile and difficult to deploy on the field. A different approach consists in deploying a swarm of minimalistic and inexpensive robots capable to rapidly explore the environment in order to stream vital information to the rescuers. For example, the robots can penetrate the disaster zone and go beneath the rubble where their sound, heat, motion and CO2 sensors can be used to detect signs of life. Using as a starting point an available prototype of disposable flying robot, the goal of this project is twofold: to improve the mechanical design of the robot aiming at ensuring locomotion in uneven environments; and to implement a control strategy for random locomotion. At first the student will analyze state of the art solutions in the field of swarm robotics for search and rescue missions. Secondly the student will improve the mechanical design of the available prototype focusing on weight reduction, ease of manufacturing and crash resilience. Thirdly, a simple flight controller will be developed and tested. Finally, the student will perform tests to assess the performances (weight, resilience, operation time) of the prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar, programming, aerodynamics
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, Aerial robotics
Report: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Cameron Dowd (CH)

Foldable wings for VTOL UAVs to facilitate storage and transportation

Since Africa is growing too fast to build out its road network, some goods will have to be supplied from the sky. We believe Africa will be the first continent to build out unmanned air cargo at massive scale.

That is why Laboratory of Intelligent Systems collaborate with the "Red/Blue Line" flying robot consortium (http://afrotech.epfl.ch/page-115280-en.html) which is a spin-off of Afrotech based at EPFL (http://afrotech.epfl.ch). Consortium aims to set up the first flight-cargo robot route in Africa by 2016. It will be about 80 kilometres long and will connect several towns and villages. The first use case will be to fly units of blood from a centralized blood bank to peripheral health clinics. By bringing blood to severely anaemic young children and mothers, as well as to trauma patients, the route will prove that autonomous flight can save lives.,

The goal of this project is to design foldable wings to facilitate storage and transportation of VTOL platforms used for transportation by Red Line.

The project will involve two important parts:

Identification of different solutions of mechanical structures taking into account scalability – different sizes of the platforms for different payloads.

The second part will address the investigation of materials and manufacturing technologies that could be used for different sizes of VTOL platforms.

This project will involve dimensioning, CAD design and simulations of foldable wings. Proposed foldable mechanism should be manufactured and tested in order to assess the design and suggest improvements.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.09.2016 - 15.02.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: CAD software, mechanical knowledge
Subject(s): Flying Robots, Foldable structures, lightweight materials, fixed wing platforms
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibaut Paschal (MT)

Development of a novel type of bio-inspired underwater robot

We seek to develop a novel type of bio-inspired underwater robot capable of multiple swimming modes. The robot will consist of silicone based soft body actuated by servo motors powered either tethered or untethered condition. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible persons for more detail.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 18.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft robotics, underwater robots, bio-inspired robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Egor Piskarev (MA)

Soft actuators based on a new material

We recently developed a new material for soft robotics. Our next step is to create a soft actuator out of this material. In this project organized between LIS and RRL, the student is expected to (1) characterize the mechanical property of the material using a mechanical tester, (2) fabricate a pneumatic soft bending actuator by reference to methods available in literature, and (3) characterize the actuator in terms of bending angle and force using an existing setup. The set up may be needed to modify according to the specification of the actuator. For more details, please contact the responsible person.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 15.01.2017
Section(s): EL MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 80+%+hardware +20+%+theory
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft+robotics +pneumatic+actuator
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Tristan Besson (MT)

Wind speed measurement and wind audio feedback for aerial robots

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By designing a bidirectional interface between a human and a drone, we allow more people to use the interface in a simpler way. At LIS, we also aim to develop aerial robots capable of monitoring their environment for different tasks such as search and rescue, environmental monitoring and inspection. The goal of this project is to design a solution to measure the wind speed and to use the same hardware to record the sound of the wind and to transmit it to the ground user. Indeed both of these functions require engine noise removal. This project will be based on a previous semester project which only adressed the speed measurement. A hardware setup will be built and signal processing will be used. The whole system will be testd on a real flying platorm by the end of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% hardware, 40% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Human Drone Inteface, Flying Robotics
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Cyrill Baumann (MT)

Gimbal camera with on-screen display

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By designing a bidirectional interface between a human and a drone, we allow more people to use the interface in a simpler way., The visual feedback is an important component to have immersion. This has to mimick head orientation and be able to display other desired information. The goal of this project is to design a 3-axis gimbal camera and to add specific on-screen information to the video displayed in the Oculus Rift DK2. Based on maxon motors, a given controller board and a tiny camera, the mechanical design of the gimbal will have to be designed. Then, the image received on a computer will be added custom display information such as the level of battery, etc. The setup will be tested in real experiment at the end of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 50% hardware, 50% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Human Drone Inteface, Visual feedback
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Dalmir Hasic (IN)

Automated Flight Test of MAV

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing an autopilot software for drones. Since the development of this software is continuous, frequent testing is crucial to assure functionality. In this project, the student will develop an automatic testing procedure for the autopilot software. The testing software should perform flight tests (in simulation and reality) to assure the autopilot is fully functional and measure its performances, such as needed time for a mission and trajectory error. The software should then output a comprehensive report about the test results. The student will determine the testing procedure and the performance metrics. He/she will then implement the automatic testing and define the format of the resulting report. The testing should then be included in the development workflow (github).

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory;, 80% software;
Requirements: Programming (C++)
Subject(s): Drones, Autopilot, Testing
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Arthur Pierre Philippe Hervé Gay (MT)

Creating a Ground Control Station Software for Drones

Ground control software is a key part of the operation of Drones. It allows to monitor the current state of the Drone, plot and log telemetry data, and also send commands to the drone. Current ground control station are generally large pieces of software, which are difficult to set-up and modify for custom needs. The student will improve and extend a ground control software that was developed by a student during the spring semester. The focus of the project is to adapt the software to the needs of the laboratory while being compatible with various open source software.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 80%+programming +20%+experiments
Requirements: programming:+python ++javascript +html +css
Subject(s): Human-Drone+interface
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Carlos Malanche+Flores (MA)

Implementing a grammar for RoboGen body evolution

RoboGen™ is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains. It features an evolution engine, and a physics simulation engine. The goal of the project is to implement new encoding methods for RoboGen robot body descriptions which makes morphology mutations more natural and efficient in terms of exploration of the search space.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX PH SC
Type of work: 40%+Theory+60%+Software
Requirements: C/C+++Programming +Artificial+Evolution
Subject(s): Artificial+Evolution, Genetic Algorithms, Programming
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Gaël Gorret (MT)

Creating more flexible parts in the RoboGen simulator

RoboGen™ is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains. It features an evolution engine, and a physics simulation engine. Learn more at www.robogen.org The goal of the project is to restructure how parts are defined in the simulator, in order to make it easier to create new parts with more flexible parameters. The simulator is coded with C, .

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN SC
Type of work: 20%+Theory +80%+Software
Requirements: C/C+++Programming +Simulation
Subject(s): Programming +Simulation +Physics-based+simulation
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Valérie Céline Springmann (MT)

Design, manufacturing and control of a kinetic feedback device for the torso

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. The goal of this project is to develop and control a device to give kinetic feedback at the torso level in bending motion (front, back, right and left). The device has to be lightweight, user-friendly, and given forces tunable., This project deals with human proprioception, mechanics, and electronics. Based on the knowledge acquired during a study of the human torso proprioception, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, human-robot interaction
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Maimun Al-Tayar (MT)

Development of a novel adaptive drone

We seek to develop a novel type of quadcopter capable of carrying objects of different shapes and sizes by adapting its stretchable, soft silicone body. In the robot, the object is held by contraction force generated from the stretched body. In other words, the object provides rigidity to the robot to fly stable. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible persons for more detail. Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Jun Shintake, Stefano Mintchev

Type: Semester project
Period: 10.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft robotics, flying robots
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Matthieu Boubat (MT)

Design and manufacturing of an active arm support to receive haptic feedback from a drone

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. The goal of this project is to develop and manufacture an active arm support. This device as two functions: to support that arm to prevent fatigue and to give kinetic feedback for the abduction movement. In addition, it has to be lightweight, wearable, user-friendly, and given forces tunable., This project deals with human proprioception, mechanics, and electronics. Based on the knowledge acquired during a study of the human arm proprioception, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, human robot interaction, exoskeleton
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Nicolas Winteler (MT)

Voice assistance for delivery drones

At the LIS we are developing a drone for fast transportation of different packages to individual users. We would like to implement within a drone a system of voice communication/information in order to help user to interact with a drone during procedures of: landing, removing a package from a drone and taking off.

The first task of this project is to implement on a drone system that will allow users for voice communication in a real time. This feature will help user to interact with the drone in case of any problems during the last phase of the delivery. This task will require to interface an appropriate microphone and a lightweight powerful speaker with a GSM module to send and receive signals on a long distances.

Implementation of GSM module will require to adapt/write algorithms for voice communication. Second task is to develop an algorithm that will filter the sound of propellers and allow users for voice communication during the landing or take off procedure. This task will require to use additional electronic platform for computation and interface it with electronics from the task one.

The last but not least assignment will be to implement voice instructions for the recipient of the package for different steps of the delivery.

Type: Semester project
Period: 10.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 30%+theory +50%+software +20%+hardware
Requirements: Programming +signal+processing +PCB+design+
Subject(s): Flying+Robot ++transportation +sound+filtration +voice+communication
Report: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Lucie Gabrielle Sarah Houel (MT)

Variable stiffness wearable cast

Orthopedic casts have to be breathable, lightweight, fully conformable to the patient anatomy and stiff enough to support the injured body part. The goal of this project is to develop a wearable orthopedic cast made of variable stiffness fiber, that can be easily worn and removed like a sleeve; this cast will allow an easy removal (definitive / temporary for diagnosis or for adapting to a less swollen injured area) and therefore it will be re-used (by the same patient or others) .Technological solutions in the fields of variable stiffness have be studied and the requirements for a safe wearability have to be taken into account; a prototype has to be designed, fabricated and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2016 - 31.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% hardware and manufacturing, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft and wearable devices, Materials, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Lea Bole-Feysot (MT)

Robotic fabric for next generation human-robot interfaces

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we aim to develop multifunctional tissues that integrate sensing and actuation. Those tissues enable a wide range of applications, from rehabilitation exosuits to wearable human-robot interfaces. The goal of this project is to develop a proof-of-concept fabric capable to conform to a curved surface (e.g. human arm) and sense its deformation; the fabric has to be actuated, lightweight and breathable. Technological solutions in the fields of wearable sensors, fiber-like actuators and textile manufacturing have be studied; once selected the ones suitable for the targeted application, a prototype has to be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2016 - 31.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30%theory +50%hardware and manufacturing +20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft and wearable devices, Materials, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Benjamin Vincent Camile Bonnal (MT)

Development of a Quadcopter with Adaptive Morphology

Supervisors:

Stefano Mintchev

Morphology plays an important role in behavioral and locomotion strategies of living and artificial systems. There is biological evidence that adaptive morphological changes can not only extend dynamic performances by reducing trade-offs during locomotion, but also provide new functionalities. The goal of the project is to develop a quadcopter that exploits adaptive morphology: i) for folding for ease of storage and transportation, ii) for achieving different modes of flight that can enable critical and opposing requirements such as maneuverability and efficiency. Based on available technologies for morphing that have been developed at LIS, the student will: i) design a prototype, ii) manufacture a prototype, iii) assess the results.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 18.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% mechanical designs, 30% hardware and manufacturing, 10% experiments
Requirements: CAD (Solidworks preferred), Basic electronics and programming
Subject(s): Flying robotics, , Multi-Modal Locomotion

Semester

Project

Student:

Frédérick Matthieu  Gusset (MT)

Design and Control of a Foldable Quadcopter

Aerial robots provide a valuable support in several high-risk scenarios thanks to their capability to rapidly fly in locations dangerous or even inaccessible to humans. In order to fully benefit from these features, aerial robots should be easy to transport and rapid to deploy. With this aim, at LIS we have developed a novel pocket sized quadrotor with foldable arms. The quadrotor can be packaged for transportation by folding its arms around the main frame. Before flight, the quadrotor’s arms self-deploy in 0.3 second. Using as a starting point the available prototype and control algorithms, the goal of this project is twofold: to add mechanical protections that improve collision resilience; and to implement stabilization algorithms to hold altitude and to recover stability after being launched in the air by hand. At first the student will analyze state of the art solutions in the field of origami robotics, foldable structures and variable stiffness materials. Secondly the student will design and manufacture a prototype of the foldable arms/frame. Finally, the controller will be developed and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 16.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: CAD (better if SolidWorks), C
Subject(s): Origami robotics, Foldable mechanisms
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Anand Bhaskaran (MT)

Design a software framework for transportation drones

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) we are developing a drone for point to point delivery. We are targeting drones for long range (more than 10 km) delivery to our houses of lightweight packages (up to 2 kg).

The main goal of this project is to design a software framework to monitor transportation of parcels by a flying platform. The software should allow drone to fly autonomously to desired location and verify person responsible to receive package.

First step of the project is to implement WebServer and WebApp for a smartphone (or use an existing smartphone application) to control point to point navigation. Afterwards, implementation of Database Server to maintain the logs and run-time information has to be done. To constantly monitor the status and the position of the drone over long distances GSM interface has to be implemented. User should also have the possibility to change parameters of the mission and allow the sender to decide what to do in case of unforeseen situations. Additionally, this framework should support the management of multiple drones.

Secondly, the algorithm should be written to compute on the server the best path to fly from point A to point B avoiding forbidden areas (airports, stadiums, crowded places etc.). Information about those areas will be downloaded from the existing Geofence Database Server. Computed way points have to be send to the drone through GSM Cellular Network.

The third feature of the software framework, should be recognition and verification of the recipient of the package (verification should be made by the application on the recipient's smart phone). Recipient should acknowledge receipt of the package using the application. In case of negative authorization appropriate action should be performed by a drone. For example: land on the spot pointed by the sender or fly directly back home.

Finally the developed software framework by the student should be tested using one of the flying platforms designed at LIS for transportation of goods. The software framework should be capable to interface with the MAVRIC autopilot (electronic control board and software) developed at LIS. Diagram on the Figure 1 explains concept of the described above software framework.

In terms of research, the project entails:

• A review and comparison of point to point navigation approaches, • Status and positioning monitoring, and a modeling of possible deviating situations • A tradeoff analysis regarding local and remote (cloud) computations • An investigation into the parameterization of the drone behaviour from the perspective of the definer of a mission.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.03.2016 - 31.08.2016
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): programming

Semester

Project

Student:

William Ponsot (MT)

Miniature vision sensor for flying robot

The goal of this project is to develop a miniature smart vision sensor for drones, composed of a conventional camera and a microcontroller. Image processing algorithms such as optic flow extraction and obstacle detection will run on the microcontroller and extract useful information of the drone's motion and the environment. The extracted data will then be sent to the drone's autopiloy. Several of these smart sensors will be mounted on a drone and used for autonomous navigation tasks, such as collision avoidance and target following. The project consists of designing the PCB with the camera, the microcontroller and other components (power regulator, clock, etc.). In the second phase, the student will implement the image acquisition on the microcontroller. The acquisition should be coded in C/C, . Sample code for the acquisition will be provided. If time allows, the student could implement basic image processing functions on the microcontroller and test it on a flying robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 08.01.2016 - 08.08.2016
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 30% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: PCB design, embedded C/C++ programming
Subject(s): Electronic design, digital camera, smart sensor

Master

Project

Student:

Darius Constantin Merk (PH)

Bio-inspired collision avoidance in cluttered environment

Insects are known to rely heavily on vision during flight, more specifically on optic flow which is the apparent motion on their retina as they move through a scene. A clever use of optic flow cues can explain most of the behaviors exhibited by flying insects such as body stabilization, position and speed control, height control, visual odometry and landing. In a recent publication [Bertand2015], a method was proposed to explain how insects modulate the amplitude of saccades in order to avoid collisions in cluttered environments. Visual motion is measured all around a spherical eye and used to build a proximity map of the environment. On this basis, a motion direction is computed for the next saccade. The goal of this project is to implement this method on a real flying robot. The project will be validated by autonomous flights in cluttered artificial environments with controlled geometry and texture, as well as in natural environments. Depending on results and time, the student will propose improvements to the method and implement them.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.02.2016 - 08.08.2016
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 50% software, 50% experiments
Requirements: Good programming level
Subject(s): Optic flow, autonomous flying robot, collision avoidance

Semester

Project

Student:

Nicolas Jacquemin (MT)

Onboard simulation of the dynamics of a fixed wing UAV

The MAVRIC autopilots developed at LIS are capable of simulating the dynamics of a quadcopter on the onboard microcontroller. When in simulation mode, the values given by embedded inertial sensors, barometer, sonar and gps are not used. Instead, a dynamic model is updated, and simulated sensor values are computed accordingly. This is very useful for development because all the rest of the hardware is used, including radio link, so a flying UAV can communicate with a UAV in simulation mode on the ground. Furthermore this can be used for fault detection by comparing simulated sensors and real sensors. However, because the simulation runs on the microcontroller of the autopilot, it has to be computationally efficient. The simulation is currently limited to quadcopters. The goal of this project is to implement the simulation of the flight dynamics of a fixed wing UAV on MAVRIC autopilots. A good trade-off between accuracy and computational complexity will have to be found. The resulting simulation will be first tested on the ground, then compared to the actual dynamics of an existing fixed wing UAV.

Type: Semester project
Period: 05.01.2016 - 06.08.2016
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 40% theory, 40% software, 20% experiments
Requirements: C/C++ programming, basics of flight mechanics
Subject(s): Flight mechanics, embedded programming, fixed wing UAV

Semester

Project

Student:

Brice Platerrier (MT)

Optic flow based estimation of angle of attack on a VTOL UAV

Supervisors:

Julien Lecoeur

At LIS, we developed the Ywing : a VTOL (vertical take off and landing) drone capable of flying at any speed between its cruise speed and hover by varying its angle of attack. The angle of attack (angle between wing chord and airflow) cannot always be approximated by pitch angle (angle between wing chord and horizon) because the drone is not always flying at constant altitude. The goal of this project is to use optic flow measurements from a wide field of view camera embedded on the drone to estimate the angle of attack. Indeed, in translation flight, all optic flow vectors point to the current direction of flight, which can be used to estimate angle of attack. The estimation of angle of attack will be implemented on the onboard controller using optic flow vectors computed on the camera, and validated in flight. If time allows, this estimate will be used to control the altitude of the Ywing.

Type: Semester project
Period: 06.01.2016 - 06.08.2016
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% experiments
Requirements: C/C++ programming, 3D geometry
Subject(s): vtol uav, optic flow, great circles, angle of attack

Semester

Project

Student:

Tracchia Tommaso (MT)

Interface of Mavric autopilots with motion tracking system

Motion tracking systems are more and more popular in flying robotics. By detecting the position of IR reflective markers on a set of high speed cameras, commercially available motion tracking software are capable of tracking and streaming the 3D position and orientation of a rigid object. This provides solid ground truth for experiments with autonomous flying robots. The goal of this project is to interface a motion tracking system with the MAVRIC drones developed as LIS. The first task will be to forward tracking data to the drone via wireless communication. This data will be used onboard to close the control loop and provide safety features such as wall avoidance and fallback controller in case of emergency. The main challenge to tackle will be the latency introduced by the tracking software, the packet forwarding software, and radio link. If time allows, the student will implement additional features such as automatic identification of each drone in a swarm.

Type: Semester project
Period: 06.01.2016 - 06.08.2016
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 60% software, 30% hardware, 10% theory
Requirements: C/C++ programming, basic networking
Subject(s): Motion tracking system, flying robots

Semester

Project

Student:

Stéphane Ballmer (MT)

A lightweight and modular Ground Control Station

Ground control software is a key part of the operation of UAVs, it allows to monitor the current state of the UAV, plot and log telemetry data, and also send commands to the drone. Current ground control station are generally large pieces of software, which are difficult to set-up and modify for custom needs. The goal of this project is to build a lightweight alternative to current ground control station software. The focus of the development will be on the ease of use, modularity and extensibility. A promising approach is to use a server-client architecture with the interface displayed in the web-browser, the student can take inspiration and reuse open source libraries such as Mavue, MavProxy, Dronekit or Mavelous.

Type: Semester project
Period: 06.01.2016 - 18.07.2016
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 80% software, 20% experiments
Requirements: Good programming level
Subject(s): Human-Drone interface

Semester

Project

Student:

Guillaume Leclerc (IN)

Bringing RoboGen Online To the Public

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and, maintenance of RoboGen: an open-source software, hardware platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. Recent work has ported the software portion of RoboGen to run completely inside of a web browser while also allowing the computationally expensive fitness evaluations to be distributed to other peers as well as cloud servers., This creates a powerful combination where anyone, anywhere in the world can visit the website and run meaningful experiments in Evolutionary Robotics without the need for complicated installation procedures or having their own access to HPC resources. While the functioning of this system has been succesfully demonstrated, the development process has not yet been completed to the point of releasing the system to the public., This project will complete the final steps to, bring RoboGen online to the public: (a) fix the outstanding bugs and usability issues to make the software robust, (b) add some small additional functionality to make the software more useful for experimentation, and (c) perform user tests with the Student of Micro 515 (Artificial Evolution) who will use the software for TPs and their class mini projects.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.02.2016 - 30.06.2016
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 60% software, 40% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Software, Evolutionary Robotics, WebAL
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Aloïs Aebischer (MT)

Flywheel device to apply torque feedback for hand orientation

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback devices to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. The goal of this project is to develop a small and lightweight device, based on the flywheel concept, to give perceptible torque to the user at the hand level. Along this project, the human torque perception and flywheel mechanisms will be studied. Based on this knowledge, a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and tested. Depending on the advancement of the project, an optimization of the torque vs weight will be performed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.02.2016 - 03.06.2016
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiments
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, Human-robot interaction

2015


Semester

Project

Student:

Cyril Stuber (MT)

Drone's repulsive behavior from virtual fence

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By designing a natural interface, emcompassing feedbacks, between a user and a drone, we decrease the cognitive effort dedicated to the interface. This allows a wider diversity of people to use it, and allows people to focus more on the mission than on the interface. The goal of this project is to implement a repulsive behavior for a quadcopter while approaching a virtual geo-referenced fence. As the repulsion actions will be in the future fed back to the user through the natural interface, care will be taken to minimize the dis-comfort created by these actions. The repulsive behavior will be based on an artificial force field. We will first optimize this field to reduce at most the user's discomfort. This will be tested at first in simulation and then in a real experiment.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.02.2016 - 03.06.2016
Section(s): IN MT PH
Type of work: 30% Theory, 50% Software, 20% Experiment
Requirements: Good knowledge of C, basics of control theory
Subject(s): GPS navigation, Artificial force field

Semester

Project

Student:

Florian Reinhard (MT)

Development of a new multi-modal robot for hovering and terrestrial locomotion

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and take off. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of animals, such as bats, that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots. The goal of this project is to conceive a new multi-modal robot capable of hovering, terrestrial locomotion and transition between the two. Based on state-of the art solutions and already available prototypes at LIS, different design solutions will be identified and compared. Secondly, a functional prototype of the robot will be designed and manufactured. Finally, a preliminary assessment of the performance will be performed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.02.2016 - 03.06.2016
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% mechanical designs, 30% hardware and manufacturing, 10% experiments
Requirements: CAD (Solidworks preferred)
Subject(s): Flying robotics, Multi-Modal Locomotion
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Arnaud Janvier (MT)

Novel ways to interact with contact-tolerant drones

Flyability is an EPFL spin-off dedicated to bringing to the market the first collision-tolerant and safe drone. The company aims at making a significant change in the use of drones by allowing them to enter spaces where no robot can currently penetrate and allow them to fly in contact with humans without risk. The main goal of this master project is to study physical interactions between humans and drones. The drone developed at Flyability can be safely manipulated while flying. This capability enables interactions between the drone and its environment and thus, opens new possibilities. The first task of this project will be to understand how a user can control the drone by other means than a conventional remote control. Then, sensors will be selected and integrated on the drone in order to enable different types of interactions with its environment and with humans. Finally, the last task will be to program the drone in order to control it by the use of these interactions during flight.

