Improving the capabilities of robots in medicine requires innovation in both robot design and computational methods. In this talk, I will discuss recent research from my lab on both topics. I will present new continuum robot designs at both meso- and micro-scales intended for procedures in delicate tissues such as the brain and lungs. I will also present data-driven and model-driven algorithmic methods we have developed to model, control, and plan motions for continuum, deformable robots and deformable tissue in the human body.
Alan Kuntz is an assistant professor in the Robotics Center and the Kahlert School of Computing at the University of Utah. He leads a highly interdisciplinary research lab consisting of computer scientists, mechanical engineers, electrical and computer engineers, and applied mathematicians. His research focuses on the design of automation and machine learning methods for robots and on the mechanical design and control of novel robotic systems with healthcare applications.
Prior to joining the University of Utah, he was a postdoctoral research scholar at Vanderbilt University in the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of New Mexico and an MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Soft and continuum robots have immense potential to assist humans with tasks that require navigation and manipulation in unstructured environments. In this talk, I present my group’s research on the design, modeling, and control of a variety of soft and continuum robots. I begin by discussing soft vine-inspired robots, which move through their environment by extending from their tip and are well suited for navigation and manipulation within confined spaces. In particular, I discuss our research on vine robot field deployment, shape sensing, force sensing, and collapse modeling. I then present our research on two other bioinspired robots: spider monkey tail-inspired robots for grasping objects, and amoeba-inspired robots for navigation in confined spaces. Finally, I discuss our research on soft wearable robots for replacing or assisting the motion of the upper limbs. This research helps make robots more capable of assisting humans in the unstructured environments of everyday life.
Margaret Coad joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2021, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. She leads the Innovative Robotics and Interactive Systems (IRIS) Lab, which explores the design, modeling, and control of innovative robotic systems to improve human health, safety, and productivity; she also teaches courses in robotics and soft robotics. Prior to joining Notre Dame, she completed her Ph.D. degree in 2021 and M.S. degree in 2017 in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University under the direction of Professor Allison Okamura, and her B.S. degree in 2015 in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. She won the Robotics and Automation Magazine Best Paper Award for 2020 for her work on vine robots, and she has been a finalist for several Best Paper Awards at international robotics conferences. Outside of academics, she plays ultimate frisbee and sings in choir.
This seminar will provide PhD students and postdocs with some information on how to navigate the academic job market. The seminar will touch on 1) benefits and possible challenges of the academic career path, 2) the many aspects of the academic job search (such as timing, required documents, interview schedule, …), and 3) the essential tasks junior faculty (and people aspiring to be) must master quickly.