Type: Master project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 31.03.2016
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): sensory, mechanical design, programming in C

Semester

Project

Student:

Guillaume Leclerc (IN)

Web Browser Based Distributed Robot Evolution

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and maintenance of the open-source RoboGen platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. This platform has been used successfully for class mini-projects in our Master's level class: MICRO-551, Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence.

Recently we have ported the entire RoboGen software stack to run natively inside a web browser., This drastically lowers the barrier to entry to using the software, since it just requires a user to visit a web page rather than downloading and installing the software and all of its dependencies.

In order to make full use of the potential of RoboGen on the web it would be extremely useful to be able to distribute fitness evaluation to servers on the cloud and/or to other users., This project will involve implementing this functionality and exploring strategies for increasing user participation.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.09.2015 - 31.01.2016
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 20% Theory, 80% Software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Evolutionary Robotics, Distributed Computation
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Maxime Esparbès (MT)

Real-time monitoring and feedback of robot behaviors.

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and maintenance of the open-source RoboGen platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. This platform has been used successfully for class mini-projects in our Master's level class: MICRO-551, Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence.     Currently RoboGen operates by evolving a robot morphology and controller for a given task entirely in simulation and then transferring the evolved solution to reality by 3D printing the morphology and loading the controller onto the embedded micro controller board. Once the robot has been fabricated and the controller loaded, the robot is free to behave in the real world. Due to the fidelity of the simulator, this process often works well, but other times the real robot fails to replicate the behaviors seen in simulation -- a phenomenon known as the "reality gap."     In order to overcome the reality gap we would like to be able to bring the hardware into the optimization loop by performing fitness evaluations on the real hardware and/or allowing the controller to continue adapting once it has been loaded onto the robot. For both of these approaches we need a robust method of monitoring the performance of real robots and sharing this performance (potentially in real time) with the optimization procedure and the micro controller.     The aim of this project will be to implement these abilities: (a) real-time monitoring of robot behaviors: tracking the position/orientation of robots over time. (b) communicating this tracked information to the evolutionary algorithm. (c) communicating a performance metric and/or new controller parameters to a robot's micro controller wirelessly. (d) Use the above capabilities to optimize a robot controller with some trials on the real robot. (For simplicity, this project will assume that just the control strategy of a fixed morphology robot is being optimized.)

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 31.01.2016
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 40%+hardware+40%+software+20%+theory
Requirements: Previous+experience+with+microcontrollers+(arduino)+and+C+++programming
Subject(s): Robotics +Tracking +Communication
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

José Gallardo (MT)

Visual Sensor Feedback for RoboGen

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and maintenance of the open-source RoboGen platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. This platform has been used successfully for class mini-projects in our Master's level class: MICRO-551, Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence and is currently being leveraged as research platform for the European project INSIGHT. As part of the INSIGHT project we have been investigating learning techniques that require relatively high dimensional sensor feedback such as that provided by a camera. In order to facilitate these efforts this project will investigate integrating visual input into the RoboGen robots. The main tasks of the project will be as follows: 1. Researching different cameras to find one that is reasonably low cost, the proper size, and could ideally interface with our current Arduino microcontroller (likely through the use of a dedicated microcontroller for image processing / data compression). 2. Once a camera is chosen, actually get it to feed into the robot controller: this will involve some electronics work and a lot of micro controller programming. 3. Program a model of the camera into our simulator. This will involve C, programming to capture the rendered scene from the perspective of the camera.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 31.01.2016
Section(s): IN ME MT
Type of work: 20% Literature Review, 40% Hardware, 40% Software
Requirements: Electronics, Programming (C/C++), Embedded Systems
Subject(s): Robotics, Microcontrollers, Simulation
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Elena-Sorina Lupu (MT)

A safe self-stabilizing landing system for a multicopters transporting cargo

At the LIS we are developing a flying platform for fast transporting lightweight packages of various sizes with medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment, books, etc.

One of the reasons of the largest number of the accidents that occurs with multicopters is caused by failure of the propulsion system of the unit. This might happen as a result of uncharged battery, after collision with obstacle or strong gust of the wind which destabilizes platform. Most of those situations does not damage the aircraft. The biggest destruction occurs during the impact with the ground. Problem increases when drone has to transport payload which also shouldn’t be damaged.

In order to reduce damage of delivered items as much as it is possible, transported cargo will be placed on top of the multicopter and energy absorption elements to protect robot and payload will be installed below the copter. That is why the main goal of this project is to investigate possible solutions to self-stabilize platform in the way that could safely land vertically after partial or even full malfunction of the propulsion system.

First task of this project is to investigate different possible hardware solutions combined with control to stabilize platform during the fall of the aircraft, so it could “land on its legs”.

Second task is to use control algorithms to stabilize platform enough for safe vertical landing using only propulsion system but when one or more motors will stop working (dependent from the platform).

Both tasks will require to work and do tests of proposed solution on real platform. Required mechanical elements have to be designed and installed on the platform. Appropriate software has to be written in the C language. The flight controller will be based on a MAVERICK autopilot which will be placed on quadcopter LEQUAD.

Type: Semester project
Period: 11.09.2015 - 16.01.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Programming microcontrollers in C language, knowledge of CAD software
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages, safety landing

Semester

Project

Student:

Marc André Leroy (MT)

Design of an adaptive structure for multirotors to transport different sizes packages

At the LIS we are developing a flying platform for fast transporting lightweight packages of various sizes with medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment etc.

The main goal is to design a mechanism, which will allow to adapt the size of different multi-copters accordingly to the size of the carried packages.

First task of this project is to investigate standard dimensions and types of the existing packages in post offices, logistic companies in different countries etc. that could be used to transport different types of goods.

Second task is to design mechanical structure of the robot that could adapt its shape to carry different parcels e.g. available post office boxes or pizza boxes.

It has to be taken into consideration that robot will fly among people and that is why its fast rotating propellers should be protected. Prototype has to be build and test it.

Type: Semester project
Period: 11.09.2015 - 16.01.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30%+theory +15%+software +55%+hardware
Requirements: Good+skills+at+CAD+software
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages

Semester

Project

Student:

Antoine Tardy (MT)

Prepare mass and power model for an adaptive structure of multirotors

At the LIS we are developing a flying platform for fast transporting lightweight packages of various sizes with medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment etc.

The main goal is to prepare and verify mass and power model for different multi-copters used to transport different sizes of the packages.

First task of this project is to adapt and extend already available existing mass and power models, used to design hovering platforms, in order to choose components of the robot for a different payload and flight duration.

Second task is to build simple quadcopter based on existing mainframe of quadcopter LEQUAD using selected components for given payload and distance and test its capabilities.

The last but not least assignment will be to programme PID controller that could adapt to the different geometries of the robot as function of the payload size. The flight controller will be based on a MAVERICK autopilot (electronic control board and software) developed at LIS.

Type: Semester project
Period: 11.09.2015 - 16.01.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware
Requirements: Programming PID controllers
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages

Semester

Project

Student:

Charly Blanc (MT)

Wind speed measurement system for aerial robots

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we are developing small autonomous aerial robots that could be used outdoors and for different applications, such as search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, aerial surveillance and mapping. To design truly autonomous robots, the robots need to obtain different information about their environment. The aim of this project is to design a wind sensor, that is suitable for small aerial robots and in particular quad-rotors, for measuring the wind speed from these airborne robots. For this project, the student will start by studying the state of the art on wind measurement techniques that are suitable for aerial robots. The student is then required to study the feasibility of using microphone sensors on the robot for measuring the wind speed. This project will involve real world experiments, signal processing and implementation of algorithms on a micro-controller for real-time sensing.,

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.09.2015 - 15.01.2016
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT MX
Type of work: Theory 30%, Hardware 20%, Software 30%, Experiments 20%
Requirements: Signal Processing, Micro-controller Programming
Subject(s): Signal/Audio processing, Micro-controller Programming

Semester

Project

Student:

Riço Caldas Bruno Oscar (CH)

Bearing-only collision-avoidance for teams of aerial robots

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing teams of autonomous aerial robots to accomplish different tasks in a collaborative manner. Robots within an aerial team need to detect their team mates and avoid collision with them. One important information a robot could obtain is the relative direction of its local team mates. This information can be measured by the robots independently with on-board sensors such as cameras or microphone arrays. The goal of this project is to design a mid air collision avoidance strategy for teams of aerial robots based only on the relative bearing information between the robots. For this, the student need to study previous work on multi-robot collision avoidance techniques, propose bearing-only collision avoidance methods, investigate and compare methods in simulation.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.09.2015 - 15.01.2016
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT MX
Type of work: Theory 50%, Software 30%, Hardware 20%
Requirements: Mathematics, basic control theory, programming
Subject(s): Mathematics, control theory

Master

Project

Student:

Xaver Bandi (ME)

Portable localization system for indoor aerial robots.

Localization is one of the key challenges that needs to be considered to design truly autonomous robots. Knowledge about the three-dimensional position of an aerial robot is essential for allowing it to navigate autonomously to different points in space. Since GPS cannot be used indoors, existing solutions for localization of small indoor aerial robots have been limited to large, expensive and impractical motion tracking systems. The goal of this project is to develop a low cost, small size and portable localization system that can localize small aerial robots simply based on the sound that is emitted from their engines. For this project, the student needs to understand/adapt an audio-based localization module (an embedded system having an AVR32 microcontroller) to implement his design and algorithm. This project is novel and has a high chance of publication at the end.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.09.2015 - 15.01.2016
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX
Type of work: 25% theory, 35% software, 15% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements: Experience with micro-controllers and programming. Basic knowledge in signal processing and robot localization problem.
Subject(s): Robot localization, Microcontrollers, Programming, Signal processing,

Semester

Project

Student:

Steven Junod (MT)

Improving GPS accuracy for our Drones

At LIS laboratory we are working on flying robots. In many projects, we are working-on, we need a good position estimation, both for safety reason and for path planning. Nowadays, GPS are cheap and available in very small package. However, their accuracy is limited between, or - 5m horizontally and even more vertically. The precision may also vary due to weather conditions. In a lot of different applications, such as collision avoidance tests, or outdoor flights in cluttered environments, it would be necessary to have a better position estimation. Using differential GPS (DGPS), we could get this better position estimation. It consists in using 2 GPS units. One at a fixed well known position, and a second one on the robot. Since the first one is fixed, it can deduce at any time the GPS position estimation error and forward it to the robot in order to improve its position estimation in real time. The idea of that project is to first get familiarized with DGPS method, and implement the differential GPS method to improve the position estimation. In a second step implement it in our drone framework and characterize its improvement.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2015 - 12.01.2016
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 20%+theory +60%software+and+20%outdoor+tests
Requirements: computer+science
Subject(s): Flying+robot +GPS

Semester

Project

Student:

Simon Pyroth (MT)

Autopilot for a fixed wing platform

At LIS laboratory we are working on flying robots. We are using different platform for different projects. We are aiming at using the same autopilot for all the platforms to ease interaction and speed-up outdoor experiments of new robot or algorithm. In this project, you will have to adapt the code of our own quad-copter to port it for a fixed wing platform. For this you will have to first understand the code architecture of our quad copter. Then you will have to adapt it to the need of a flying wing (non holomic platform) Finally you will have to make it as autonomous as possible, by adding, for example, some take off and landing strategies.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2015 - 12.01.2016
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 60%software and 20%outdoor tests
Requirements: C / C++ and some basics about flying robot
Subject(s): autopilot, control, flying robot

Semester

Project

Student:

Théo-Tim John Denisart (MA)

Improving Aquatic Capabilities of a Multi-Modal Flying Robot.

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying robot, which has the ability to move easily on multiple environments. This new platform is able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of animals, such as bats or birds, which can easily transition between multiple environments. The goal of this project is to improve aquatic locomotion abilities on a flying and diving robot, which has already been designed in a previous project. We want to implement wings with adaptive morphology to facilitate the transition from air to water and vice-versa and to reduce drag underwater. For this project, we will first investigate different technologies for the development of foldable / morphing wings and then we will modify the concepts to fit the requirements of hybrid aerial/aquatic locomotion. The main challenge in this project is thus to conceive, design and develop a flying robot with adaptive morphology capable to maximize locomotion effectiveness (i.e. maneuverability, efficiency) in multiple environments. We will develop morphing wings and implement them on a working prototype for characterization.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 18.12.2015
Section(s): MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 40% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying robotics, Underwater robotics, Multi-Modal Locomotion

Semester

Project

Student:

Paolo Bertero (ME)

Variable Stiffness Thread For Flying Robots

Materials that can drastically change their stiffness are of great interest for engineering applications. This is especially true in robotics, where the ability to dynamically change stiffness allows the development of robots with adaptive morphology. When the material is soft the robot can adapt its morphology, when the material became rigid again the morphology is freezed. We develop variable stiffness structures is by fabricating threads (variable stiffness thread VST) composed of low-melting-point-metals (LMPMs) embedded in silicone tubes. The experiences a large change in stiffness when the LMPM transition from solid to liquid. The challenge of this project is to improve the specific stiffness of the VST in order to use it as frame for flying robots. This can be accomplished by embedding fibers into the VST. During the project the improved VST will be characterized and a frame for a quadcopter will be investigated as a proof of concept.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 18.12.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 30% hardware, 30% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Variable Stiffness Materials, Soft Robotics, Flying Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Fabio Zuliani (MT)

Development of a multi-modal wing for flapping flight and terrestrial locomotion

At the LIS we are developing a novel robot capable of aerial and terrestrial locomotion. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, and crawl on the ground using its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to several animals that are capable to transition between multiple substrates, like the vampire bat Desmodus Rotundus. Like this animal, recruiting the wings for locomotion in both environment and adapting their morphology is a key capability to enable multi-modal locomotion. The goal of this project is to conceive a wing with adaptive morphology for flapping flight and terrestrial locomotion. Based on state-of the art solutions and already available prototype at LIS and BioRob, different design solutions will be identified and compared. Secondly, a simple prototype of wing will be designed and manufactured. The wing will be capable to adapt its morphology during the transition from air to water. A preliminary evaluation of the lift and crawling performances of the multi-modal wing will be performed. The project will be performed in collaboration between the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob)

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 18.12.2015
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 40% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying robotics, Legged robotics, Multi-Modal Locomotion
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Sébastien Douglas De Rivaz (MT)

A novel bioinspired strategy for the development of collision tolerant drones

At the LIS we are developing drones for search and rescue operations. These drones must be easy to transport and capable to fly in cluttered environments. Therefore the two main challenges are foldability and crash resilience. Recently we have developed a foldable drone capable of autonomous deployment in 0.3 seconds. However, the current design is very fragile against collisions. Starting from the existing prototype, the goal of this project is to exploit foldability to develop drones capable to withstand collisions. Insects use this strategy in order to mitigate the wear of their wings when flying in very compact environment. At first, the new strategy will be modelled and advantages/disadvantages compared to current solutions (e.g. protective carbon fiber cages or foam protections) will be evaluated. Secondly, a prototype of a rugged foldable drone will be developed and characterized.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.09.2015 - 18.12.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 40% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robotics, Bioinspired Robotics, Crash Resilience
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Martin Gammelsaeter (IN)

Active Learning with Deep Networks

In many prediction tasks it is easy to collect input data, but expensive to collect targets (e.g. class labels or predictions). For example, when building forward models for robotics, it is possible to generate a large (possibly infinite) number of potential actions, but learning the results of these actions requires actually performing them on the robot and observing the results.      This cost of obtaining targets data is a major hindrance to constructing effective models. Moreover, the data points that can be sampled from a given [hidden] target distribution will contain differing amounts of information for learning. Active learning is the branch of machine learning that seeks to tackle the problem of data scarcity by intelligently choosing unlabelled data points for labelling and training. One effective approach to active learning is called "Query by Committee" (Seung et al, 1992) where a committee of models is queried to find the most informative data point to query: the point that maximizes disagreement among committee members.      In recent years deep neural networks have shown state of the art performance for many prediction tasks. REMAINDER OF DESCRIPTION HIDDEN WHILE WORK IN PROGRESS     

Type: Master project
Period: 19.02.2015 - 31.07.2015
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 50%+theory +50%+software+(++some+hardware+robotic+tests+if+time+allows)
Requirements: Neural+Networks +Backprop
Subject(s): Machine+Learning +Active+Learning +Neural+Networks +Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Darius Constantin Merk (PH)

Comparison of Design Strategies for Multi-Modal Locomotion

At the LIS we are developing a new generation of robots with enhanced versatility thanks to Multi-Modal Locomotion capabilities. These robots are inspired by animals that can easily transition between different environments. For example, inspired by the vampire bat “Desmodus rotundus”, we have successfully developed a flying robot with the ability to crawl on the ground. Animals evolved different strategies for multi-modal locomotion. Some species recruit a different locomotor system for each environment, while others exploit a single one adapted for multiple environments. Furthermore, several animal species adapt their morphology during the transition from one environment to the other. Similarly to animals, these strategies have been implemented in multi-modal robots. However, the best design strategy for multi-modal locomotion and associated trade-offs are still unknown. The first goal of the project is to develop a simplified framework that allows to compare different design strategies for multi-modal robots. The second goal of the project is to apply the model to case studies of multi-modal locomotion.

Type: Semester project
Period: 16.02.2015 - 30.06.2015
Section(s): PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% Modeling
Requirements: Dynamic modeling
Subject(s): Adaptive morphology, biological actuators, animal locomotion

Semester

Project

Student:

Louis Dufour (ME)

Design and Manufacturing of Insect Inspired Foldable Wings

Aerial robots provide valuable support in several high-risk scenarios thanks to their capability to quickly fly to locations dangerous or even inaccessible to humans. In order to fully benefit from these features, aerial robots should be easy to transport and rapid to deploy. One solution to solve this transportation issue is to reduce the size of the drones. The shortcoming is a reduction in payload capabilities and in flight time. Therefore, foldable structures, which can be packaged for transportation and quickly deployed for operation, are a promising solution to enable full benefits from the potential of flying platforms. The goal of this project is to investigate insect inspired solutions for the development of foldable wings for small sized flying robots. First, an analysis of the state of the art of both artificial and bio-inspired solutions will be done. Then, based on this analysis a design and a manufacturing process will be proposed and a prototype of the foldable wing will be implemented. Finally, static tests and flight tests will be performed in order to assess the design and suggest improvements.

Type: Semester project
Period: 16.02.2015 - 30.06.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar
Subject(s): Mechanical design, Foldable mechanism, Bioinspired Robotics

2014


Semester

Project

Student:

Pierre Quinton (IN)

Quality Diversity of Evolvable Robot Morphologies

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and maintenance of the open-source RoboGen platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. This platform has been used successfully for class mini-projects in our Master's level class: MICRO-551, Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence.

While we have had success in evolving robot morphologies with RoboGen, we still see a noticeable lack of diversity of the robot morphologies that have been evolved. Ongoing work at LIS is investigating how changes to the morphological building blocks of RoboGen may aid in evolving a more diverse and interesting set of robot morphologies, but it is also possible to modify the way that artificial evolution functions in order to promote such diversity. Specifically, recent work within the field of Evolutionary Computation has stressed the potential for Evolutionary Algorithms to function not just as optimizers looking for a single fit solution, but as accumulators of a diverse set of well performing solutions. This new focus has been dubbed Quality Diversity (QD) by Pugh et al. In this project we will apply recently introduced QD algorithms towards the ultimate goal of evolving a diverse set of well performing physical robots. The project will involve implementing these algorithms into RoboGen and extensive experimentation to find appropriate dimensions on which to encourage diversity.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2015 - 31.01.2016
Section(s): EL IN MT SC SV
Type of work: 40%+Theory +60%+Software
Requirements: Proficiency with C++ Programming and knowledge of Evolutionary Computation and Neural Networks
Subject(s): Evolutionary Robotics, Nueral Networks
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Louis Moreau-Gentien (MA)

Enabling a Flying Robot With Aquatic Locomotion Abilities

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying robot, which has the ability to move easily on multiple environments. This new platform is able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of animals, such as bats or birds, which can easily transition between multiple environments. The goal of this project is to investigate and enable aquatic locomotion abilities on a flying robot, which has already been designed in a previous project. We want to use the existing actuators of this robot to also move below the water surface. For this project, we will first investigate how we can reuse these actuators to move and steer the robot underwater and then we will modify the design accordingly and make the robot waterproof. The main challenge in this project is thus to make a flying robot waterproof and capable to use the same propulsion system both in the air and in the water. Different techniques used for underwater robot will be studied and adapted to fit the need of our robot. We will build a first prototype capable of flying forward and of moving underwater.

Type: Semester project
Period: 16.02.2015 - 30.06.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 40% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Flying robotics, Underwater robotics, Multi-Modal Locomotion
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Pedro Amorim (IN)

Caste differentiation and the joint evolution of altruism and dispersal

One of the open questions in social evolution is the reciprocal interaction between altruism and dispersal. Altruism occurs when an individual suffers from a fitness cost in exchange of a fitness benefit for its neighbors (which are typically related individuals). Dispersal occurs when an individual leaves its native colony, for example because of an increased local competition due to lower resource availability. A possible factor affecting the joint evolution of dispersal and altruism is caste differentiation. For instance, in an ant colony foragers might be more prone to disperse than soldiers or mating individuals. On the other hand, foragers typically collect resources and share them with the rest of their colony. In this project, the effect of castes will be investigated in evolutionary robotics experiments, where a structured population of up to 100 robots will be evolved. The robots will be assigned different castes and properties, e.g. the maximum energy they can spend during a generation. The influence of these factors will be analyzed and the resulting levels of altruism and dispersal will be compared against a baseline population with no caste differentiation.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.02.2015 - 30.06.2015
Section(s): EL IN MA MT SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: Java, Python
Subject(s): evolutionary computation, multi-agent systems
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Matvey Khokhlov (IN)

Kin recognition and memory effects in the evolution of altruism

An open question in social evolution is whether kin recognition and memory play a role in the evolution of altruism. Kin recognition, meaning the capability of an individual to acknowledge another individual as kin, might trigger specific behaviour aiming at helping closely related individuals. On the other hand, memory or previous interactions between individuals might lead to cooperative or spiteful behaviour, depending on what was the outcome of previous interactions. The purpose of this project is to test these two hypotheses via in silico evolutionary experiments. A structured population of simulated robots controlled by neural networks will be evolved in a public good production scenario, and the individual level of altruism will be measured. The measured level of altruism when kin recognition and memory are active will be compared statistically with respect to baseline configurations respectively without kin recognition and memory, so to draw conclusions about the two hypotheses.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.02.2015 - 30.06.2015
Section(s): EL IN MA MT SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: Java, Python
Subject(s): evolutionary computation, multi-agent systems
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Guillaume Leclerc (IN)

Improving the Usability of RoboGen with WebGL

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are actively involved in the development and maintenance of the open-source RoboGen platform for co-evolving brains and bodies of 3D-printable robots. This platform has been used successfully for class mini-projects in our Master's level class: MICRO-551, Bio-Inspired Artificial Intelligence.

Recent work (http://jaredmmoore.com/WebGL_Visualizer/visualizer.html) has demonstrated the potential for running complex 3D visualizations in the browser using WebGL. This technique allows interactive visualizations of 3D physics simulations without installing any software on the client machine. It could be especially powerful when used to visualize the results of evolutionary search running on a remote cluster.

In this project the student will extend Jared's visualizer for RoboGen and create the necessary communication infrastructure so that RoboGen can send its data to the visualization engine., Ideally this communication can take place in real time, so that a user may view a robot in real time being simulated on a remote server.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.02.2015 - 15.06.2015
Section(s): EL IN MT SC SV
Type of work: 100% Software
Requirements: Familiarity with C++, and Javascript., Previous experience with WebGL is a plus.
Subject(s): 3D Rendering, Web APIs, Evolutionary Robotics
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Gaëtan Burri (MT)

Design of a methodology for comparison of collision avoidance strategies

The myCopter project tends to enable the technologies for Personal Aerial Vehicle. This project proposes an innovative way to overcome the financial and environmental cost of current road transportation by using the 3rd dimension for personal transportation such as commuting. Here at LIS, we focus on collision avoidance strategies in dense environments. With the large number of user in the sky, the risk of collision is growing accordingly and ways to ensure safety should be addressed. Here at LIS, we developed and built quadrotors allowing outdoor multi-MAV tests. The state-of-the-art in collision avoidance is very large, each proposing its own scenario to validate its approach. There are no way to compare existing collision avoidance strategies. The aim of this project is to design a methodology to test different collision avoidance strategies on flying quadrotors in a GPS environment. Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Master project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 13.02.2015
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 80% software, 20% hardware
Requirements: C programming
Subject(s): C programming, collision avoidance

Semester

Project

Student:

Maryon Grandjean (MT)

Collision avoidance with imperfect sensors

The myCopter project tends to enable the technologies for Personal Aerial Vehicle. This project proposes an innovative way to overcome the financial and environmental cost of current road transportation by using the 3rd dimension for personal transportation such as commuting. Here at LIS, we focus on collision avoidance strategies in dense environments. With the large number of user in the sky, the risk of collision is growing accordingly and ways to ensure safety should be addressed. Here at LIS, we developed a real-time simulator allowing to simulate large number of flying agents and test different collision avoidance strategies. Usually collision avoidance strategies assume perfect senors with no delays and no performance decrease with distance. Therefore, the aim of this project is to evaluate in simulation the loss of performance when such unrealistic assumptions are removed. The student will model different realistic senors in the existing simulation framework and will evaluate the loss of performance regarding collision avoidance. Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 80% software, 20% theory
Requirements: ADA programming is an advantage
Subject(s): Collision Avoidance, Simulations

Semester

Project

Student:

Kevin Owen (MT)

Design of Foldable Spherical Cage for GimBall robot using Tensegrity Structures

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the GimBall which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with the environment. The GimBall is able to resist collisions with obstacles and still continue flying after a crash without falling to the ground. The robot is able to achieve this goal thanks to a gimbal system implemented in the structure which decouples the outer cage from the inner frame. This means that after a collision the cage can rotate freely around the robot while the inner frame remains stable.

The goal of this project is to design foldable spherical cage for this platform using the concept of Tensegrity Structures. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. Spherical cage has to be designed in a way that would be totally self-erected from a low-volume disk shape by tensioning cables. Such a capability will be useful for transportation of the robot in the back-pack to the not easily procurable places.

This project will involve identification of different solutions and their comparison based on performance index (weight, rigidity). Prototypes of selected solutions will be manufactured and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

David Wuthier (ME)

Implementation of a Controller for Transitioning between Flight and Hover

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to implement a flight controller for a robot that can fly forward, hover, and move on the ground. The specificity of this robot is that it controls the flight by turning the tips of its wings, this allows to use the same actuators for the different modes of locomotion. This project will involve a theoretical study of the dynamics of such a platform and the implementation of a controller for the forward flight and the hover. At first the robot will be remote controlled and the controller will improve the stabilization during forward flight, autonomously stabilize the platform during hover, and manage the transition between this two types of flight configuration. Depending on the advancement of the project, a GPS-based 3D vector field controller will be used to perform trajectories in 3D which will be composed of hover and forward flight phases (this vector field controller has already been successfully tested on a quadrotor).

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 20% research, 50% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Flight Control

Semester

Project

Student:

Loris Sandro Aiulfi (IN)

Task allocation in swarms

Swarms of robots have a huge potential in distributed sensing. They establish communication network over large area to collect local information about the environment. This local information should be shared among robots and robots should be able to allocate tasks in a distributed way. This means that robots should be able to reach decisions about information they are sharing. The aim of this student project is to investigate existing algorithms in a distributed task allocation, perform literature survey and compare algorithms. Selected algorithms should be implemented and tested in C, /Matlab.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL IN ME MT PH
Type of work: 50% theory, 50%software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Robotics, Computer science, communication systems

Semester

Project

Student:

Clement Kunz (ME)

Coordination among PAVs

The myCopter project tends to enable the technologies for Personal Aerial Vehicle. This project proposes an innovative way to overcome the financial and environmental cost of current road transportation by using the 3rd dimension for personal transportation such as commuting. Here at LIS, we focus on collision avoidance strategies in dense environments. With the large number of user in the sky, the risk of collision is growing accordingly and ways to ensure safety should be addressed. Here at LIS, we developed a real-time simulator allowing to simulate large number of flying agents and test different collision avoidance strategies. The aim of this project is to implement coordination strategies to develop global traffic strategies such as no flying zones, flocking, dealing with non cooperative flying vehicles. This work will be carried in simulation. Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 90% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Collision Avoidance

Semester

Project

Student:

Raphaël Johannes Charles Mottet (MT)

Tiny cameras for flying robots

There is an increasing interest in flying robotics to diminish the size of future drones in order to fly safely in very constrained environments. However, drones have to carry out navigation tasks in these conditions with more limited resources in terms of sensing, computation, or control. Recently developed artificial compound eyes might be a very suitable solution as smart vision sensors for low-energy and computation power flying control. The aim of this project is to develop a fully functional smart mini-sensor that can be easily integrated with flying robots or other platforms. The student will use an existing miniature camera. S/He will design the necessary architecture in terms of PCB and electronic parts. In addition, the student will implement existing algorithms for data processing in the controlling units. The student is encouraged to develop a demo at the end of the project to illustrate the functionality of the device.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 20% design; 30% hardware; 20% experiments; 20% programming
Requirements: microcontroller programming; hardware electronics
Subject(s): vision sensors; optic flow; mobile robots

Semester

Project

Student:

Charlotte Evéquoz (MT)

Flight-Initiating Jump in Bats

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly and walk on the ground. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of animals, such as bats, that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to investigate how to recruit wings for dynamic terrestrial gaits (running, jumping). The vampire bat Desmodus Rotundus takes off from the ground with a dynamic jump (flight-initiating jump). At first we will analyze the available biological data of the vampire bat during the jump. Secondly we will develop a mechanical model of the jump in order to provide useful information to mimic this capability in a robotic platform. Depending on the advancement of the project, we will build a preliminary demonstrator.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% software/simulation
Requirements: Dynamic modelling (Matlab or Mathematica), simulation, CAD
Subject(s): Biomechanical modelling, jumping robot
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibault Jean Roger Alcouffe (MT)

Design of a Swarm Interface

Here at LIS, we developed a quadrotor and build a few copy. The goal is to perform multiple robot experiments. Setting up experiments with multiple robots is a time-consuming task. The goal of this project is, on one hand, to develop a strategy to high level control multiple robots in order to set rapidly experiments in the future and to control a swarm in a dynamic way, and, on the other hand, to implement this strategy with the help of an existing open-source communication software. At the end, the goal is to demonstrate the strategy with the real platforms. Ce projet peut être effectué en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL IN ME MT PH
Type of work: 80%+Software +20%+Theory
Requirements: Programming+language
Subject(s): Human Machine interface, Multi robot experiments

Semester

Project

Student:

Johann Edmond Bigler (MT)

Design of Foldable Spherical Cage for GimBall robot using kirigami technic

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the GimBall which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with the environment. The GimBall is able to resist collisions with obstacles and still continue flying after a crash without falling to the ground. The robot is able to achieve this goal thanks to a gimbal system implemented in the structure which decouples the outer cage from the inner frame containing the propulsion and control units. This means that after a collision the cage can rotate freely around the robot while the inner frame remains stable.,

The aim of this project is to design a foldable spherical cage in order to reduce the volume of the Gimball for transportation purposes. The design will be inspired by the concepts of the origami and of the kirigami, which is a variation of the origami technique that includes cutting of the paper.,

This project will involve a preliminary investigation and comparison of possible solutions for the development of a spherical foldable cage using origami/kiragami techniques. Afterwards, the best solution will be dimensioned, designed (CAD software) and prototyped for characterization.,

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30%+theory +30%+research +40%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying+Robot +Foldable+structures +kirigami +origami
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Martin Gammelsaeter (IN)

Online Evolution of Neural Features

In a recent publication: Auerbach, Fernando and Floreano (2014), we introduced the idea of using competing "neuronal replicators" to aid in solving an online learning task. Here, the units of replication are individual hidden units of an artificial neural network (ANN) that is actively learning from a stream of data, similar to a robot acting in the world. In that publication, we showed the utility of neuronal replication on a toy problem with some simplifications (binary inputs, binary hidden unit activations, uniformly distributed inputs), but we would like to extend this method to more complex, real-world problems where those simplifications are relaxed. This project will involve extending the existing system to perform on more complex problems. This will involve first implementing an indirect encoding for the feature weights so that larger dimensional problems are evolvable. The next step will involve experimentation with parameters, fitness functions, diversity mechanisms, etc. to discover a setup that can (hopefully) outperform other online learning frameworks.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL IN MT SC SV
Type of work: 40% Theory, 60% Software
Requirements: Programming, Evolutionary Computation, Neural Networks
Subject(s): Evolutionary Computation, Nueral Networks, Machine Learning
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Yannick Poffet (ME)

Implementation of a Controller for Transitioning between Ground and Hover

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to implement a flight controller for a robot that can fly forward, hover, and move on the ground. The specificity of this robot is that it controls the flight by turning the tips of its wings, this allows to use the same actuators for the different modes of locomotion. Furthermore, the robot uses these same actuators to upright on the ground in order to transition between ground locomotion and hover. This project will involve a theoretical study of the dynamics of such a platform and the implementation of a controller for the hover. The robot will be remote controlled and the controller will be used to take-off from the ground and to autonomously stabilize the platform during hover. Depending on the advancement of the project, the take-off/hover controller will be tested on different terrains to see if the robot can take-off from uneven surfaces.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 20% research, 50% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Flight Control

Semester

Project

Student:

Darius Constantin Merk (PH)

Multi-modal Locomotion in Aquatic Birds

At the LIS we are developing multi-modal robots that have the ability to move over different substrates. The common guillemot, Uriaa Alge, is a diving bird that exploits deployed wings for flight and partially folded wings for swim. The transition from air to water is extremely challenging due to changes in the physical property of the environment: water has 800 time greater density and 15 times greater viscosity compared to air. Therefore, the locomotion in such different environments imposes conflicting evolution pressure on the animal. However, the common guillemot is perfectly evolved to live in-between the two media. This locomotion versatility is even more intriguing considering that the muscles are actuators optimized to work in a very limited range of force (stress) VS contraction velocity (strain). However, beside the different physical properties and the potentially different locomotion dynamics during flight and swim, the common guillemot always recruits the pectoralis muscles for each locomotion modes.

The project aims to investigate the hypothetical synergy between wings adaptive morphology and muscles. The first step is to develop a first order dynamic model of both locomotion modes in order to understand the synergies between wings' adaptive morphology and muscles. Based on simulation results, the second step is to abstract bioinspired design principles to implement more advanced multi-modal robots.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): PH
Type of work: 30% theory +30% research +40% Modelling
Requirements: System dynamics, fluid structure interaction, biomechanics
Subject(s): Adaptive morphology, biological actuators, animal locomotion
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Florent-Valéry Coen (MT)

Design of a contact-sensitive flying robot using force sensors

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the GimBall which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with the environment. The GimBall is able to resist collisions with obstacles and still continue flying after a crash without falling to the ground. The robot is able to achieve this goal thanks to a gimbal system implemented in the structure which decouples the outer cage from the inner frame. This means that after a collision the cage can rotate freely around the robot while the inner frame remains stable. Additionally thanks to its spherical shape robot can roll on walls and ceiling to find its way or floor to save energy.

The goal of this project is to work on the contact sensing ability of the Gimball, so that the robot is able to detect when an external force is applied anywhere on its external structure. The first task is to evaluate the intensity of the collision on the GimBall. The second task of the project is the choice of force sensors for contact detection, and how to integrate them to the existing outside structure of the platform in a way that they could detect collisions and their directions. Afterward, the sensing capabilities will be experimentally assessed on a real platform or using a test bed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 50%+hardware +20%+testing +30%+electronics
Requirements:
Subject(s): sensing +flying +robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Bendicht Grossniklaus (MT)

Development of soft jellyfish type underwater robot

As a collaboration work between the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and the Microsystems for Space Technologies Laboratory (LMTS), we developed a soft actuator using dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), also known as artificial muscle, capable of bending actuation. Now we are interested in developing novel robotic devices based on this new actuator. The purpose of this project is to develop a soft jellyfish type underwater robot based on the actuator. The student will work on design and fabrication of the robot using DEA technology and its fabrication process. After developing the device, it will be characterized on performance such as the swimming speed. Experiments will be carried out in tethered or untethered configuration.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% Theory, 50% Hardware, 30% Experiments
Requirements: Experience of SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Robotics, Electronics, Materials, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Amr Arbani (MT)

Handling equality constraints by viability evolution

Viability Evolution is an abstraction of artificial evolution which operates by eliminating candidate solutions that do not satisfy viability criteria. In a constrained optimization problem, these criteria are naturally defined as boundaries on the values of objectives and constraints of the problem at hand. One of the key concepts of Viability Evolution is that by adapting these boundaries, it is possible to drive the search towards desired feasible regions of the solution space. An open question in evolutionary computation is how to handle properly equality constraints, since these constraints reduce the size of the feasible space to a zero-volume region. An unexplored feature of the viability abstraction is the possibility to add or remove viability criteria dynamically. This aspect may be exploited, for instance, to temporarily relieve one or more equality constraints, thus allowing solutions to overcome local minima which are due to the shape of the constraints themselves. The purpose of this project is to understand if advantages can be gained in the solution of equality-constrained optimization problems by means of viability evolution. A simple viability evolutionary algorithm that can add and remove dynamically equality constraints will be implemented and tested on a benchmark fitness landscape characterized by one or multiple constraints of this kind. A comparison with baseline results will be performed to validate the proposed approach.

Type: Semester project
Period: 29.09.2014 - 31.12.2014
Section(s): EL IN MA MT SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: Any programming language, preferably Matlab
Subject(s): evolutionary computation, stochastic optimization
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Abdelhak Amine Bensalah (MT)

Low-level collision-free navigation with tiny vision sensor

In LIS, we are interested in developing tiny components to be implemented in future microrobots, such as microflyers. These tiny components would save weight and size with the cost of much lower capabilities. Thus, new strategies have to be developed for the robots to still perform complex tasks with lower resources. In this project, we aim at implementing low-level collision-free navigation to a wheeled robot assisted only by a tiny very-low-resolution camera. The camera possess only three pixels and is aimed at extracting an optic flow vector. The student will optimize the existing algorithms for real-time data processing to get the optic flow, according to the robot navigation characteristics. The student is expected to design the mechanical attachment of the camera to an e-puck robot as well as the communication with the central processor. He will aim at implementing control commands to perform tasks like corridor or wall following and avoidance. A final demo, consisting of the autonomous low-level collision-free navigation of the robot, would validate the implementation.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 19.12.2014
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 40% software (control and communication); 20% hardware; 30% experiments; 10% data processing
Requirements: microcontroller programming; some mobile robotics knowledge
Subject(s): bio-inspired robotics; mobile robotics; vision sensing

Semester

Project

Student:

Nikita Filippov (EL)

Active rolling for acrobatic autonomous flight

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we are developing a flying robot that is able to fly straight as well as upside-down and at any intermediate roll orientation. Thus, by actively rotating the robot during flight, its sensors can cover the environment at 360°, providing more information to avoid collisions with limited additional weight. The goal of this project is to implement a flight controller for active rolling flight.The student will have to adapt the code of an existing autopilot and enable the control of the UAV while it is rolling at constant rate. In the end of the project, the student will demonstrate human-piloted flights during which the robot constantly rolls and the human pilot controls it as if it was not rolling.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.02.2014 - 15.07.2014
Section(s): CH EL IN MA MT PH
Type of work: 20%Theory, 40% Software, 40% Experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flight control, Aerobatics, Embedded programming

Semester

Project

Student:

David Leydier (IN)

Onboard simulation of a VTOL UAV

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we develop flying robots using inspiration from biology. We built a prototype inspired from the way insects fly. This prototype is able to fly at any speed between hovering and fast forward flight, it is controllable and capable of aggressive maneuvers at any flight speed.

The goal of this project is to implement a simulation mode on an existing autopilot. The goal is to enable the fine tuning of the flight controller while the robot is on the ground. In simulation mode, the autopilot will emulate sensors values according to the dynamics of the platform.

The student will have to parametrize the geometry of the VTOL platform and model its dynamics accordingly. Then, the simulator will be implemented and optimized to be executable on the on-board micro-controller.

Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 07.02.2014 - 15.07.2014
Section(s): EL IN MT PH SC
Type of work: 20% Theory, 50% Software, 30% Hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Simulation, Embedded, flight dynamics

Semester

Project

Student:

William Conus (MT)

Development of soft bio-inspired jellyfish type underwater robot Enseignant(s)

As a collaboration work between the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and the Microsystems for Space Technologies Laboratory (LMTS), we developed a soft actuator using Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) capable of bending actuation. Now we are interested in developing novel robotic devices based on this new actuator. In recent years, several smart materials such as Shape Memory Alloys and Electroactive Polymers have been applied to bio-inspired underwater robots because their simple direct drive mechanism imitates biomechanical behavior, which is often difficult by conventional motors and gears. However, despite their promising properties, DEA have been used only in a few cases. The purpose of this project is to develop a bio-inspired jellyfish type underwater robot. The student will work on design and fabrication of the robot using DEA technology and its fabrication process. After developing the device, it will be characterized on performance such as the swimming speed. Experiments will be carried out in tethered configuration.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.02.2014 - 30.05.2014
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 10% Theory, 60% Hardware, 30% Experiments
Requirements: Experience of SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Robotics, Electronics, Materials, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Dimitri Mazourenko (MT)

Design and Manufacturing of a Foldable Micro Flying Robot

At the LIS we are interested in the design of miniature flying robots for their amazing flight maneuverability. The goal of this project is to design and manufacture a miniature foldable flying robot that could fit easily in a pocket. The design will be based on the one of the "Walkera QR Ladybird Ultra Micro Quadcopter" or similar. Once deployed the robot should have the same flight abilities as the Ladybird (same span, maneuverability, and impact robustness) and in the folded configuration its volume must be reduced to a minimum. As a first step, the foldable mechanism will be actuated by hand and in a second step, active autonomous deployment will be investigated. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of this foldable micro flying robot, CAD design, and manufacturing of one or several working prototypes.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.02.2014 - 28.05.2014
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): flying micro robot, foldable mechanism

Semester

Project

Student:

Ismaël Marc Zeâf (MT)

Ground Controller for a Flying and Walking Robot with Adaptive Morphology

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to enable a robot, which can fly forward like a plane, hover vertically like an helicopter and roll on the ground using its wings, with autonomous capabilities. The current version of the robot also has deployable wings which allow him to change its morphology in order to be more efficient while moving on the ground. Furthermore, this mechanism can be used during walking to increase the steps of the robot. A first controller has been implemented to control the robot on the ground. The goal of this project is to improve this controller in order to control as well this deployable mechanism. Then we will use this controller to investigate different walking gaits in order to see which are more efficient. The final goal of this project will be to show that the robot can autonomously and efficiently navigate on rough terrains.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.02.2014 - 28.05.2014
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% software, 20% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Walking Robot, Control

2013


Semester

Project

Student:

Noémie Laure Gwendoline Jaquier (MT)

An Evolved Controller for a Flying and Walking Robot with Adaptive Morphology

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to enable a robot, which can fly forward like a plane and also walk on the ground using its wings, with autonomous capabilities. The current version of the robot also has deployable wings which allow him to change its morphology in order to be more efficient while moving on the ground. Furthermore, this deployable mechanism can be used during walking to increase the steps of the robot. A first controller has been implemented to control the robot on the ground. The goal of this project is to improve this controller in order to control as well this deployable mechanism during walking. To do so, the robot will be simulated in an existing physics based simulator. Then, the synchronization of the motors used for the deployable mechanism and for the walking will be evolved in the simulator in order to find an optimal gait. The final goal of this project will be to show that the robot can evolve different gaits depending on the terrain. Finally, depending on the advancement of the project, these different gaits will be tested on the real robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): IN ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% software, 10% hardware, 10% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying/Walking Robot, Evolutionary Controller
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Eric Ansgar Unnervik (MT)

Enabling a Walking, Flying and Hovering Robot with Aquatic Locomotion Abilities

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of animals, such as bats, that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to enable a walking, flying, and hovering robot with aquatic locomotion abilities. A robot which has already been designed in a previous project can walk on the ground, fly forward, and hover. We now want to use the existing actuators of this robot to also move on the water surface. For this project, we will first investigate how we can reuse these actuators to move and steer the robot on water and then we will modify the design accordingly and make the robot waterproof. The main challenge in this project is thus to make a flying robot waterproof. Different techniques used for underwater robot will be studied and adapted to fit the need of our robot. Depending on the advancement of the project we will build a prototype capable of flying forward and of moving on water.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2014 - 16.01.2015
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Waterproof Robot, Mechanical Design
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Walid Amanhoud (MT)

Audio-based Control of Micro Air Vehicles

We are interested in the design of an on-board audio-based system for our Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that allows them to perceive acoustic targets in the environment and furthermore navigate relative to these targets. Some potential applications of such a system are:
• Formation control:, Allowing a group of flying robots to follow and/or maintain predefined formations relative to a sound emitting leader robot.
• Target Pursuing: To pursue an acoustic target on the ground, such as a person in need of help who is blowing into a safety whistle or having a personal alarm.
• Interaction with a human operator:, Allowing a human operator to use acoustic signalling to control the motion of robots (eg: commanding it to land in a desired spot)
The goal of this project is to develop an on-board audio-based motion control system for a micro air vehicle capable of navigating the robot relative to a desired sound source. For this project, the student needs to adapt the current version of a sound source localization module (an embedded system having an AVR32 micro controller) and to interface this module with the robot’s on-board computer to plan and send appropriate navigation commands to the robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.02.2014 - 15.06.2014
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 10% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements: Applicants must be proficient in C programming and have some experience with microcontrollers and electronics.
Subject(s): Microcontroller programming, Signal processing, Control

Semester

Project

Student:

Anwar Quraishi (MT)

Active environment scanning for optic-flow based reactive flight control

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we develop flying robots using inspiration from biology. The goal of this project is to implement an obstacle avoidance strategy inspired from insects on a flying robot. Optic flow, which is the apparent visual motion generated as an observer moves through the world, can be used to estimate the distance to obstacles and to react before a collision. The novelty of this project is that the robot will use a single optic flow sensor with limited field of view. We built a flying robot that is able to fly straight as well as upside-down and at any intermediate roll orientation. Thus, by actively rotating the robot during flight, its optic flow sensor will cover the environment at 360°, providing enough information to avoid collisions with limited additional weight. The project involves the interfacing of an optic flow sensor with an existing autopilot. The main challenge is the implementation of an algorithm that, as the sensor rotates, updates a map of optic flow vectors generated by the surrounding environment. The speed of rotation, frequency of optic flow extraction, as well as field of view discretization will be optimized.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.01.2014 - 10.06.2014
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 50% Software, 40% Experiments, 10% Electronics
Requirements: good knowledge of C, basics of control theory
Subject(s): Obstacle avoidance, Optic flow, Active scanning

Semester

Project

Student:

Nicolas Vaucher (MT)

Flight control of a small UAV capable of smooth transition between hovering and forward flight

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we develop flying robots using inspiration from biology. We built a prototype inspired from the way insects fly. This prototype is able to fly at any speed between hovering and fast forward flight, it is controllable and capable of aggressive maneuvers at any flight speed. The goal of this project is to implement an adaptive control architecture on an existing autopilot. The goal is to enable the fine tuning of the flight controller for any angle of incidence. The student will start by modeling the basic behaviour of the prototype in flight. Then, he will implement one of the state of the art adaptive control techniques. Finally, flight tests will be performed in order to assess the efficiency of the control.

Type: Semester project
Period: 22.01.2014 - 10.06.2014
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 40%Theory, 30% Software, 30% Implementation
Requirements: flight control, good knowledge of C
Subject(s): Adaptive control, flight control

Semester

Project

Student:

Lukas Hostettler (MT)

Autonomous GPS navigation on a fixed wing UAV

At the laboratory of intelligent systems, we developped an autopilot that performs the stabilisation of a quadrotor robot. It is also capable of GPS navigation, which consists of guiding the UAV along predefined GPS waypoints. Fixed wing UAVs, contrary to multicopter, are not able to hover and need a minimum speed to keep on flying. This imposes additionnal constraints for the GPS navigation because the UAV cannot stay on the last GPS waypoint. The goal of this project is to use the existing autopilot and adapt it to fixed wing platforms. The student will start by adapting the low level control to the new platform. Then, he will implement a GPS navigation technique that is suitable for fixed wing design, such as vector field path following. Test flights will be performed to assess the reliability of the implemented algorithm.

Type: Semester project
Period: 23.01.2014 - 06.06.2014
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 20%Theory, 40% Software, 40%+Experiments
Requirements: good knowledge of C, basics of control theory
Subject(s): GPS waypoint navigation, flight control

Semester

Project

Student:

Geoffroy Le Pivain (MT)

Exploration of application based on artificial muscle

As a collaboration work between the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and the Microsystems for Space Technologies Laboratory (LMTS), we developed a foldable actuator using Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA) capable of 1-DOF antagonistic actuation. Now we are interested in developing novel robotic devices based on this new actuator. Adding foldability to robotic devices enhances their usability by making them easier to transport. An example application of this robotic technology is a manipulator used in a remote place such as space. For space missions the folding capability is necessary to carry the robot by rocket, where the volume capacity is limited. An example is EPFL’s CleanSpace One where a set of deployable arms are used. The purpose of this project is to develop a foldable robotic arm composed of several DEAs connected in series. The student will work on design and fabrication of the robot using DEA technology and its fabrication process. After developing the device, the student will perform characterization of the actuator performance.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.02.2014 - 30.05.2014
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 10% Theory, 60% Hardware, 30% Experiments
Requirements: Experience of SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Robotics, Electronics, Materials, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Quentin Vichard (ME)

Morphology Optimization of a Multi-Modal Walking, Flying and Hovering Robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, walk on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to model a multi-modal robot capable of walking, flying, and hovering in order to optimize its morphology. Many versions of this robot have been designed in previous projects but different geometric parameters can still be optimized in order to improve the efficiency of the robot in the different modes of locomotion. The first task is to establish a mass and power model of the robot based on two existing models, one developed for a flying wing platform and an other one for a hovering quad-rotor. This model can then be used to optimize the geometrical parameters of the robot and its scale.

Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.02.2014 - 28.05.2014
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Multi-Modal Robot, Morphology Optimization, Mass and Power Model
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Bertrand Buisson (ME)

3D Variable Stiffness Microstructures

Materials that can drastically change their stiffness are of great interest for engineering applications. This is especially true in robotics, where the ability to dynamically change stiffness can enable a robot to become soft to squeeze through small openings but become rigid when supporting loads.

One approach to creating variable stiffness is by fabricating microstructures composed of low-melting-point-metals (LMPMs) embedded in a soft membrane. By transitioning the LMPM from solid to liquid, the overall device experiences a large change in stiffness. The soft membrane prevents loss of liquid LMPM and defines the shape of the structure.

The challenge of this project is to design and fabricate PCM microstructures that maximize stiffness changes while limiting power consumption and transition times. This can be accomplished by creating low-density, 3-dimensional microstructures that have high strength, fast heating/cooling and low mass. The creation of this novel material will require the creative use of advanced fabrication processes available in the LIS and CMi.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 31.01.2014
Section(s): CH EL ME MT MX PH
Type of work: 30% design, 50% fabrication, 20% testing
Requirements: Microfabrication experience is a plus.
Subject(s): Materials, Electronics, Microfabrication

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibault Asselborn (MT)

Evolution of insect walking.

How have insects evolved to walk adaptively in complex environments? Answers to this question will greatly advance the development of robust terrain navigation in miniature bio-inspired robots.

For this project the student will use genetic algorithms to artificially evolve a "computational fly” that emulates insect walking in a 3D world simulator. They will test resulting gaits in a physical hexapod robot.

We will examine the resulting control strategies to provide a view on biological solutions to this problem as well as a means to build robotic controllers that achieve the resilience of insect walking behavior.

This project will be done in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in collaboration with the Benton Lab (UNIL). Therefore this is an extremely unique project right at the interface between engineering, computer science, & neurobiology.

Type: Semester project
Period: 04.09.2013 - 31.01.2014
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 60% software 30% research 10% theory
Requirements: C++/Python
Subject(s): Genetic Algorithms, Neural Networks, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Francesca Sorba (MT)

Information consensus in swarms of flying robots

Swarms of flying robots have enormous potential in distributed sensing., They are usually deployed in outdoor environments, they establish communication network over large area to collect local information about the environment. This local information should be shared among robots and robots should be able to allocate tasks in a distributed way. This means that robots should be able to reach a consensus and decisions about information they are sharing. The aim of this student project is to investigate existing algorithms in a distributed decision-making and consensus and propose the methodology to solve following problems in ad-hoc aerial networks: What is the topology of the communication network? Which agent has the highest energy level? Which agent is the closest to the predefined target? How will agents synchronize their observations in mutual observation map? For each consensus and decision-making strategy, student should measure time it takes to reach the decision and the network load in the process of reaching the decision and consensus. The algorithms should be implemented and tested in simulation, using Argos simulator and NS3 network simulator. Algorithms should be implemented on the flying platforms and tested in outdoor environment for different network topologies.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 24.01.2014
Section(s): EL IN ME MT PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% software, 20% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Robotics, Wireless networks, Physics

Semester

Project

Student:

Pierre Jacques François Lourdais (ME)

Design and Manufacturing of Protective Structure for a Hovering Robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to fly indoors and to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr is able to resist collisions with obstacles and go back in flight after a crash.

The current prototype has a cage that protects it from big obstacles such as wall, but not from small obstacles that can easily reach the inside of the structure. The goal of this project is to design and manufacture additional protections for the existing cage of the AirBurr which should protect it much better against small objects or wires that could get into the structure and damage it. For example special mesh will also help to protect people from inadvertently getting into contact with fast-rotating propellers in the core of the robot.

The first task of this project is to investigate what kind of lightweight materials, fabrication techniques, and mechanical structures could be used to protect the robot and then test it (test bench with precise force sensor will be provided) to check if proposed structures don’t disturb the airflow of the robot which allows hovering.

The second task of the project is to manufacture and implement chosen structure on the real robot and test its performance in the real scenarios.

The project will involve an analysis of disturbance of the airflow, selection and characterization of materials, CAD design of 3D-printed connection elements and the construction of one or several prototype protective structures.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 24.01.2014
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Basics of aerodynamics
Subject(s): Hovering Robot, Mechanical Design
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Yann Roth (MT)

Enabling a Rolling, Flying and Hovering Robot with Autonomous Capabilities

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to enable a robot, which can fly forward like a plane, hover vertically like an helicopter and roll on the ground using its wings, with autonomous capabilities. The current version of the robot can hover, fly forward, and roll on the ground, but it is still completely remote controlled. Therefore, this project consist in investigating what kind of sensors could be used to enable the robot with autonomous behaviors, specifically for the ground locomotion mode. A first electronic board was designed to control the motors used for the ground locomotion, and this project will possibly include a second design of this custom electronic board for the robot to add new sensors. In this project, we will also investigate different gaits to see which are more efficient. The final goal of this project will be to show that the robot can autonomously navigate on rough terrains.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% research, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Rolling Robot, Sensors, Electronic Design

Semester

Project

Student:

Jean-Charles Gasche (MT)

Design of Deployable Wings for a Rolling, Flying and Hovering Robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design and manufacture deployable wings for a robot that can fly forward like a plane, hover vertically like an helicopter and roll on the ground using its wings. A previous version of the robot can hover, fly forward, and roll on the ground; this prototype has a fixed wingspan which makes it not very maneuverable on the ground. Another version of the robot has deployable wings which make it more efficient on the ground and allows it to go through narrow openings smaller than its wingspan. This project will include a new design of the robot to merge these two platforms into one prototype which will be capable of three modes of locomotion and will have a deployable mechanism that allows to reduce the wingspan of the robot. This deployable mechanism must be as lightweight as possible, must be quick and must not impair the hover and flight capabilities of the platform. Furthermore, it should enhance the hovering and rolling capabilities of the robot, in terms of stability in the air and maneuverability on the ground. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of the wings, CAD design, and manufacturing of one working prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Hovering Robot, Deployable Wings

Semester

Project

Student:

Pablo Klemm (MT)

Improving the Robustness of a Rolling, Flying and Hovering Robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to improve the robustness and reduce the weight of a robot, which can fly forward like a plane, hover vertically like an helicopter and roll on the ground using its wings. The current version of the robot is entirely made of 3D printed parts which makes it easy to build and test, but is also too heavy and not very robust to crashes. Therefore, the goal of this project is to investigate what kind of materials, manufacturing techniques, and mechanical structures could be used to improve the robustness and reduce the weight of the robot. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of the robot, CAD design, and manufacturing of one working prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Rolling Robot, Mechanical Design

Semester

Project

Student:

Eric Sen Nguyen Van (ME)

A Flying Robot Capable of Autonomous Aggressive Maneuvers

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to do autonomous aggressive maneuvers with a flying wing platform. The robot that will be used in this project can fly forward, and roll on the ground by using its wings. However, the robot uses different actuators for rotating its wings to roll on the ground and for the control of the flight. The goal of this project will then be to control the flight by turning the wings of the robot (when the wings are used to control the flight they are called "wingerons"), this will allow to remove the flaps on, the wings, to do more aggressive maneuvers with the platform, and to use the same actuators for both modes of locomotion. This project will involve a theoretical study of the aerodynamics of such a platform, and the design, dimensioning, and manufacturing of a test prototype. The main challenge of this project will be to design a controller that allows to realize autonomous aggressive maneuvers with the platform. In this project, we will also test different geometries and sizes of wingerons in flight; the on-board IMU will be used to detect a stall of the wingerons, and these results will be compared to the theory.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 20% hardware, 20% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Aggressive Flight Maneuvers, Flight Control

Semester

Project

Student:

Audrey Boulard (MT)

Assessment of bio-inspired flight control strategies for UAV flight in forest

Despite their tiny brains, flying insects are able to navigate safely using panoramic vision as main sensory input. By measuring image motion on their retina (optic flow) across a wide field of view, they are able to control their speed, altitude and to stay away from obstacles. However, when flying in complex environments such as a forest, little is known about how motion cues are spatially integrated into reactive flight control commands. The goal of this project is to test hypothesis on how flying insects use vision to fly in complex environments. The student will use an existing flight simulator and replicate recent experiments performed with free-flying bumblebees. Several flight control strategies for collision-free navigation will be formulated and tested on this simulator. Also, in order to assess the relevance of the results for robotic implementations, an flight arena similar to the one used with bumblebees will be built and used to test the selected strategies on a quadrotor robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL IN MT PH SC
Type of work: 20%Theory, 40% Software, 40% Experiments
Requirements: Programming, Data analysis, Control theory
Subject(s): Flight control, Optic flow

Semester

Project

Student:

Mathias Heyraud (MT)

Comparison of Collision Avoidance Strategies

The myCopter project tends to enable the technologies for Personal Aerial Vehicle. This project proposes an innovative way to overcome the financial and environmental cost of current road transportation by using the 3rd dimension for personal transportation such as commuting. Here at LIS, we focus on collision avoidance strategies in dense environments. With the large number of user in the sky, the risk of collision is growing accordingly and ways to ensure safety should be addressed. We developed a real-time simulator with realistic dynamics on which we can test and compare different collision avoidance strategies. This semester project aims to implement and compare simple collision avoidance strategies in the simulator such as Reynolds Flocking. Ce projet peut être réalisé en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 16.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: Theory 20% Software 80%
Requirements: Programming knowledge, ADA would be a plus
Subject(s): Programming
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Raphael Valceschini (MT)

Active mechanism for flexible vision sensor

The development of novel flexible vision sensors has opened up a new avenue of more resilient and compact components to be implemented in soft robots, revealing many advantages with respect to traditional stiff single-aperture cameras. Such flexible vision sensors could exploit their physical characteristics to tune their functionality in line with the robot specific needs. Thus, new solutions have to be engineered in order to implement this capabilities onboard a robot. The goal of the project is to design a mechanism that makes active bending of a flexible camera possible. The student will make use of a recently developed flexible compound vision sensor in LIS. The student will look into mechanical methods to actively bend the flexible sensor and change configurations. The final prototype will be integrated with mobile e-puck robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: Research 10%; design 30%; fabrication 40%; testing 20%
Requirements: imagination; experience in microfabrication and electronics is an advantage; basics in solid works and matlab are a plus
Subject(s): flexible sensors; soft robotics; soft actuation; mobile robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Marcel Starein (MT)

Implementation of low-power motion detection in microcontrollers

In our lab, we have a strong interest micro air vehicles (MAVs), and how these vehicles can navigate based on vision similarly to insects. In order to further reduce the size of such flying robots, new navigation control methods to be used with lower resources have to be investigated. A good strategy is to detect motion of the environment to carry out various tasks like obstacle avoidance or flight stabilization. Developing new methods to extract motion with very low-power microprocessors would be very advantageous to be implemented onboard a very small flying robot. In this project, the goal is to investigate, develop, characterize and validate a new method of motion detection using a very small, very low resolution vision sensor. The student will develop such method optimizing available algorithms in literature, or based on his own ideas. He will be asked to implement such method in a low-power microcontroller and will carry out experiments to characterize and validate the motion extraction capabilities of the method.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): EL MT PH SC
Type of work: research 20%; software 50%; experiments 30%
Requirements: microcontroller programming or C/C++ knowledge
Subject(s): bio-insipired robotics; image processing; flying robotics; vision-based navigation
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Beat Geissmann (MT)

A Flying Robot Capable of Dynamic Running

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design a mechanism that allows a flying wing platform, which can also move on the ground by using its wings, to achieve "dynamic running". Previous work was done on the design of a mechanism that allows a flying robot to walk on the ground with its wings, and on the design of deployable wings. The goal of this project is thus to combine these two mechanisms to achieve greater amplitude of steps and possibly "dynamic running". First a study of the system will be done using an existing physics-based simulator, general principles will be extracted from that study and will be used to design and manufacture a mock-up prototype. Depending on the advancement of the project, the mechanism could be implemented in a real flying platform.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2013 - 20.12.2013
Section(s): ME MT SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 30% software, 30% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Walking Robot, Mechanical Design

Semester

Project

Student:

Jonathan Zuercher (MT)

Magnetic connection mechanism for soft modular robots

At the LIS we are developing soft modular robots to form artificial mult-cellular systems that can change their morphology to suit task or to adapt to the environment. This makes these robots potentially more robust and flexible compared to traditional fixed-morphology systems, especially in unknown or difficult environments.

One of the major challenges in the design of soft modular robots is the availability of a soft reversible connection mechanism. Therefore, the goal of this semesterproject is to investigate a novel clamping/gripping technology based on magnets and pneumatics. Magnets enable reliable attachment with high forces, however require a mechanism for detachment. Recent progress in soft, pneumatics show that this technology is fast, powerful and reliable, and thus is a promising actuator for a detachment mechnanism.

This project will tackle the challenge of design, dimensioning and fabrication of this mechanism. More specifically, the student is expected to investigate how to embed magnets in soft polymer, to propose and evaluate different designs for the mechanism and to dimension the mechanism to minimize weight and size while ensuring high connection strength and reliable detachment. Easy integration of the mechanism into the soft modules is another important requirement. At the end of the project the final design of the mechanism will be characterized while integrated in current prototype modules.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 01.06.2013
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft robotics, soft materials, smart acutators

Semester

Project

Student:

Philippe Paccaud (MT)

Sensor fusion and ad hoc communication networking

The myCopter project tends to enable the technologies for Personal Aerial Vehicle. An innovative way to overcome the financial and environmental cost of current road transportation. At LIS, we focus on collision avoidance strategies as well as testing on small-scaled platforms. To validate the collision avoidance strategies, a light-weight quadrotor was developed at LIS. The aim of this project is twofold: first, to implement sensor fusion techniques such as Kalman filtering to do position control and navigation on a quadrotor. GPS information and an IMU (inertial measurement unit) will be fused. And second, to program data broadcasting between a swarm of quadrotors (~10 platforms) using a XBee communication module. If time permits, a simple collision avoidance strategy will be implemented.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 01.06.2013
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: Hardware 30%, Software 70%
Requirements: Programming skills
Subject(s): Flying robots, data fusion, communication
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Simon Houis (MT)

Pneumatic Soft Robotic Actuator with Controllable stiffness

Pneumatic, elastomer actuators are an interesting technology for soft robots because they are completely elastic and highly deformable. They are made by carefully designing a hollow rubber structure that, when inflated, expands to a particular shape. However, one limitation of these actuators is that producing multiple shapes requires the introduction of hard, heavy valves or the use of multiple pumps. One approach to avoid this problem is to produce a single soft actuator capable of multiple shapes by using a material with controllable stiffness. Then, by varying the stiffness of certain regions of the device, it would be possible to control the overall shape of the actuator. More specifically, we propose creating a soft pneumatic actuator with embedded low-melting-point alloy structures that can be used to control the stiffness of local regions of the actuator. This project will focus on the creative design of the composite actuator, including design of the overall soft pneumatic structure and the dimensioning and placement of the controllable stiffness elements. Also, the student will need to develop a clever manufacturing method, using 3D printing and polymer molding, in order to produce a working prototype capable of attaining many shapes with only a single pump.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 31.05.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 40% Design, 60% Fabrication
Requirements:
Subject(s): mechanics, thermodynamics, electronics

Semester

Project

Student:

Raffael Hochreutener (EL)

Real-time Ad-hoc networking for robotic swarms

Robots operating collectively in swarms require reliable, decentralised communication with low, predictable latency and fast update rates. Within the MyCopter project, we require reliable communication between flying robots for mid-air collision avoidance. Current communication systems are generally designed for sporadic, point-to-point traffic, while in robotic swarms the mode of communication is continuous dissemination of information. We previously developed a distributed time-division channel access (TDMA) protocol that addresses these issues. The goal of this semester project is to implement and evaluate this TDMA protocol on readily available commodity radio modules. Experiments shall be conducted to measure real-world performance in static and dynamic networks, and compare the results with previous work in simulations. If time permits, further work can be carried out on the integration of routing algorithms with the scheduling method.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 31.05.2013
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% embedded software, 20% hardware
Requirements: embedded systems, good programming skills, graph theory, electronics (RF)
Subject(s): wireless communication, real-time embedded systems robotics
URL: Click here

2012


Master

Project

Student:

Florian Gerlich (MT)

Egomotion estimation of a microflyer assisted by a compound camera

Flying insects possess compound eyes that assist them to perform a variety of navigation tasks with limited resources. Novel compound cameras with comparable size are taking this inspiration to be used onboard of microflyers. The aim of this project is to implement egomotion estimation on a flying microrobot assisted by a smart compound camera. The student will deal with the design and implementation of the compound camera on the flying robot. A customized mechanical attachment of the camera to the robot will be designed and implemented. A new available method for egomotion estimation based on inertial and visual sensor fusion will be implemented by the student onboard the microcontroller of the camera. Special attention will be put on the development of low-computation optic flow extraction with the camera prototype. The student will make use of simulation tools and prototype platforms for implementation and optimization. Flying experiments to validate the implementation will be realized assisted by a VICON system. The student will be encouraged to validate the viability of the implementation with a flying demo.

Type: Master project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 21.06.2013
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 40% software; 20% hardware; experiments 40%
Requirements: microcontroller programming (C or C++), some knowledge on control
Subject(s): bio-inspired robotics; flying robotics; vision-based navigation
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Steven Briquez (MT)

Collision-free navigation of a microflyer assisted by a compound camera

Flying insects possess compound eyes that assist them to perform very efficient collision-free navigation with limited resources. Novel compound cameras with comparable size are taking this inspiration to be used onboard of microflyers. The aim of this project is to implement collision avoidance on a flying microrobot assisted by a smart compound camera. The student will deal with the design and implementation of the microrobot control directly assisted by the smart compound camera. Available or new methods for collision avoidance will be implemented by the student onboard the microcontroller of the camera. This requires special work on optimization of data processing in terms of computational load. The student will make use of simulation tools as well as camera and flyer prototypes for implementation and optimization of optic flow extraction and control methods. The final demonstration will show the collision-free, (semi-)autonomous flight of the microflyer in a highly-cluttered environment.

Type: Master project
Period: 18.02.2013 - 21.06.2013
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 40% software; 20% hardware; experiments 40%
Requirements: microcontroller programming (C or C++), some knowledge on control
Subject(s): bio-inspired robotics; flying robotics; vision-based navigation
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Leon Duplay (MT)

Modular airfoil design for low Reynolds number environments

The development of miniature aerial vehicles (MAVs) is currently one of the major challenges in robotics research. These MAVs are characterized by small physical dimensions, low flight speeds, reduced payloads, and reduced aerodynamic performance due to operating in a low Reynolds number environments (below 105). On the other hand, MAVs hold several advantages over larger flying robots thanks to favorable scaling: better structural strengths, reduced stall speed, and better impact tolerance. In particular, MAV flight performance is strongly influenced by wing geometry. To date, very little research has been done on the impact of wing design and in particular, no research has systematically explored the effects of the wing cross-section or airfoil on flight performance. This Master thesis will provide an exploration of the impact on flight performance of different airfoil shapes for small flying robots. The first phase of the project consists of designing, building and characterizing a modular wing system that can change airfoil shape. The prototype will be controllable by software and be able to perform automated testing. In the second phase, the prototype will be used in conjunction with the Harvard Microrobotics Lab wind tunnel setup, to perform fully automated testing and to measure the impact of the different airfoil dimensions and characteristics, allowing for the discussion of principles for the design and fabrication of airfoils for future MAV research.

Type: Master project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 19.04.2013
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Airfoil optimization

Master

Project

Student:

Christophe Barraud (MT)

Sensor fusion for mini UAV

We developed a mini-UAV that is equipped with a set of positioning (GPS), inertial, magnetic and pressure sensors to implement autonomous navigation. The Kalman filter currently implemented can only estimate the attitude (roll and pitch angle). The goal of this project is to design, implement and characterise one or more new Kalman-based state estimation filter(s) that can provide an estimate for additional variables, including at least position, velocities, heading, course and wind speed/direction.

The project includes: 1) Design of an experimental setup for in-flight data logging and ground truth values acquisition (based on a photogrammetric process). 2) Offline design, tuning, optimisation and characterisation of the state estimation filter(s). 3) Implementation of the optimised filter(s) on the mini-UAV’s autopilot and characterisation of the final result.

This project will take place in a start-up company active in the development and sales of mini-UAV and will be run in close collaboration with the LIS.

Type: Master project
Period: 09.09.2012 - 01.04.2013
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% testing, 40% coding
Requirements: embedded programming, basics of sensor fusion
Subject(s): sensor fusion, sensor characterization, flight tests, embedded systems

Master

Project

Student:

Michael Spring (MT)

Optic-flow based obstacle avoidance on a flying robot

The AirBurr platform is a flying robot that can collide with obstacles without breaking. Unlike conventional platforms that use heavy sensors to model the environment and avoid all obstacles, the AirBurr can thus navigate with simpler and lighter sensors that provide incomplete information about the environment, as collisions aren’t critical anymore. However, even though some collisions with obstacles are acceptable, they should be avoided most of the time for efficient navigation, which is the subject of this Master project.

Recent work showed that optic-flow and inertial sensors could be used for ego-motion estimation and keep the speed of the robot stable as long as the robot moves according to a certain pattern. The goal of this Master project is to take these constraints into account while implementing an obstacle avoidance behavior using the optic-flow measurements. Even though the robot's position is unknown, which prevents building a map of the environment, the algorithm will be able to use a short-term odometry that is available from the speed estimation algorithm. A final demonstration should show the robot flying completely autonomously in a cluttered environment, trying to stay away from the obstacles around it even though it might collide into those that it couldn't detect.

The platform is already built and the low-level stabilization controllers and optic-flow extraction are already implemented. The work will thus mostly focus on the algorithms for obstacle detection from optic-flow and the controller for avoidance. The algorithm will be programmed in C and should run in real time on a microcontroller.

Type: Master project
Period: 15.10.2012 - 15.03.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 25% theory, 25% simulation, 25% coding, 25% flight tests
Requirements: embedded programming, robotics (if possible: students should have followed the 'mobile robots' course)
Subject(s): obstacle avoidance, optic-flow, minimal sensing
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Matteo Nessi (MT)

Design and Manufacturing of Soft Inflatable Wings for a Flying and Rolling Robot

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design soft inflatable wings for this robot, based on embedded pneumatic networks (EPNs). This networks of channels can inflate like balloons for actuation. We will investigate how to design soft compliant joints that can provide actuation and that would improve the robustness of the system. Furthermore, we will investigate the concept of jamming for controlling the stiffness of the joints. Jamming is a physical process by which granular materials become rigid with increasing density. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of suitable inflatable wings, CAD designs, and manufacturing of one or several working prototypes.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 02.02.2013
Section(s): ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Soft Inflatable Wings

Semester

Project

Student:

Charles Lambelet (MT)

Wing Shape Optimization for a Flying and Hovering Robot

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design a robot that can both fly horizontally like a plane and hover vertically like an helicopter. This project will include the design of fixed wings for this flying robot, in order to optimize its flight capabilities. This includes the characterization of the wing in terms of size, aspect ratio, and chord length and also the manufacturing of one or several wings. The wings will then be integrated into a flying version of the robot and tests will be performed to characterize the flight performances in both modes of locomotion.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 02.02.2013
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
Requirements: Basic knowledge in aerodynamics
Subject(s): Flying robot, Aerodynamics

Semester

Project

Student:

Johann Groll (MT)

Design of Robust Deployable Wings Using Tensegrity Structures

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design robust compliant deployable wings for this platform using the concept of Tensegrity Structures. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of suitable deployable wings, CAD design, and manufacturing of one or several working prototypes.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 02.02.2013
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Deployable Wings, Tensegrity Structures

Semester

Project

Student:

Patrizia Bernadette Hählen (MT)

Wing-Actuated Ground Locomotion of a Flying and Rolling Robot

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design deployable wings for this platform in order to enhance the ground capabilities of the robot. Previous work was done on an actuation mechanism to deploy the wings and on uprighting of the platform using the wings. Future work consist on improving the ground locomotion of the robot. We will study the concept used by passive-dynamic walking robot and apply it to our robot to improve the efficiency and the speed of the wing-actuated ground rolling. Furthermore, the robot should be able to not only use its wings to roll on the ground but also to steer. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of suitable deployable wings, CAD design, and manufacturing of one or several working prototypes.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 02.02.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% research, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robot, Deployable Wings, Passive-dynamic Rolling

Semester

Project

Student:

Alban Le Vallois (MT)

3D modelling of hexapod walking.

How have insects evolved to walk adaptively in complex environments? Answers to this question will greatly advance the development of robust terrain navigation in miniature bio-inspired robots.

For this project the student will use a "computational fly” that emulates insect walking in a 3D world simulator and bio-inspiration to test models of how hexapods attain stable gaits in 3D terrain.

This project will be done in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in collaboration with the Benton Lab (UNIL). Therefore this is an extremely unique project right at the interface between engineering, computer science, & neurobiology.

Type: Semester project
Period: 11.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 60% software 30% research, 10% theory
Requirements: C/C++
Subject(s): Genetic Algorithms, Neural Networks, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Martin Savary (MT)

Extracting principles of touch evoked leg kinematics in Drosophila.

Insects exhibit robust terrestrial locomotion while relying on a relatively small and simple controller, the nervous system. This makes it an ideal source of bio-inspiration for robust legged walking robots. However, owing to the tiny size and rapid kinematics of most insect behavior we cannot model this behavior precisely without advanced computer vision approaches.

The main objective of this project is to use an algorithm for extracting the leg positions of freely walking flies in high-speed, high-resolution movies to perform a quantitative analysis of the means by which flies use dynamic gaits to achieve optimal avoidance of other flies during collective behavior. This new knowledge will provide inspiration for efficient and robust robotic locomotion as well as a substrate for further studies into neural control of gait in animals.

The project will primarily be supervised at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in collaboration with the Biomedical Imaging Group (EPFL), and the Benton Lab (UNIL). Therefore this is an extremely unique project right at the interface between engineering, computer science, & neurobiology.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 60% software, 20% research, 20% theory
Requirements: C/C++
Subject(s): Image processing, Computer Vision, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience

Semester

Project

Student:

Lucas Turrian (MT)

Modeling and control of a flying robot

VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying robots are often unstable systems, that need a performant active stabilization mechanism. The goal of this project is to realize a simple model of the AirBurr platform (lis.epfl.ch/airburr), and improve the existing flight controller. This task involves:
1) the characterization of motor inputs versus applied force and torque. For this task, a test-bed with a contra-rotating motor and the flaps will be mounted on a force sensor (mechanical setup will be provided) and the goal will be to do several measurements in order to model the forces (such as the force created by the flaps in function of their area and distance to the propellers, or the force torque created by the propellers).
2) the design of a simple simulator using the force model obtained from point 1)
3) the development of control algorithms and realization of tests in simulation before applying the best algorithm to the real platform.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% experiments, 20% software, 10% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): control theory
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Alexandre Pabouctsidis (MT)

Improvement and optimization of a sensor fusion algorithm for ego-motion estimation

An important problem in flying robotics is the ego-motion estimation of a mobile device: the estimation of the velocity of a robot using only embedded sensors (no GPS or external cameras). A method to estimate ego-motion thanks to inertial sensors and optic-flow sensors has been developed and showed promising results.

The goal of this project is to improve the existing algorithm by using together a unimodal state estimation method (like a Kalman filter) with a multimodal state estimation method (like a particle filter), in order to account for the strong non-linearities and to remain computationally reasonable for an embedded implementation. The new method will be tested and optimized in Matlab on real flight experiments data, and compared to the ground truth recorded thanks to a tracking system. Depending on the results, an algorithm to estimate position from integrated velocity will be developped. Finally, if time allows, the method will be implemented in C on the embedded STM32 processor for real-time operation on the flying robot itself.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 40% theory, 30% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements:
Subject(s): sensor fusion, ekf, particle filter

Semester

Project

Student:

Marco Pagnamenta (MT)

Design and control of a contact-sensitive flying robot using whiskers and accelerometers

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr is able to resist collisions with obstacles and go back in flight after a crash. It is for now autonomously stabilized but hasn't yet any high-level controller that tells it where to go. In order to navigate autonomously indoors, we aim at using the interactions with the environment and apply some reactive control to the contacts that occur during flight.

The goal of this project is to work on the contact sensing ability of the robot and the subsequent high-level autonomous control. The first task of the project is to interface whisker sensors to the onboard microcontroller, test them, and assess their usability on the flying robot. The second task of the project is to use whisker sensors and/or accelerometers (depending on the results of the first task) in order to program a simple autonomous behavior, showing the robot change direction after a collision in the air.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 30%+programming +30%+testing +20%+theory +20%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): sensing +flying+robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Marc Schönenberger (MT)

Radar based navigation and collision avoidance

In the scope of the myCopter project, we are enabling new technologies for collision avoidance in aerial vehicle. Radar modules are well developed for heavy and large platforms. The emergence of centimeter scale sensors allows their implementation on Micro aerial vehicles. The student is asked to implement a strategy to use radar modules for indoor navigation and collision avoidance on a quadrotor. The student will first try to fully control the robot in an indoor environment, then implement strategies in order to avoid incoming obstacles or even fly in the room while avoiding obstacles. If these objectives are satisfied, the transition for outdoor obstacle avoidance (using GPS navigation) can be assessed. Ce projet peut être fait en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 18.01.2013
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 90% software 10% hardware
Requirements: C language
Subject(s): Aerial robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Alexandre Cherpillod (MT)

Pendul'air

The student will develop a new flying platform based on the AirBurr that will be able to fly not only indoor but also outdoor and whose weight should not exceed 1kg.

This platform will be used as a demonstrator for the myCopter project and is thus required to have a central cavity to simulate the presence of crew. It will have to perform vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), to hover and to follow GPS navigation points.

The idea is to merge existing sensors such as the autopilot from SenseFly platform and the micro-controller software from AirBurr.

Ce projet peut être fait en français.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 18.01.2013
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 70% design & construction, 30% software
Requirements: C, C++
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Raphael Cherney (MT)

Autonomous Micro-Aerial Vehicle Navigation Using a Custom Optic Flow Sensor Ring

The RoboBees project[1] is an effort to build a swarm of flapping-wing micro-aerial vehicles to collectively perform tasks such as crop pollination, disaster search, and target tracking. Each RoboBee is projected to weigh half a gram and be about 3 cm in length. Correspondingly, each RoboBee is extremely resource-scarce. However, the swarm is expected to be very large with hundreds of RoboBees. Given such a swarm, one of the main challenges in using it to perform the tasks listed above is coordination. To this end, the RoboBees project continues to research various ways of coordination to overcome the limitation of individual RoboBees and efficiently execute applications using the swarm[2]. Due to weight and energy limitations, it is hard to instrument micro-aerial vehicles with a variety of sensors. Since the RoboBees are currently under development, we use micro-helicopters as proxies for them. The objective of this project is to use a custom ring with eight optic flow sensors to perform ego motion estimation as well as indoor navigation on a micro-helicopter with most of the computation on-board. This will be used as the basis for ongoing research in studying distributed techniques for executing the target applications. [1] The RoboBees Project, http://robobees.seas.harvard.edu [2] Karthik Dantu, Bryan Kate, Jason Waterman, Peter Bailis, Matt Welsh, "Programming Micro-Aerial Swarms with Karma", In SenSys '11: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, Seattle, Washington, Nov. 1-4, 2011.

Type: Master project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 18.01.2013
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Quentin Cabrol (MT)

Variable stiffness actuator mechanism based on low melting point metals for soft robots

At the LIS we are developing soft modular robots to form artificial mult-cellular systems. These systems can change their morphology by changing the softness of their module shell to suit task or to adapt to the environment. This makes them potentially more robust and flexible compared to traditional self-reconfigurable robots and fixed-morphology robotic systems.

In order to change the softness of the shell of a module, one needs to carefully design a mechanism featuring a variable stiffness actuator. A promising solution for this functionality is the use of low melting point metals., When embedded as tracks in a soft polymer, this actuator enables large stiffness changes going from rigid to a completely liquid state.

The goal of this semesterproject is to develop a variable stiffness actuation mechanism based on these low-melting point metals. The main challenge in this project is the smart design of the metal tracks/layers to be embedded in a polymer while optimizing for large stiffness change and small power consumption. Work will include fabrication of polymer structures featuring complex metal tracks, evaluation and testing of different track/layer compositions and the integration of the mechanism into soft modular robots.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 13.01.2013
Section(s): CH EL ME MT MX PH
Type of work:
Requirements: Some expierence with electronics and microfabrication techniques is advantageous
Subject(s): Electronics, Physics, Microfabrication

Semester

Project

Student:

Benoit Seguin (IN)

Active flexible sensor for adaptive robot navigation

The development of novel flexible vision sensors has opened a new avenue of more compliant and compact components to be implemented on robotic platforms. Such sensors reveal many advantages with respect to traditional stiff single-aperture cameras. In example, flexible vision sensors could exploit their physical characteristics to adapt to different underlying surfaces or to tune their functionality in line with the robot specific needs in a number of situations. For instance, a flexible camera could gain field of view by just curving its surface to a lower radius of curvature. However, new solutions have to be engineered in order to implement this capabilities onboard a real robot. The goal of the project is to investigate the possibility of performing collision avoidance task using the flexible vision sensor developed in the LIS laboratory. The student is expected to (a) look into algorithms to perceive motion suitable for the flexible vision sensors (b) implement the chosen one onboard the sensor’s microcontroller and perform tests under various curvature to assess its functionality, (c) evaluate various methods to actively bend the flexible sensor and implement the chosen one, (c) interface the sensor to the e-puck robot and prepare final demonstration.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 04.01.2013
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 40% motion extraction theory, 40% software developement, 20% hardware developement
Requirements: programming in C is an advantage
Subject(s): Motion Extraction, C Programming, Flexible Camera, Image Processing
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Jean-Luc Liardon (MT)

Development of novel collision avoidance methods for microflyers using compound cameras

Flying insects possess compound eyes that assist them to perform very efficient collision-free navigation with limited resources. Novel compound cameras with comparable size are taking this inspiration to be used onboard of microflyers. However, these novel small and light sensors possess limited computational power and optimization of data processing has to be carried out while keeping efficient flight control. The aim of this project is to develop novel adaptive strategies for collision avoidance with constrained resources. First, the student will report the state of the art of optic flow extraction methods susceptible of being optimized. Further, the student will adapt such methods to the available sensor's characteristics. Then, those methods will be tested for various navigation scenarios making use of an available simulation tool. The conclusions of this project will include an evaluation of those methods for real implementation on physical robots.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 21.12.2012
Section(s): EL IN MT PH SC
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% software, 30% simulations
Requirements: C, C++, Matlab
Subject(s): bio-inspired engineering, vision processing, flying robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibault Priquel (MT)

Implementation of collision-free navigation on a robot using a compound camera

Flying insects possess compound eyes that assist them to perform very efficient collision-free navigation with limited resources. Novel compound cameras with comparable size are taking this inspiration to be used onboard of microflyers. The aim of this project is to implement collision avoidance on a wheeled robot assisted by a smart compound camera. The student will deal with the design of the mechanical assembly and the communication interface of the sensor on an e-puck platform. Available or new methods for collision avoidance will be implemented by the student onboard the microcontroller of the camera. The final demonstration will show the collision-free fully autonomous navigation of the e-puck in a highly-cluttered environment.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 21.12.2012
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: hardware 10%; programming 40%; research 30%; control 20%
Requirements: C or C++; microcontroller programming
Subject(s): bio-inspired engineering; mobile robotics; vision processing
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Florentin Marty (MT)

The synergy between neural path integration and landmark-based mapping

The navigational capabilities of rats have called much attention to the scientific community. The rats' spatial processing mechanisms have been widely studied in the recent years and, by the discovery of place cells in its hippocampus, they are believed to have a cognitive map of the environment. A relevant part of the place cell mechanism is the network of grid cells, found upstream in the medial entorhinal cortex. Those cells are believed to be the main mechanism of the path integration.Neuromorphic models of the grid cells were implemented in simulation and real robots. Through Hebbian learning allothetic sensory information was used to associate landmarks with position information. Whenever a landmark was revisited, the learnt knowledge was used to form additional inputs for grid cells. As a result, the system was able to correct and reset the grid cells' position coding and to stabilize the trajectory. Afterwards, the synergistic interaction between path integration in the grid cells and landmark mapping in the place cells was studied. We were able to show that landmarks and path integration are closely linked in the neural processing of spatial information and that solely landmark navigation leads to problems in neural orientation, because ambiguous sensory inputs are likely to cause error. Figure 2 illustrates that both, insufficient and excessive landmark density result in weak navigation performance of the simulated robot. Finally, new experiments for rats were proposed, in which cue ambiguity plays a key element.

Type: Master project
Period: 23.04.2012 - 10.09.2012
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Axel Murguet (MT)

Towards an AR.Drone 2.0 Based Prototype For Autonomous 3D Mapping

Rattaché à l'équipe Image vous aurez en charge la mise en oeuvre d'algorithmes de construction de cartes et navigation sur un prototype de Drone. Le projet consistera à évaluer les stratégies pour cartographier une pièce avec un drone équipé d'une centrale inertielle, d'une caméra verticale et d'une Kinect. Les missions du stage sont: , . Prendre en main les algorithmes Parrot , . Intégrer la Kinect sur un prototype , . Participer à l'élaboration et l'évaluation d'algorithmes de cartographie. En collaboration avec l'équipe vous définirez des critères pertinents pour évaluer les performances des solutions. Les outils de travail sont Matlab et C/Cpp, un système de motion tracking et divers prototypes de Drones. La bonne compréhension algorithmique des techniques employées est nécéssaire.

Type: Master project
Period: 07.02.2012 - 06.09.2012
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% software, 10% hardware, 30% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): embedded programming, sensor fusion

Master

Project

Student:

Loic Zimmermann (MT)

Wind resistance and VTOL capabilities for small flying-wings (in industry)

The candidate will first assess various possibilities of increasing wind resistance of small flying wings thanks to airframe optimization considering wing geometry, wing loading and thruster specifications. The impact of the proposed optimisations on airspeed, energy consumption, flight endurance, landing and takeoff capabilities will be systematically analysed by means of theory backed by in flight measurements. In a second part, adding VTOL capabilities using cheap strategies will be theoretically compared. This comparison will constitute the starting point of a design process and the production of at least one flying prototype as a proof-of-concept. The impact on cost, exploitation and handling capabilities will be considered and discussed.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 20.08.2012
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Loïc Perruchoud (PH)

3D Physics-Based Soft Multi-Cellular Simulator

The tremendous technological advance we are currently experiencing will eventually lead to the feasibility of soft multi-cellular robots, which could potentially display many of the characteristics that can be observed in natural organisms. At the LIS, we are currently investigating different aspects of such multi-cellular artificial systems, both at the level of hardware and in software simulations.
In this project, the student is expected to port an existing 2D physics-based soft-multi cellular robot simulator into 3D. The current 2D simulator supports features like soft cell membranes, active/passive membrane adhesion, active deformation of the membranes and sensing capabilities (detection of external stimuli).
The student is expected to perform an evaluation study of existing 3D physics engines. Then, in the first phase of the project the student will select the best existing technology and implement the mechanisms already present in the 2D version of the simulator. Subsequently, the student will characterize the scalability of the simulator and demonstrate its capabilities in a few test scenarios.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2012 - 21.06.2012
Section(s): IN MT PH
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Physics Based Simulations, Soft Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Jérémie Despraz (PH)

Indirect encodings for soft-multicellular robots

Since the seminal work of Sims on virtual creatures, different systems for the evolution of morphology and control of modular robots have been proposed. However, the aim of generating robots that could reach levels of complexity comparable to the ones observed in natural systems is far from being achieved.
To achieve this goal, many challenges must still be solved. It is clear that to design the structures of such multi-cellular robots, automatic design methods are needed that could possibly replicate the incredible diversity level produced by nature in an artificial system. Various generative encodings have been proposed in the past, including grammar-encoding and methods that simulate natural morphogenesis.
In this project, the student will investigate existing indirect encodings for multi-cellular systems and test them on morphology matching problems. In the first part of the project, the student is expected to review existing encodings for the automatic design of multi-cellular structures. Then, the student will select the most promising encodings and will perform a series of experiments to evaluate their capabilities on morphology matching benchmarks. The outcome of this project should possibly be the selection of an existing encoding or the synthesis of a new methodology for the evolution of multi-cellular structures that will fulfill the assigned requirements. If time allows the capability of the chosen encoding will be demonstrated on an existing soft cell simulator.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2012 - 21.06.2012
Section(s): IN MT PH
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Artificial Evolution, Modular Robotics, Soft Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Adrien Béraud (MT)

Viability Evolution for Prediction of Protein Structures

Viability Evolution is a novel evolutionary meta-heuristic developed at LIS, that drives evolution by “shaping” the environment where the candidate solutions live and reproduce. The environment shaping is obtained by the dynamic modification of a number of constraints during the optimization process, which determines at each time step the solutions that will survive and those that will be eliminated.
In this project, the student is expected to apply Viability Evolution to a real-world problem, namely the prediction of protein assemblies conformations. In order to achieve a specific function, proteins often assemble in complexes having a unique shape of minimal energy. While determining experimentally the structure of a single protein at atomistic resolution is usually easy, determining the structure of a large assembly can be challenging. In this context, predicting the structure of a protein complex on the base of the structure of its individual components and low resolution experimental data acting as geometric constraints could be of great benefit. Furthermore, the energy landscape associated to proteins conformations is large and extremely rough, that makes traditional optimization methods unsuitable.
In the first part of the project, the student will integrate the existing optimization framework available at LIS with the specific problem implementation available at LBM (Laboratory for Biomolecular Modeling). Then, the student will rigorously evaluate the performance of the existing Viability Evolution algorithm against a traditional Evolutionary Algorithm. In the second part of the project, the student is expected to test different “environment shaping” strategies to improve the performance of Viability Evolution.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 20.06.2012
Section(s): MT PH
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Artificial Evolution, Protein Structure Prediction

Semester

Project

Student:

Géraud L'Eplattenier (EL)

Adaptation of ego-motion algorithm for embedded systems

The goal of this project is the adaptation of an existing ego-motion estimation algorithm for an embedded artificial compound vision system. This novel sensor has a spherical shape containing 272 pixels and contains a gyroscope, an accelerometer and two microcontrollers within the spherical structure. Currently, the ego-motion algorithm is working on a demonstration platform with 6 optic flow sensors, a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis accelerometer and two microcontrollers. In this project, we replace the six high quality optic flow sensors with compound vision sensor that provides low-quality but high density optic flow signals. This will require the existing ego-motion algorithm to be adapted to account for the special type of optical information produced as well as the limited computational power available. The experiments will be performed using an existing simulation tool that can provide virtual environments required for the characterization of the ego-motion algorithm. Specifically, the tool allows to simulate the noisy optic-flow and inertial sensors values obtained by the Spherical CURVACE moving along a predefined path in the virtual environment.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 01.06.2012
Section(s): EL
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): bio-inspired vision;vision-based navigation; vision processing

2011


Semester

Project

Student:

Arnaud Garnier (MT)

Design and control of a contact-sensitive flying robot using force sensors

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr is able to resist collisions with obstacles and go back in flight after a crash. It is for now autonomously stabilized but hasn't yet any high-level controller that tells it where to go. In order to navigate autonomously indoors, we aim at using the interactions with the environment and apply some reactive control to the contacts that occur during flight.

The goal of this project is to work on the contact sensing ability of the robot, so that the robot is able to detect when an external force (in the order of 0.1N) is applied anywhere on its external structure. The first task of the project is the choice of force sensors for contact measurement, and how to integrate them to the existing outside structure of the platform (support from our mechanical engineer will be provided for part production and construction). Then the interface with the embedded electronics will be developed in C, so as to provide useful commands to the control system. If time allows, autonomous control can be tackled to explore a room or find openings in the wall.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.09.2012 - 01.02.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% hardware, 20% electronics, 20% programming
Requirements: mechanical design (CAD software), sensors, electronics, embedded programming
Subject(s): force sensing, control, robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Constantinos Stergiopulos (MT)

Electroadhesion at a microscale

At the LIS we are developing soft modular robots to form artificial mult-cellular systems that can change their morphology to suit task or to adapt to the environment. This makes these robots potentially more robust and flexible compared to traditional fixed-morphology systems, especially in unknown or difficult environments. One of the biggest challenges in the design of soft modular robots is the availability of a soft reversible connection mechanism. Therefore, the goal of this project is to investigate a novel clamping/gripping technology called "electroadhesion" at a microscale. This adhesion technology is electrically controllable and induces electrostatic charges on a substrate using a power supply connected to compliant pads situated on the robot. Electroadhesion enables high-clamping forces on a wide variety of substrate. Electrostatic forces occur between the substrate material and electroadhesive pads. These pads are comprised of conductive electrodes that are deposited on the surface of a polymer. When alternate positive and negative charges are induced on adjacent electrodes, the electric fields set up opposite charges on the substrate and thus cause electrostatic adhesion. This project will involve the fabrication and testing of electroadhesive pads at the microscale and the design of supply electronics. A major challenge will be the dimensioning and integration of pads for the use of this technology in a soft modular system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2012 - 13.01.2013
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft robotics, Flexible electronics

Semester

Project

Student:

Urtzi Alfaro (SC)

Benchmarking and performance assessment of network inference methods

The effective reverse engineering of Gene Regulatory Networks (GRN) is one of the great challenges of systems biology and is expected to have substantial impact on the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in the next decades. A gene network is formed by regulatory genes, which code for proteins that enhance or inhibit the expression of other regulatory and/or non-regulatory genes, thereby forming a complex web of interactions. The goal of reverse engineering is to automatically identify such a network from experimental data.

The goal of this project is the partial implementation of two reverse engineering algorithms. The first one is based on AGE, a Analog Genetic Encoding developed at LIS. The second is based on CMA-ES which has been shown multiple times to be an efficient evolutionary strategy. The main objective of this project is to compare quantitatively the performance of the AGE-based and CMA-based gene network inference methods.

Our long-term goal is the development of an open-source reverse engineering library for the bio-computing community. Thus, this project is very demanding with respect to programming and requires strong interest in development of extensible and reusable object-oriented software.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 01.07.2012
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SV
Type of work: 50% software, 50% research
Requirements: Java / Matlab
Subject(s): systems biology, gene networks, reverse engineering, benchmark, DREAM challenges

Semester

Project

Student:

Mathieu Bonny (MT)

Design and Manufacturing of an Actuation Mechanism for a Deployable Wing

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to explore different solutions for the actuation of a deployable wing. First, it will be necessary to establish the state of the art of the different technologies that could be used. Then, one or several methods will be tested, and the most appropriate solution, will be implemented into a complete deployable wing. Also, depending on the progress made, this wing will be integrated into a flying robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 22.06.2012
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Smart materials, Actuation, Deployable wing

Semester

Project

Student:

Adrian Tudor Panescu (IN)

Environment shaping strategies for Viability Evolution

Evolutionary computation (EC) is the field of science that aims to develop problem-solving tools by modeling the evolutionary process in nature. Viability Evolution is a novel evolutionary meta-heuristic developed at LIS, that drives evolution by "shaping" the environment where the candidate solutions live and reproduce. The higher performances of Viability Evolution with respect to classical Evolutionary Computation methods are mainly due to the higher level of diversity maintained during the search process.
In the current implementation, the environment is described by a series of requirements (viability constraints) that determine the possibility of an individual in the population to survive and reproduce. Individuals that do not comply with the viability constraints are eliminated from the population. Moreover, constraints are only made tighter as evolutionary time proceeds. The absence of a mechanism that could relax (under specific conditions) the viability constraints might eventually hamper the ability of the algorithm of escaping local optima.
In this project the student is expected to implement a new environment shaping policy for Viability Evolution that supports constraints relaxation. The student will perform experiments on a dynamic optimization benchmark as well as static optimization problems. Finally, the student will analyze the results of the experiments.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 22.06.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME PH SC SV
Type of work: 25% theory, 25% research, 50% software
Requirements: knowledge of C/C++ is beneficial
Subject(s): Artificial Evolution, Genetic Algorithms, Optimization

Semester

Project

Student:

Frank Bonnet (MT)

Wing-Aided Uprighting of a Flying and Rolling Robot

We are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to both move easily through the air and on the ground. This new platform will be able to hover, fly, roll on the ground, and upright itself thanks to its deployable wings. These abilities bring this new flying robot closer to the capabilities of birds that are much more adaptive to their environment than current flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design an active uprighting mechanism for this platform. The robot should be able to use its wings to upright itself in order to get back to a takeoff-ready position. This mechanism will allow the robot to transition between the ground locomotion mode to the hover locomotion mode. Using the deployable wings of the robot for uprighting is a very efficient solutions since it does not require an additional actuator for this task. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of this uprighting mechanism, CAD design and manufacturing of one or several working prototypes. The mechanism will then be integrated into a flying version of the robot, depending on the advancement of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 22.06.2012
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% research, 60% hardware,
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying robot, Deployable wings, Uprighting mechanism

Semester

Project

Student:

Leon Duplay (MT)

Target detection using flying robots

This semester project aims at implementing an image recognition algorithm on flying robot platform for detecting targets on the ground for future usage in a search-and-rescue mission., The first task of the candidate will be to study different algorithms proposed in literature and provide state of the art review of the current algorithms used in the field of image recognition. Based on the literature survey, candidate should define the approach how to determine probabilities of finding the target while flying over a predefined area., The main task of the project is to implement and test the approach on the embedded computer of our flying robot platform. The embedded computer, Overo from Gumstix, is running Linux and is equipped with a camera. Chosen algorithm can be directly programmed on Gumstix computer in C++ using OpenCV library. The detection should be done in real-time during the flight and results of the target detection algorithm should be sent to the other parts of the control system for further evaluation. The task also includes outdoor flight-testing and the analysis of the flight data. The performance of the algorithm should be evaluated for different flight altitudes and lightning conditions and robustness of the algorithm should be determined in presence of turbulences.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 22.06.2012
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 20% research, 40% software, 40% experiments
Requirements: C/C++
Subject(s): Aerial Robotics, Image Processing

Semester

Project

Student:

Marina Mircheska (IN)

Multi-objective Optimization using Viability Evolution

Evolutionary Algorithms are well suited to perform multi-objective optimization as they maintain a population of solutions that can be used to simultaneously explore a bigger subset of the solution space (compared to Simulated Annealing). But, simple weighted sum approaches to evolutionary multi-objective optimization (EMO) perform poorly due to lack of diversity in terms of all the objectives. When augmented with special diversity preserving techniques, evolutionary multi-objective optimization approaches have shown good performance but still need additional mechanisms to deal with optimization of more than 3 objectives. At LIS, a novel Evolutionary Computation method called Viability Evolution (ViE) has been developed that utilizes “environment shaping” and “eliminations” to drive evolution rather than depend on an absolute (or partial) ranking of individuals. Hence, the ViE algorithm will not suffer from the problems faced by traditional EMO algorithms, and initial experiments show promising results on multi-objective benchmarks when compared against the state-of-the-art EMO techniques such as Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm (NSGA-2). The goal of this project is to modify the existing ViE algorithm to produce a well-distributed Pareto front in multi- and many-objective optimization problems. Additionally, the scalability of the developed ViE algorithm (in terms of the number of objectives) should be analyzed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 20.06.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT SC SV
Type of work: 20% theory 30% research 50% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Multi-objective optimization, Evolutionary Algorithms

Semester

Project

Student:

Mohamed Raad (MT)

Miniature electro-permanent magnets for modular soft robots

Modular robots require connections that are strong when engaged, act over a distance, self align, require little or no holding power, and are easy to release. Permanent magnets satisfy most of these conditions, but they require a high force to separate. Traditional electromagnets allow easy release, but they require constant electrical power to maintain engagement. A hybrid of these two technologies, called Electro-Permanent Magnets (EPMs), has been developed that satisfies all the above mentioned criteria. These devices use a small current pulse to switch between a permanent magnetic state and an off state. However, this technology currently exists only on the millimeter scale.

The challenge of this project is to generate functioning devices on the micrometer scale. This will allow the scaling of robotic modules, thereby increasing their range of possible applications. In this project, the student will explore the underlying principles of EPMs in order to develop designs and fabrication methods that allow their miniaturization. Successful prototypes will be characterized and integrated with soft robotic modules.

More specific, the project involves the following work packages:
(i) Fabrication and characterization of different types (e.g. Neodym and AlNiCo) of micrometer-sized magnets (by using magnetic powder)
(ii) Development of a fabrication method to assemble the fabricated magnets and wrap coils around the magnets (iii) Characterization of developed EPMs and its fabrication method

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 20.06.2012
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 10% design, 60% fabrication/hardware, 30% characterization
Requirements: Creativity and desire to fabricate novel structures.
Subject(s): Electromagnetics, circuits, materials

Semester

Project

Student:

Raphael Cherney (MT)

Build a Computational Fly.

To understand the behavior of complex biological systems it is often useful to build a physically accurate simulation. Robotics has a history of using such computational tools and these can also be exploited to reverse engineer biological behaving systems. In return, lessons learned from these simulations may then be directly applied to the generation of advanced artificial intelligent systems.

We are studying the behavior of the hexapod insect, Drosophila melanogaster. Owing to hundreds of millions of years of insect evolution, its sensing and actuation mechanisms serve as useful guides for the development of sophisticated behaving robots.

For this project we will develop a 3D simulation environment for a morphologically and kinematically accurate computer generated fly. With this tool, we will test the means of achieving fly-like locomotion using dimension-reducing control strategies. Results from these experiments may suggest bio-inspired strategies for robotic locomotion.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2012 - 08.06.2012
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 70% software, 20% research, 10% theory
Requirements: C++
Subject(s): Robotics, 3D Simulation, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Lukas Frisch (MT)

High resolution, high-speed localization of Drosophila touch responses.

Identification of the mechanisms that underlie collective behavior requires a high-resolution understanding of the behavior of individuals. Therefore, for this project the student will use a high-speed, high-resolution behavioral imaging apparatus to collect videos of freely moving flies interacting with one another. Subsequently, using state-of-the-art tracking algorithms, they will compile these interaction responses into a "touch map" that identifies the walking response of flies to touch. This map will include the precise location of each touch, providing crucial information regarding the location of neurons responsible for conveying this information.

This project will be done at both the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in the Benton Lab (UNIL).

Type: Semester project
Period: 12.09.2011 - 01.02.2012
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 40% software 40% experiments 20% theory
Requirements: Matlab
Subject(s): Machine Vision, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Winnie Wing Yee Tse (MT)

Extracting individual behaviors during collective encounters.

The actions of individuals form the basic building blocks of collective or swarm behavior. We aim to extract these individual responses from videos capturing the behavior of groups of fruit flies in an attempt to understand the emergence of collective olfactory decision making in these animals. In this project, the student will the develop computational tools necessary to automatically extract the responses of flies to physical interactions with one another. This data will be processed and analyzed to identify if a somatotopic or body-location dependent set of rules applies to these interactions. Finally these tools will be applied to understanding if such somatotopic rules hold true in the presence of an aversive odorant. This project will be done in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) using data acquired the Benton Lab (UNIL).

Type: Semester project
Period: 13.09.2011 - 01.02.2012
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 80% software, 20% theory
Requirements: Matlab
Subject(s): Animal behavior, computer vision
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Jonathan Rohrbach (IN)

Generate in silico benchmarks for developmental network inference methods

One of the most challenging goals in systems biology is the development of computational tools for the reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks, that is, to infer the network of gene interactions from quantitative experimental data. Knowing how genes interact which each other is a primordial information required to design novel drugs that are aimed to target very specific genes.

Numerous methods have been developed for inference of gene regulatory networks from expression data, however, their strengths and weaknesses remain poorly understood. Accurate and systematic evaluation of these methods is hampered by the difficulty of constructing adequate benchmarks and the lack of tools for a differentiated analysis of network predictions on such benchmarks.

GeneNetWeaver (GNW) is a Java tool we developed for in silico benchmark generation and performance profiling of network reverse engineering algorithms. GNW is used by a world-wide community to generate in silico ("virtual") models of gene regulatory networks that can be simulated to reproduce many biological experiments (knockouts, knockdowns, multifactorial perturbation, etc.).

The goal of this project is to extend the generation of benchmark from currently single-celled to multi-cellular tissues by incorporating our detailed gene network model into a 2D cellular tissue model implementing spatial diffusion of proteins involved in the system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 01.02.2012
Section(s): IN MT SC SV
Type of work: 50% software, 50% research
Requirements: Java / Matlab
Subject(s): systems biology, gene networks, reverse engineering, benchmark, DREAM challenges

Semester

Project

Student:

Maxime Brülhart (MT)

Active acoustic signaling motor driver

Teams of flying robots can accomplish aerial coverage tasks more robustly and more efficiently compared to a single flying robot. Tasks such as security patrols or searching for victims inside a disaster area can benefit from several autonomous robots operating in parallel. However a challenge faced in the design of MAV swarms is to achieve motion coordination and collision avoidance. At the LIS we are working on developing an audio based relative positioning system which can help the robots to gain information about the location of other robots and hence address these challenges. The goal of this semester project is to design a motor driver that is capable of emitting acoustic signals using the motor. These signals can be perceived and used by other robots in the group to estimate the position of the sound emitting robot., More specifically, in this project it is required to modify an available robot motor controller in a way to be able to control both the motor speed and the pure tone sound of the motor. Furthermore experiments should be performed to identify the limitations of sound generation and the detection range for different sound patterns.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 20.01.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 10 % theory, 50% software, 20% hardware, 20% experiments
Requirements: Programming, microcontrollers
Subject(s): motor driver, acoustic signaling

Semester

Project

Student:

Christophe Barraud (MT)

Signal to noise ratio enhancement for an audio based relative positioning system

At the LIS we are working on an audio based relative positioning system for a group of outdoor flying robots that can provide every robot with information about the position of its neighboring robots. Similar to how animal’s hearing system works, the idea here is to mount a set of microphones on the robots and to estimate the direction of the sound emitted from other robots by computing the time delay among signals of different microphone pairs., However, microphone sensors are very sensitive to wind and platform vibrations that highly affects the localization performance when the robots are in the air. Also the self engine noise of the robots has a high influence on the localization performance. The goal of this semester project is to investigate different microphone mounting strategies for reducing the effect of noises and hence enhancing the signal to noise ratio of the system. More specifically, the student is required to design, develop, test and compare different wind protections, anti vibration mounts and microphone mounting positions. The limitations of the flying platform in terms of weight and aero dynamics must be taken into account during the design.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 20.01.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT
Type of work: 30 % theory, 40% design, 30% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Microphone, Wind protection, anti-vibration mounts, Signal to noise ratio

Semester

Project

Student:

Michael Spring (MT)

Real time sound source localization

At the LIS we are working on swarms of autonomous flying robots that can work together towards achieving efficient and robust aerial coverage tasks. One requirement for achieving this is that each robot should be equipped with a relative positioning system allowing it to obtain some information about the relative location of other robots. However, designing a relative positioning system for our flying robots is challenging since the robots can only carry a maximum payload of 150 grams. Inspired from nature, where animals use sound to communicate and localize each other, we are interested in developing an audio based relative positioning system which satisfies the constraints of our robots. The goal of this semester project is to develop an embedded system for real time direction estimation of a sound emitting robot., More specifically, this project involves the interfacing of four microphone sensors with a microcontroller and designing and implementing a real time sound source localization algorithm for estimating the direction of a sound source. The limited computational power and memory of the microcontroller have to be taken into account during the design.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 20.01.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% software, 5% hardware, 15% experiments
Requirements: good programming skills, microcontrollers
Subject(s): microcontrollers, microphones, sound source localization

Semester

Project

Student:

David Morisod (MT)

Development and Evaluation of a small RADAR system for detecting unmanned aircraft

Mid-air collision avoidance is an important topic in aviation in general. With the increasing number of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) it becomes a challenge for aerial robotics as well. We are investigating a range of sensor modalities to sense and avoid other aircraft in the vicinity, including very small 25GHz doppler radar modules. This project is to develop a small, lightweight radar system based on a 25 GHz FMCW radar frontend. The analog radar frontend is supplied as a module. In this project the student will develop, implement and evaluate radar algorithms on a microcontroller-based signal processing board to detect e.g. doppler velocity, range and approximate direction of nearby unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The goal of this project is to evaluate the performance and capabilities of very small and light radar systems for detection of small aircraft. Experiments will be carried out to identify performance criteria (e.g. maximum range, field of view, etc.).

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 20.01.2012
Section(s): EL IN MA ME PH
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware/construction, 30% experiments
Requirements: background in radio technology desirable
Subject(s): RADAR, sensing, UAV
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Alexander von Mach (MT)

Antenna modification for a sub-miniature doppler RADAR

Mid-air collision avoidance is an important topic in aviation in general. With the increasing number of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) it becomes a challenge for aerial robotics as well. We are investigating a range of sensor modalities to sense and avoid other aircraft in the vicinity, including very small 25GHz doppler radar modules. There are very small and lightweight commercial RADAR modules available that weigh only a few grams. However, due to the small size of the antenna, the beam width is quite wide (40-80 degrees), limiting the detection range. The goal of this project is to design an antenna upgrade to be retrofitted to our RADAR module, that is lightweight, small enough to be integrated into our UAVs without adding too much aerodynamic drag, that will focus the beam to 10-20 degrees and increase the detection range. After evaluating different topologies (waveguide, Yagi, dish, etc.), prototypes have to be built and tested. During the design phase, multiphysics simulation software is available. For the experimental validation, a test rig may have to be constructed to achieve repeatable, reliable measurements of beam pattern and increase in signal strength.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 20.01.2012
Section(s): EL MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% simulation, 30% hardware/construction, 30% experiments
Requirements: background in radio technology desirable
Subject(s): RADAR, sensing, UAV
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Dimitri Weideli (MT)

Increasing the evolvability of the Analog Genetic Encoding (AGE)

The Analog Genetic Encoding (AGE) representation has been successfully applied to a number of evolutionary robotics experiments, demonstrating to be a powerful representation for the evolution of neural networks and their topologies. Unfortunately, one drawback of AGE is its difficulty of evolving large networks. AGE generally evolves fully-connected networks, hampering the evolvability of the encoding.

In this project, the student is expected to implement in AGE a novel approach to overcome this problem. The student will implement one mechanism (more if time allows) to limit the interactions within AGE genes, which could potentially lead to an increased evolvability of AGE. The student will have to systematically analyze the tested approaches on a series of network matching benchmarks and assess their performances with respect to the standard AGE implementation. The evolutionary framework with the standard AGE representation is already available in the lab. The student is expected to implement the code needed to run the chosen benchmark experiments, collect and analyze the relevant statistics.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 14.01.2012
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 70% software, 30% theory
Requirements: familiarity with C/C++ would be an advantage
Subject(s): artificial evolution, age

Semester

Project

Student:

Manuel Stöckli (ME)

Physics-based Simulator for Soft Robotics

We are currently developing mechanically soft and highly deformable modular robots. In order to test different aspects of these robots, we aim at creating a physics-based simulation platform.

The goal of this project will be to set up a simulation platform based on an existing 2D physics engine (Box2D) for soft modular robotics. After a familiarization phase with the software environment, the student is expected to implement a framework that allows for the simulation of a variable number of soft modules having customizable softness, size, number of connection points, internal connection control, simulation accuracy, and external environmental flow. A major challenge will be to enable connection and disconnection between soft objects based on the physical modelling of different attachment mechanisms. At the end of the project the simulation environment should be demonstrated in a few possible scenarios (self-reconfiguration, self-assembly, etc).

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 13.01.2012
Section(s): IN MT PH
Type of work: 30%+theory +70%+software
Requirements: C++
Subject(s): Simulation, Soft robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Florian Gerlich (MT)

Bio-inspired arrangement of pixels on spherical artificial compound eye

The compound eye of insects consists of a highly packed arrangement of individual sensing units called ommatidia. The arrangement of such ommatidia depends strongly on the eye region. Moreover, the available literature demonstrates that evolution has optimized such arrangement to provide efficient visual information for various functions, such as egomotion estimation or flight stabilization. In LIS, we are working on the design and fabrication of compound cameras inspired by insect eyes to be applied as vision sensors for flying robots. With the available technology, it is not possible to achieve the same pixel configuration as the one of ommatidia in insect eyes. Thus, alternative solutions must be found. The aim of the project is to evaluate various configurations of pixels on a camera with spherical geometry and demonstrate the most efficient solutions for egomotion estimation. The student is expected to set up the available simulator with various pixel arrangements according to the specifications of the available prototype designs. He is also expected to investigate egomotion estimation methods available in the literature that potentially fit the characteristics of the sensor and implement them in the simulator. Finally, he is expected to evaluate the different pixel arrangements of the sensor with respect to ground-truth values.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: Simulations 40%, programming 30%, theory 30%
Requirements: C++ or C
Subject(s): Bio-inspired engineering; computer vision; vision-based navigation; optical flow
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Ionut Halasz (MT)

Soft spherical mirrors manufacturing process

Spherical mirrors are popular tools, which allow, for e.g., enlarging the field of view of a camera or, redirecting the light-ray emitted by a laser. They are usually built of a glass or a metal surface covered by a reflective coating layer. The first goal of this project is to validate a new technique of soft spherical mirrors manufacturing, developed in the LIS laborathory. The technique bases on curing a PDMS polymer in a mould with a spherical opening and coating it with a micro-layer of gold. This new technique promises several advantages over the traditional mirror manufacturing process as quick mirror development, adjustable shape and low cost. The second goal of this project is to extend the functionality of a light-based shape sensor developed in the LIS laboratory by using the new type of flexible mirrors. In this project student is expected to: a. derive the optimal parameters of the flexible mirrors manufacturing process b. develop an analitical model of the process, which allows prediction over the process parameters c. apply the soft mirrors to the light-based shape sensor d. characterize the performance of the shape sensor with the mirror applied.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): CH EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 60% experimental, 20% designing, 20% analytical
Requirements: no prior knowladge is required
Subject(s): spherical mirrors, polymers processing

Semester

Project

Student:

Nicolas Uffer (MT)

Co-evolution of communication

The evolution of communication is usually only studied among members of the same group. Only very little is known about how the evolutionary dynamics between different species or groups influence the efficiency, composition and development of signals. In this project the student is expected to further develop an existing minimalistic simulation to investigate how co-evolving groups that compete for common resources influence each other in the evolutionary development of their signaling systems. More specifically, systematical investigations should be conducted by varying the parameters that control resource abundance and the way co-evolving species can interact. Interaction can be defined on two levels: The level of competition (e.g. competition for common resources) and the level of inter-specific communication. We expect that the level of communication overlap between species will influence the level of cooperation within and among species. Also, higher competition should lead to a decrease in interspecific cooperation and an increase in intraspecific cooperation. However, both are interdependent especially if there is a communication overlap between the species that may allow eavesdropping. Preliminary studies have suggested that this leads to a tragedy of the commons and low levels of cooperation on both levels. The student is expected to verify and quantify this hypothesis by running systematic simulation experiments and thorough statistical analysis.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): IN MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 80% software
Requirements: prior programming knowledge is an advantage
Subject(s): evolution, social behavior, communication
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

David Mansolino (MT)

Efficient communication in groups of robot

One of the key innovations during the course of evolution of life on earth has been the emergence of efficient communication systems. Conducting experimental evolution on social traits such as communication is unfortunately complicated by the extreme difficulty to assess individual fitness within groups and select individuals accordingly from one generation to the next. Therefore, individual-based models or simulated robots are used to study the link between inter-individual interactions and behavioral effects and to conduct unbiased analysis of the factors driving the evolution of social behavior. The degree of realism provided by such systems greatly exceeds current analytical and game-theoretic models and allows experiments that cannot be readily performed with real organisms. However, it is often unclear how well the evolved behavior in simulation also constitutes an efficient behavior in real embodied systems, such as robots. In this project we will consider communication behaviors that have been previously evolved and studied in physics based simulations. The student is expected to transfer a set of those behaviors onto a group of real EPuck robots. Careful analysis have to be conducted to identify crucial differences between simulation and reality (e.g., which aspects of the real environment and robot influence the effectiveness of different communication strategies). Different sensors and actuators have to be investigated for the potential to realize communication in groups of real robots. The system should be designed that an easy transfer of controllers developed in simulation to the real hardware is possible. It should also allow a quantitative comparison of group performance in both systems. Furthermore, it should be scalable to more than two EPuck robots that can interact autonomously in a common environment.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 10% theorie, 40% software, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): communication, social behavior
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Paul Koch (MT)

Task allocation algorithms for multiple robots

The field of multi-agent systems is concerned with societies of autonomous agents (both artificial and natural) that interact to efficiently achieve their goals. This project focuses on a common problem of task allocation, where multiple robots distribute themselves to different tasks. The student will implement a task allocation algorithm proposed in LIS. The main idea is to use a threshold-like mechanism with a given target distribution of agents to tasks, which the system should display. The student will implement two versions of the algorithm: deterministic and probabilistic, for a real hardware (i.e., e-puck robots). This will require implementing also few simple robotic behaviors (e.g., line following, obstacle avoidance). A working demo is expected at the end of the project. If time permits the algorithm should be extended to handle task precedence constrains.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 10% theorie, 50% software, 40
Requirements: programming skills (C), prior knowledge about e-puck is desirable
Subject(s): task allocation, decentralized algorithms

Master

Project

Student:

Tilman Schneider (MT)

Next generation avionics for miniature UAV

The goal of the project is to develop the next generation of a small UAV’s avionics. We include in avionics the autopilot and its sensors as well as its user interface (which, by nature, sits remotely in the ground station). On the embedded side, the goal is to develop a new autopilot based on modern microcontrollers and sensors, including the low-level software support. On the ground station side, the goal is to develop a novel, map-based interface for the UAV. Embedded development: - Study the suitability of Microchip microcontrollers for the purpose (in particular PIC32). - Design the general architecture of the autopilot based on provided constraints (sensor selection, etc.). - Develop a prototype for testing (using commercial demo-boards and sensor boards when available and/or designing custom PCB for sub-system to be tested). - Implement low-level software interface of the selected sensors and devices (in C). - Design an initial version of the autopilot in the final form factor (if time allows). Ground station development: - Develop a full-featured map widget (in Qt) - Implement a set of widgets (to be used as map overlays) to reflect the state of the autopilot and to interact with it.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 12.09.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 60% embedded system development, 40% ground control software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Gilles Roulet (MT)

Aerodynamical wing surface optimization using hierarchical structures for flying micro robots

The Harvard Microrobotics Laborory has developed a series of biologically inspired flying micro robots. One of the major challenges in the development of these robots is to keep the energy consumption during flight at a minimum. A promising approach is to adapt gliding flight as part of their locomotion strategy. However, to date very little research has addressed gliding flight and its implications on the design of flying micro robots. In the animal kingdom, many gliding insects and mammals have hierarchical structures on their wings. Results from biomechanics research in Biology suggests that these structures can increase the lift to drag ratio of the wings and delay stall at high angles of attack, both which are desirable effects for flying micro robots. This Master Thesis will explore the manufacturing and testing of hierarchical structures on the wings of a micro scale gliding robot. The thesis will include the following work packages: 1) Summary of different wing surface structures found in butterflies, gliding mammals and fish. 2) Exploration of possible fabrication methods to create similar hierarchical structures using state of the art microfabrication tools. 3) Exploration of the effects of wing surface properties and architectures using a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. 4) Fabrication of a chosen set of structures on a given wing and its systematic comparison in the wind tunnel. 5) Characterization and discussion of the aerodynamical boundary layer effects based on the measurements. 6) Reporting and presentation of the results

Type: Master project
Period: 12.02.2011 - 12.09.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Daniel Vogt (MT)

Wing shape optimization for flying micro robots

The Harvard Microrobotics Laborory has developed a series of biologically inspired flying micro robots. One of the major challenges in the development of these robots is to keep the energy consumption during flight at a minimum. A promising approach is to adapt gliding flight as part of their locomotion strategy. However, to date very little research has addressed gliding flight and its implications on the design of flying micro robots. In particular, no research has systematically explored the effects of wing morphology which is needed to perform efficient gliding flight in the Reynolds Number regime between 1000 and 10000. This Master Thesis will provide a first systematic exploration of the gliding performance of different wing shapes for micro robots. As a starting point, the project will focus on wing shapes found in proficient gliders in the animal kingdom and will test systematic variations of their wing shapes. The thesis will include the following work packages: 1) Extraction of wing shape of a first set of gliding butterflies (25 shapes) and variation of the forewing orientation. 2) Implementation of these shapes in a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. 3) Aerodynamical measurements of those shapes in CFD 4) Aerodynamical measurements of the same shapes in our low Re number wind tunnel 5) Validation of the CFD measurements and adaption of the CFD parameters to the wind tunnel experiments 6) Systematic optimization of the wing shape in CFD and validation of the most promising set of wing shapes in the wind tunnel. 7) Reporting and presentation of the results Added work can address the testing of these shapes on a flapping wing test bed in order to explore trade-offs between wing shapes optimized for gliding and flapping flight.

Type: Master project
Period: 12.02.2011 - 12.09.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Adrià Manuel Pérez (EL)

Smart actuators for soft flying robots

At the LIS we are developing soft flying robots which will feature amongst other the ability to actively deform.

The goal of this masterproject is to find, build and integrate a suitable smart actuator for soft flying robots that matches several criterias such as to not impair the modules softness while being lightweight, small sized etc.
The student is expected to conduct a thorough conceptional analysis of novel smart actuators like e.g. electroactive polymers, electroactive paper or pneumatic actuators. Based on this analysis and evaluation one chosen technology will be investigated, designed and tested. Towards the end of the project the actuator will be dimensioned adequately and finally integrated into a soft flying robot. If time allows the new integrated mechanism will be tested in different situations.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 15.07.2011
Section(s): EL
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Artificial muscles, soft robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Daniel Vogt (MT)

Wing shape optimization for flying micro robots

The Harvard Microrobotics Laborory has developed a series of biologically inspired flying micro robots. One of the major challenges in the development of these robots is to keep the energy consumption during flight at a minimum. A promising approach is to adapt gliding flight as part of their locomotion strategy. However, to date very little research has addressed gliding flight and its implications on the design of flying micro robots. In particular, no research has systematically explored the effects of wing morphology which is needed to perform efficient gliding flight in the Reynolds Number regime between 1000 and 10000. This Master Thesis will provide a first systematic exploration of the gliding performance of different wing shapes for micro robots. As a starting point, the project will focus on wing shapes found in proficient gliders in the animal kingdom and will test systematic variations of their wing shapes. The thesis will include the following work packages:

1) Extraction of wing shape of a first set of gliding butterflies (25 shapes) and variation of the forewing orientation.
2) Implementation of these shapes in a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.
3) Aerodynamical measurements of those shapes in CFD
4) Aerodynamical measurements of the same shapes in our low Re number wind tunnel
5) Validation of the CFD measurements and adaption of the CFD parameters to the wind tunnel experiments
6) Systematic optimization of the wing shape in CFD and validation of the most promising set of wing shapes in the wind tunnel.
7) Reporting and presentation of the results Added work can address the testing of these shapes on a flapping wing test bed in order to explore trade-offs between wing shapes optimized for gliding and flapping flight.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 01.07.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Gilles Roulet (MT)

Aerodynamical wing surface optimization using hierarchical structures for flying micro robots

The Harvard Microrobotics Laborory has developed a series of biologically inspired flying micro robots. One of the major challenges in the development of these robots is to keep the energy consumption during flight at a minimum. A promising approach is to adapt gliding flight as part of their locomotion strategy. However, to date very little research has addressed gliding flight and its implications on the design of flying micro robots. In the animal kingdom, many gliding insects and mammals have hierarchical structures on their wings. Results from biomechanics research in Biology suggests that these structures can increase the lift to drag ratio of the wings and delay stall at high angles of attack, both which are desirable effects for flying micro robots. This Master Thesis will explore the manufacturing and testing of hierarchical structures on the wings of a micro scale gliding robot. The thesis will include the following work packages:

1) Summary of different wing surface structures found in butterflies, gliding mammals and fish.
2) Exploration of possible fabrication methods to create similar hierarchical structures using state of the art microfabrication tools.
3) Exploration of the effects of wing surface properties and architectures using a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.
4) Fabrication of a chosen set of structures on a given wing and its systematic comparison in the wind tunnel.
5) Characterization and discussion of the aerodynamical boundary layer effects based on the measurements.
6) Reporting and presentation of the results

Type: Master project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 01.07.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Ryan Ammoury (MT)

Precision control of a flying robot

The Swinglet developed by Sensefly is a fixed-wing flying platform that can autonomously operate in the air. Applications include exploration of remote environment, aerial photography, etc. Many of these tasks require position control for navigation. To achieve this, GPS is used to follow trajectories thanks to a vector-field based algorithm. However, for some applications where a precise position control is required (accuracy under 3 meters along all 3 axes), the current method has shown some limits. The goal of this semester project is to characterize and improve the trajectory control for the Swinglet platform. In a first step, a method to establish a ground-truth (reliable measurement of position) has to be developed for the characterization. Several methods to improve the position control will then be explored, such as improving the trajectory following algorithm, augmenting the GPS with other sensors or improving the model for wind compensation, etc. The final demonstration should show the platform realize a precise position control by flying through a 6-meters-wide arch, which corresponds to the scenario of the IMAV 2011 competition.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 30.06.2011
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% experiments, 30% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): aerial robotics, control&systems

Semester

Project

Student:

Fabian Santi (SV)

Evolution of referential communication

Communication, a ubiquitous behavior in the animal kingdom, can be defined as a process wherein the behavior of one individual influences the future behavior of another individual. Many animals, such as honeybees, rely on referential communication--the transition from private to social information. Private information is acquired via direct interaction of an individual with the environment, as opposed to social information that is acquired through the actions (e.g. waggle dance), body structures (e.g. shapes or colors) or products (e.g. pheromones) of other individuals. Often, referential communication relies on multicomponent signals (i.e., signal comprising more than one informational component). In this project the student is expected to built upon and extend a model of referential communication that has been developed in the LIS lab. In particular, experimental evolution experiments have to be conducted with this model to investigate the following questions: Does evolution converge toward distinct communication strategies? If there is variation in how individuals use referential communication, what are the reason for this variation and what are the consequences with respect to fitness? If referential communication is based on multicomponent signals, how can we distinguish individual components? And how do individual components develop during the evolutionary process? Of particular interest is the transition from private to social information, i.e., how much information is provided by the sender and how much of this information is acquired by the receiver?

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 16.06.2011
Section(s): IN MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: some prior programming knowledge is an advantage
Subject(s): evolution, communication
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Nicolas Beuchat (SV)

Measuring the atomic units of fly olfactory behavior

What are the underlying algorithms of seemingly complex animal behaviors? Answers to this question will greatly advance the development of robotic systems capable of producing complex animal-like behaviors. One means of identifying the structure of an unknown system is to probe it with controlled stimuli. The output or behavior of the system can then serve as a dataset for exploring potential explanatory models.

For this project the student will use state-of-the-art machine vision algorithms and data acquired with automated, custom-built behavioral odor delivery chambers to computationally dissect the actions of freely moving flies in response to odors. Together we will explore this data to explain the behavioral strategies of odor avoidance and attraction as well as the degree of individual differences in behavior or "personalities". These analyses will provide a starting point for developing robotic controllers that mimic real biological olfactory behaviors.

This project will be done in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in collaboration with the Benton Lab (UNIL). Therefore this is an extremely unique project right at the interface between engineering, computer science, & neurobiology.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 10.06.2011
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 50% software 30% research, 20% theory
Requirements: familiarity with Matlab and/or C++
Subject(s): Machine Vision, Animal Behavior, Neuroscience
URL: Click here

2010


Master

Project

Student:

Ryan Ammoury (MT)

Integrating opti-flow-based control on a mini-UAV

Recent progresses in our lab enabled demonstration of fully autonomous low-altitude flight and collision avoidance with a 400-gram flying wing using a set of optic-flow sensors. This project aims at developing an integrated version of the control strategy and vision system that is practical for use on commercial mini-UAVs. To this end, the candidate will carry out a quick comparison of the most recent optic-flow sensors before theoretically comparing the minimal requirements (number and orientation of viewing directions, dynamic range, etc.) to achieve collision avoidance, terrain following and altitude control for precise landing. For each of these cases, several control strategies and integration schemes will be devised and theoretically compared. The most promising ones will then be implemented and systematically tested in flight, which will require some interfacing and programming efforts. Finally, a concept will be devised for integrating the optic-flow sensors into the existing airframe while limiting their impact on mass budget, aerodynamic drag and handling requirements.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 31.03.2012
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 50% hardware, 20% software, 30% tests
Requirements:
Subject(s): Visual system, aerial robotics
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Gabriel Safar (MT)

Design and fabrication of an actuation system for an active deformable spherical soft robot

Modular robots can change morphology to adapt to changing tasks and environments by rearranging the connectivity of their own modules. In contrast to fixed morphology robots, modular robots have the potential to be more flexible, robust and cheap. However, many challenges prevent the full realization of these potentials. Over the last two decades several sophisticated module designs have been proposed, most them featuring hard building blocks with rigid connection mechanism. Although this design guarantees controllability and stability, it minimizes flexibility. One solution to overcome the issue of rigidity in large numbered modular systems is to use modules that could become mechanically soft when desired. Hence, at the LIS we are investigating soft modular robots. When in a soft state controllability of the morphology of the single module as well as of the robot becomes highly challenging. Towards orchestrating the rich number of degrees of freedom of one module, we aim at developing an active deformation mechanism of our spherical modules. The goal of this project is to develop a novel deformation mechanism for spherical soft modules. The main requirements at this mechanism are to be as soft as possible (to keep the flexibility of the modules), to enable high global deformation of the membrane (e.g. deformation from a spherical shape into an ellipsoid), and to be small and lightweight. This project is divided into several workpackages: (i) conceptual design of the deformation mechanism, (ii) review and choice of a "soft" actuator technology, (iii) design and dimensioning of the actuator, (iv) fabrication of the deformation mechanism, (v) testing of the performance of the mechanism when integrated in soft modules.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 13.01.2012
Section(s): CH EL MA ME MT MX PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% hardware
Requirements: Creativity and research attitude
Subject(s): Electronics, Physics, Fabrication

Semester

Project

Student:

Sélim Gawad (MT)

2D Deformation Mechanism for Soft Robots based on SMA

Modular robots can change morphology to adapt to changing tasks and environments by rearranging the connectivity of their own modules. In contrast to fixedmorphology robots, modular robots have the potential to be more flexible, robust and cheap. However, many challenges prevent the full realization of these potentials. Over the last two decades several sophisticated module designs have been proposed, most them featuring hard building blocks with rigid connection mechanism. Although this design guarantees controllability and stability, it minimizes flexibility. One solution to overcome the issue of rigidity in large numbered modular systems is to use modules that could become mechanically soft when desired. Hence, at the LIS we are investigating soft modular robots which will feature amongst other the ability to actively deform. The goal of this semesterproject is to develop a novel deformation mechanism based on Shape Memory Alloy coils. This project focuses in a first phase on the fabrication of SMA coils (i.e. most importantly the design of a winding setup), in a second phase on the conceptual design and the dimensioning of the integration of the SMA's into soft 2D modules. At the end of the project the implemented solution featuring the SMA coils will be tested to assess its performance as deformation mechanism.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 13.01.2012
Section(s): CH EL ME MT MX PH
Type of work: 40% electronics, 40% fabrication, 20% testing
Requirements: Creativity and research attitude
Subject(s): Electronics, Physics, Fabrication

Semester

Project

Student:

Jérôme Waeber (MT)

The role of chance for the evolution of communication

Evolution usually doesn't follow a straight line and the outcome often depends on noise in mutation, selection or environmental conditions. The aim of this project is to investigate the role of chance, that is, contingencies in evolutionary history, on the evolution of communication and social behavior. For this purpose, the student is expected to develop a minimalistic simulation to test the divergent character of evolution and its consequences. More specifically, the student should build upon a previously developed simulation that investigated the evolution of referential communication. In the last project we found that individuals can use two fundamentally different ways of communicating the location of a displaced food location, either via their movement behavior or via direct signaling channels. The student is expected to extend this simulation so that individuals have genes that determine which of the two communication strategies to use. Replicated evolution experiments need to be performed, the information content of signaling strategy have to be quantified as well as their evolutionary trajectory. Eventually, we want to disentangle the effect that stochastic events during evolution have from the fitness benefits of a specific order of beneficial mutations.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): IN MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 80% software
Requirements: some prior programming knowledge is an advantage
Subject(s): evolution social behavior communication
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Chen Xiang (IN)

Measuring multi-robots performance in task allocation

The field of multi-agent systems is concerned with societies of autonomous agents (both artificial and natural) that interact to efficiently achieve their goals. In this work, the student will implement simple behaviors for the e-puck robot allowing it to perform basic sub-tasks (e.g. navigate to base, bring an item, avoid obstacles and other robots). The goal of this project is to measure quantitatively in simulation the performance of a team of robots trying to collaboratively solve a given problem (e.g. search and forage for items) with respect to the number of robots in the team. If time permits, the evaluation of the results with robotic hardware should be performed. In the future, the results of this experiment will allow to devise realistic models of scalability of multi-robot systems.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2011 - 23.12.2011
Section(s): IN MA MT
Type of work: 60% software, 40% experiment
Requirements: C
Subject(s): multi-robots, scalability, behavioral-based programming

Master

Project

Student:

Seifeddine Mejri (MT)

Tactile feedback system for blind people

The first part of the project is to understand how people perceive small amplitude, high frequency vibrations punctually applied to the skin of the head. This knowledge will be used in a second part of the project to design a vibration-based feedback system for blind or visually impaired people. The feedback system should be able to transmit at least two types of information (for e.g., about the distance to an object and its position in an unknown environment), and will later on be integrated with a collision alert device developed in our lab.

In this project student is expected to: design an experimental protocol and perform a set of tests on a group of users, answering the questions: how many motors should be used, what is their optimal placement and how to modulate the vibration signal to provide the feedback in a clear and understandable way. The obtained results should be statistically reliable. Based on the results, a feedback system should be designed, built and tested.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.02.2011 - 30.06.2011
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT SC SV
Type of work: 50% experimental work, 25% theory, 15% software, 10% hardware
Requirements: no prior knowladge required
Subject(s): sensory substitution, vibration perception

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibault Dupont (MT)

Altitude estimation for an indoor flying robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr will be able to resist collisions with obstacles, and to carry out autonomous tasks with a minimal sensor suite.

The goal of this project is to work on the altitude estimation of this robot using only two extremely lightweight passive sensors: a 3-axis accelerometer and a barometric pressure sensor. None of these sensors provide a good enough altitude estimate by themselves. It is expected that a fusion of the two will provide a reliable altitude or vertical speed estimate. The work will consist in implementing such an algorithm in simulation first (using data logs from real flights) and to code it in C on the embedded micro-controller (provided). If time allows, an altitude controller using the sensor data will be implemented.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 30.06.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 25% theory, 25% simulation, 25% programming, 25% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): sensor fusion, microcontroller programming
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Cédric Schwab (MT)

Long-range mini-drone for atmospheric sampling

This project will be carried out in collaboration with the EPFL spin-off senseFly and MeteoSuisse. The goal is to further develop the embedded electronics of an existing mini-drone for atmospheric sampling. Within this semester project, the candidate will mainly focus on enabling long-range, bidirectional communication between the ground control station (GCS) and the remote mini-drone. Solutions (radio modems) to extend the range up to 10-30 km will be analyzed. The most promising module fitting the limited available payload will be selected, interfaced to the existing autopilot, integrated in the mini-drone and fully characterized. Optionally, the candidate will prototype a release mechanism to allow pulling the mini-drone underneath an helium-filled balloon and releasing it at relatively high altitude. Test flights will be conducted with MeteoSuisse in Payerne.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 20.06.2011
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 30% hardware, 40% software, 30% flight testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Joël Rey (MT)

Evolutionary dynamics in mutualistic networks

Mutualism refers to the interactions between different species that have beneficial fitness effects on both partners. This is a widespread phenomena in biology. Examples are the symbiosis between plant roots and fungi, interactions between ants and aphids or cleaner fish and their clients. Measuring the exact fitness benefits in biological individuals is difficult and, thus, explaining the the evolution of mutualistic networks becomes challenging especially when more than one species is involved. The aim of this project is to develop a general, yet rather simple, individual-based model of multi-species mutualism that allows to investigate the co-evolutionary dynamics in mutualistic networks. This model should be implemented in a two dimensional grid-world simulation that allows easy manipulation of resource distribution and possible species interactions via signaling. More specifically, systematical investigations should be conducted by varying the parameters that control resource abundance and the number of co-evolving species. An interface between the simulation and an existing evolutionary algorithm library (ECJ, TEEM, or similiar) has to be implemented to conduct experiments investigating the likelihood of the evolution of mutualistic inter-species relationships and their evolutionary stability.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 16.06.2011
Section(s): IN MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: some prior programming knowledge is an advantage
Subject(s): evolution, mutualism
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Thibaut Watrin (IN)

Co-evolution of communication

The evolution of communication is usually only studied among members of the same group. Only very little is known about how the evolutionary dynamics between different species or groups that influence the efficiency, composition and development of signals. For this purpose, the student is expected to extend a simulation model based on the Epuck robot to investigate how co-evolving groups that compete for common resources influence each other in the evolutionary development their signaling systems. For this project we will consider two groups of robots in a common foraging area. Based on previous experiments that did not involve co-evolution, the student is expected to implement an algorithm that allows to co-evolve two groups of robots that have the ability to communicate via light signals. This algorithm should be designed in a way that simulations can be run in a distributed fashion on a high performance computer cluster. Systematic experiments have to be conducted to identify appropriate selection mechanisms. Further the student is expected to analyze the evolutionary development of signaling in both groups of robots and its relation to fitness development. In particular, we are interested in the influence that signaling behavior in one group has on the signaling behavior of the other group during evolutionary development.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2011 - 16.06.2011
Section(s): IN MT PH SC SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 80% software
Requirements: some prior programming knowledge is an advantage
Subject(s): evolution, social behavior, communication
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Yannick Bergem (MT)

Perspectives d'utilisation d'un mini-drone dans l'agriculture (projet externe à Changins)

Les photos aériennes de cultures et de pâturages sont extrêmement intéressantes à analyser. Elle donne tout d'abord une vision globale des champs. Dans le spectre visible elles permettent d'observer l'homogénéité d'une culture ou l'avancement de la forêt dans un pâturage. Avec des images infrarouges, il est possible de quantifier la densité d'azote dans le sol qui est un facteur déterminant dans la croissance des cultures. Dans la recherche en agriculture ces images peuvent également servir pour étudier différentes parcelles de cultures tests. Il existe actuellement plusieurs outils à disposition pour obtenir des vues aériennes, dont le satellite ou les prises d'avion. Les images satellites dépendent de la couverture nuageuse du site à observer et ont une résolution assez faible. Les photos prises depuis des avions sont moins dépendantes de la météo et ont une bien meilleure résolution. Cependant le vol en avion reste cher. Les drones de par leur légèreté et leur flexibilité d'utilisation offrent un outil particulièrement adapté. Ils permettent de prendre des images hebdomadaires des champs à faible coût. Dans ce projet nous allons explorer les différentes applications possibles que peuvent nous apporter un drone. Une analyse de la précision nécessaire pour les différentes applications serait faite. Nous allons également essayer de reconnaitre de manière automatique les types de cultures à partir des photos.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.09.2010 - 25.04.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Master

Project

Student:

Christian Heimlich (MT)

Embedded control for a crawling robotic insect

We have recently developed a prototype ambulatory microrobot based upon biological principles derived from cockroach locomotion., This device weighs less than one gram and can achieve locomotion speeds greater than four body lengths per second., Current work on the mechanics and design is focused on decreasing the size, optimizing stride motion, and integrating various attachment devices. However, the device is currently tethered for control and power., This project will involve the development and integration of power and control circuitry to bring the robot to full autonomy., There are four primary components of this circuit: 1) high voltage boost conversion: we have existing designs but have not yet integrated them into the body of the robot with small-scale components. 2) simple microcontroller for programmable gait control. 3) power source/circuitry: we have appropriate batteries and the capabilities to physically modify them to desirable form factors. This will need to be determined along with appropriate power conditioning circuitry. 4) interface: we need a way to program the controller to execute a variety of gaits. Time permitting, we may also want to explore one or two simple sensors to incorporate in the body of the robot. All circuit prototypes will be generated in-house, first with bench-top breadboards, then migrating down to custom circuit boards based upon flex circuits (which we can make in-house) and small discrete components or bare die components (whichever is commercially available). Expected final demonstration: embedded circuits to enable autonomous locomotion of a cockroach-scale robot

Type: Master project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 15.04.2011
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): microrobotics, microelectronics
URL: Click here

Master

Project

Student:

Ludovic Daler (MT)

Design, Manufacturing and Implementation of Fiber Adhesives-Based Perching Mechanism for Flying Robots

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr will be able to resist collisions with obstacles, detect the force of impact, attach to surfaces and to autonomously take off again after a collision. These types of interactions bring it closer to the capabilities of insects which are much more aware of their environment than current indoor flying robots.
The goal of this project is to design a fiber adhesives-based attachment mechanism for the AirBurr. This mechanism should be able to attach to different smooth surfaces, support the weight of the AirBurr, and detach for takeoff. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of a suitable attachment mechanism, CAD design and the manufacturing of one or several prototypes. The mechanism will then be integrated into a flying AirBurr platform.

Type: Master project
Period: 19.07.2010 - 30.03.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% mechanical design, 20% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robots, Gripping, Mechanics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Christophe Paccolat (MT)

Optic flow detection using a radial-polar image sensor

We recently demonstrated fully autonomous low-altitude flight control and collision avoidance with a small flying wing in natural environments using a series of 7 computer mouse sensors as optic flow detectors. This semester project aims at replicating this feat using a single imager with a custom-designed arrangement of pixels. The embedded processor that will be used to process the images is a Blackfin microcontroller. The main focus of the project will be on optic flow extraction. The optic flow extraction will be done using a gradient-based method, such as the Lucas-Kanade algorithm. This kind of methods and the different versions of the algorithms will first be studied in the literature. Then, the routines will be implemented in Matlab in order to be characterized and compared using different sequences of images taken in flight, some sequences with impending collisions and other without. The goal will be to study the false positives and false negatives collision detections. If the obtained results and the time permit it, the routines will then be optimized and implemented on the Blackfin microcontroller, for real-time testing and optic flow characterization.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 03.02.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 15% literature review, 70% software development, 15% tests
Requirements: good programming skills
Subject(s): aerial robotics
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Adrian Cabrera (MT)

Automated extraction of fly behavior

What is the structure and connectivity of brain networks that underlie the behavior of even a simple organism like the fly? Answers to this question will have considerable impact on the development of robotic and artificial systems capable of producing complex animal-like behaviors. One means of identifying the structure of an unknown system is to probe it with controlled stimuli. The output or behavior of the system can then serve as a dataset for exploring possible underlying network mechanisms through a reverse engineering of the system.

The focus of this project is to develop the tools necessary to begin this kind of systems analysis in fly olfaction (smell). The student will first design and build fly chambers as well as an automated odor delivery system. Using image analysis software for recording the behavior of individual flies as they respond to computer-controlled odor stimuli, the student will develop quantitative measures of this data in order to shed light on topics including the degree of variability and individuality observed in fly olfactory behavior.

This project will be done in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (EPFL) and in collaboration with the Benton Lab (UNIL). Therefore this unique project is right at the interface between engineering, computer sciences, and neurobiology.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2010 - 03.02.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% hardware/electronics, 30% software
Requirements: Component design and fabrication, Electronics, C++/Matlab
Subject(s): Animal Behavior, Image Analysis

Semester

Project

Student:

Patrick Farnole (MT)

Optimal team composition in division of labor

The field of multi-agent systems is concerned with societies of autonomous agents (both artificial and natural) that interact to efficiently achieve their goals. In this work, the student will evolve in silico teams of agents that are capable of displaying division of labor (i.e. agents specialize in a strict subset of all tasks). The main question is how diverse a team needs to be in order to efficiently divide a labor for a given problem. The goal of this project is to test quantitatively how varying the level of relatedness between the workers affect the speed of the evolution and the final performance of the evolved teams. From engineering perspective, addressing this issue could lead to new scalable optimization techniques suited for systems composed of large number of agents. From biological perspective, this may shed light on processes shaping the colony structure and provide some explanations for the variance of within colony relatedness that has been observed in nature.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2010 - 03.02.2011
Section(s): IN MA MT
Type of work: 25% theory, 50% software, 25% analysis
Requirements:
Subject(s): team optimization, division of labor

Semester

Project

Student:

Sandro Montanari (ME)

Second generation of OptiPilot frontend

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we have developed a very successful control strategy for unmanned aircraft named optiPilot. This control strategy enables low-altitude flight, terrain following, collision avoidance, automatic take-off and landing, etc. It uses a series of divergent optic-flow detectors to sense proximity all around the aircraft longitudinal axis. This project is about designing a new visual system including 12 new-generation motion detectors. This includes choosing the materials, designing the underlying PCB as well as the connecting parts. Some code will then be implemented in order to interface the 12 sensors to the existing autopilot in an optimized way. Finally, the entire visual system will be characterized by means of well-thought experiments.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 03.02.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% hardware, 30% software
Requirements: electronic design, embedded programming
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Michael Dommer (MT)

Electroadhesion for flying robots

At the LIS we are developing flying robots which will feature the ability to attach to surfaces (like e.g. the AirBurr).

The goal of this semesterproject is to investigate a novel clamping technology called "electroadhesion". This adhesion technology is electrically controllable and induces electrostatic charges on a substrate using a power supply connected to compliant pads situated on the robot. Electroadhesion enables high-clamping forces on a wide variety of substrate.

Electrostatic forces occur between the substrate material and electroadhesive pads. These pads are comprised of conductive electrodes that are deposited on the surface of a polymer. When alternate positive and negative charges are induced on adjacent electrodes, the electric fields set up opposite charges on the substrate and thus cause electrostatic adhesion.

This project will involve the fabrication and testing of electroadhesive pads and the design of supply electronics. If time allows the clamping technology will be integrated into a flying robot.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 03.02.2011
Section(s): EL MA ME MT
Type of work: 40% electronics, 40% fabrication, 20% testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Electroadhesion, Electronics, Polymers, Fabrication methods

Semester

Project

Student:

Raphaël Zaugg (MT)

Self calibration of OptiPilot frontend

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we have developed a very successful control strategy for unmanned aircraft named optiPilot. This control strategy enables low-altitude flight, terrain following, collision avoidance, automatic take-off and landing, etc. It uses a series of divergent optic-flow detectors to sense proximity all around the aircraft longitudinal axis. This project entails the setup of a visualization and data-recording software for a new OptiPilot frontend comprising 12 motion sensors. In a second step, the new generation motion chips should be systematically characterized and compared with the last generation sensors. Finally, a viewing-direction calibration routine should be implemented to allow self-calibration of the system based on gyroscopic data.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2010 - 31.01.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Loic Zimmermann (MT)

Flight control for image acquisition

The swinglet CAM is a micro-UAV weighing 500 grams and carrying a high-resolution camera that is fixed with respect to the airframe. Many applications, such as aerial photography for architecture or real-estate or inspection of non-horizontal surfaces, require images taken from a specific location and non-vertical orientation. The goal of the project is to implement strategies to that allow the acquisition of arbitrary oblique images with the swinglet CAM. The project includes: 1) characterisation of the swinglet CAM’s dynamics and IMU performance; 2) characterisation of the image acquisition timing; 3) (if needed) design and implementation of a shutter timing readout; 4) implementation of one (or more) strategy for arbitrary oblique image acquisition; 5) characterisation of the strategy.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2010 - 31.01.2011
Section(s): MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerial Robotics

Semester

Project

Student:

Florentin Marty (MT)

Sensor-laden roll cage for an indoor flying robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr will be able to resist collisions with obstacles, detect the force of impact, attach to surfaces and to autonomously take off again after a collision. These types of interactions bring it closer to the capabilities of insects which are much more aware of their environment than current indoor flying robots.

The goal of this project is to re-design the current protection cage of the AirBurr to increase its robustness to collisions and ease of construction, as well as to integrate sensors directly into this cage. Such a cage should be able to not only survive a collision with an obstacle, but to be able to detect this obstacle, its position, texture and force of contact. The project will involve an analysis of impact forces, selection and characterization of materials, CAD design of cage joints and the construction of one or several prototype roll cages. This project will focus on mechanical design, but will also include sensor selection and, if time allows, signal processing of integrated sensors.

Type: Semester project
Period: 13.09.2010 - 31.01.2011
Section(s): EL ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% materials, 50% mechanics
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft Materials, Mechanics, Flying Robots

Semester

Project

Student:

Steven Roelofsen (MT)

Gripping-based attachment mechanism for an indoor flying robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr will be able to resist collisions with obstacles, detect the force of impact, attach to surfaces and to autonomously take off again after a collision. These types of interactions bring it closer to the capabilities of insects which are much more aware of their environment than current indoor flying robots.

The goal of this project is to design a gripping, spike-based attachment mechanism for the AirBurr. This mechanism should be able to attach to different rough surfaces, support the weight of the AirBurr, and detach for takeoff. This project will involve the design and dimensioning of a suitable attachment mechanism, CAD design and the manufacturing of one or several prototypes. If time allows the mechanism will be integrated into a flying AirBurr platform.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.08.2010 - 31.01.2011
Section(s): EL MA ME MT
Type of work: 50% mechanics, 20% design, 30% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying Robots, Gripping, Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Tinasoa L. Ramahaly (MT)

User-friendly GUI for mini-drones

At LIS, we developed a micro-UAV designed to be easy-to-operate and used by untrained users. The ground control station (GCS) software currently used to monitor and control the swinglet is a flexible monitoring software for research and development in robotics. While it served this purpose well, its very generic flexibility has become an obstacle to create a GCS software offering an experience as user-friendly as our micro-UAV’s hardware. The goal of the project is to redesign a GUI specifically designed for this micro-UAV, based on the existing communication architecture. The GUI should also be usable with touch-screen-based mobile devices. The project includes: - state of the art of the existing GCS software and analysis of the functionality of the micro-UAV - design of a GUI following suitable Human-Machine Interface principles and based on a sane implementation architecture - implementation of a prototype GUI with basic functionalites and architectural foundations suitable for future completion/expansion

Type: Semester project
Period: 29.09.2010 - 31.01.2011
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work:
Requirements:
Subject(s): Flying robots

Master

Project

Student:

Kevin Jamolli (MT)

Contact sensing on a flying robot

At the LIS we are developing a novel flying platform called the AirBurr which has the ability to not only fly indoors, but to physically interact with its environment. The AirBurr will be able to resist collisions with obstacles, detect the type and force of impact, and navigate in the environment by using these interactions.
The goal of this project is to work on the contact sensing ability of the robot. Several solutions can be explored to sense contact or interaction forces through distributed sensors (for example short-range distance sensors, force sensors, ...). A solution appropriate for the AirBurr platform requirements (crash-resistant, lightweight, ease of integration in the current structure) will have to be selected and implemented in hardware. The sensors will be interfaced by a micro-controller (provided) programmed in C, and if time allows, some signal processing and even simple behaviors using the sensor data will be implemented.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 21.01.2011
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% hardware, 20% sofware
Requirements:
Subject(s): force sensing, flying robots, signal processing
URL: Click here

Semester

Project

Student:

Laurent Blanchet (MT)

Passive connection mechanism for soft self-reconfigurable robots

At the LIS we are investigating soft self-reconfigurable flying robots., On the one hand, self-reconfigurable robots offer many potential advantages with respect to traditional robots thanks to their ability to adapt their morphology to a given task or environment. Self-reconfigurable robots are expected to show significant abilities like e.g. adaptability, fault tolerance, flexibility, versatility, low cost. On the other hand, soft flying robots benefit from several advantages compared their rigid counterparts in indoor environments. Using their softness the modules can conform to obstacles and therefore adapt to the environment requiring less sensorial and controlling computation without causing damage. Furthermore, soft flying robots can squeeze through openings smaller than their nominal size and are dexterous to reach confined spaces, thus have a more enhanced field of operation. A major challenge that has to be tackled is to enable modules to attach and detach when desired. The goal of this semester project is to explore different passive connection technologies (materials, substrates) for soft modules. The work will include a review on existing technologies (like e.g. surface tension, magnets) and materials, and subsequently the implementation and testing of the best suited solutions.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 13.01.2011
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 30%+theory +40%+hardware +30%+testing
Requirements:
Subject(s): Mechanics

Semester

Project

Student:

Martin Liniger (MT)

Alternative propulsion methods for soft flying robots

At the LIS we are investigating soft self-reconfigurable flying robots., On the one hand, self-reconfigurable robots offer many potential advantages with respect to traditional robots thanks to their ability to adapt their morphology to a given task or environment. Self-reconfigurable robots are expected to show significant abilities like e.g. adaptability, fault tolerance, flexibility, versatility, low cost. On the other hand, soft flying robots benefit from several advantages compared their rigid counterparts in indoor environments. Using their softness the modules can conform to obstacles and therefore adapt to the environment requiring less sensorial and controlling computation without causing damage. Furthermore, soft flying robots can squeeze through openings smaller than their nominal size and are dexterous to reach confined spaces, thus have a more enhanced field of operation.

However, the actuation of a soft flying robot remains a major challenge. The goal of this semester project is to explore the use of an alternative propulsion method for soft flying robots in the context of self-reconfigurable robots. Taking inspiration from nature, the idea is to exploit Brownian motion (or ambient motion) in the environment to actuate modules. This alleviates the need for actuators for locomotion of the individual module and thus greatly simplifies module design. Accordingly, a conceptual analysis of different actuation (and control) principles to propulse a soft flying module using environmental forces will be realised. Then the work will include the design and implementation of a prototype for the validation of the method.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.09.2010 - 10.01.2011
Section(s): EL MA ME MT
Type of work: