LCSR Seminar: Ryan Sochol “Games without Frontiers: Beating Super Mario Bros. 1-1 with a 3D printed Soft Robotic Hand” @ Hackerman B17
Apr 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Link for Live Seminar

Link for Recorded seminars – 2022/2023 school year


Games Without Frontiers: Beating Super Mario Bros. 1-1 with a 3D-Printed Soft Robotic Hand”

 Ryan D. Sochol, Ph.D.


Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Affiliate Faculty, Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Executive Committee Member, Maryland Robotics Center
Fischell Institute Fellow, Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices
Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Systems Research
James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland, College Park



Over the past decade, the field of “soft robotics” has established itself as uniquely suited for applications that would be difficult or impossible to realize using traditional, rigid-bodied robots.  The reliance on compliant materials that are often actuated by fluidic (e.g., hydraulic or pneumatic) means presents a number of inherent benefits for soft robots, particularly in terms of safety for human-robot interactions and adaptability for manipulating complex and/or delicate objects.  Unfortunately, progress has been impeded by broad challenges associated with controlling the underlying fluidics of such systems.  In this seminar, Prof. Ryan D. Sochol will discuss how his Bioinspired Advanced Manufacturing (BAM) Laboratory is leveraging the capabilities of two alternative types of additive manufacturing (or “three-dimensional (3D) printing”) technologies to address these critical barriers.  Specifically, Prof. Sochol will describe his lab’s recent strategies for using the 3D nanoprinting approach, “Two-Photon Direct Laser Writing”, and the inkjet 3D printing technique, “PolyJet 3D Printing”, to engineer soft robotic systems that comprise integrated fluidic circuitry… including a soft robotic “hand” that plays Nintendo.



Prof. Ryan D. Sochol is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering within the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Prof. Sochol received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2006, and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009 and 2011, respectively, with Doctoral Minors in Bioengineering and Public Health.  Prior to joining the faculty at UMD, Prof. Sochol served two primary academic roles: (i) as an NIH Postdoctoral Trainee within the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and (ii) as the Director of the Micro Mechanical Methods for Biology (M3B) Laboratory Program within the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center at UC Berkeley.  Prof. Sochol also served as a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tokyo.  In 2019, Prof. Sochol was elected Co-President of the Mid-Atlantic Micro/Nano Alliance.  His group received IEEE MEMS Outstanding Student Paper Awards in both 2019 and 2021 and the Springer Nature Best Paper Award (Runner-Up) in 2022.   Prof. Sochol received the NSF CAREER Award in 2020 and the Early Career Award from the IOP Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering in 2021, and was recently honored as an inaugural Rising Star by the journal, Advanced Materials Technologies, in 2023.


LCSR Seminar: Careers in Robotics: A Panel Discussion With Experts From Industry and Academia @ Hackerman B17
Apr 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Link for Live Seminar

Link for Recorded seminars – 2022/2023 school year


Ayushi Sinha Ph.D.

Job title and affiliation: Senior Scientist, Philips

JHU degrees and year(s) of degree(s): Ph.D. Computer Science 2018, MSE Computer Science 2014

Short bio: Ayushi Sinha is a Senior Scientist at Philips working on image guided therapy systems including C-arm X-ray imaging systems. Ayushi received a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Mathematics from Providence College, RI, and a MSE and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, MD. She remained at Hopkins as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow followed by a Research Scientist before joining Philips in late 2019. Her primary research interest is in image analysis to enable automation of medical imaging systems and integration of multiple systems.



Can Kocabalkanli M.S.E.

Job title and affiliation: Computer Vision Research Scientist at PediaMetrix

JHU degrees and year(s) of degree(s): BS Mechanical Engineering 2019, MSE Robotics 2020

Short bio: Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Can came to JHU for his undergraduate degree and early on explored an interest in robotics through coursework and the robotics minor. He completed his master’s research and thesis under Prof. Taylor in 2020 on an autonomous endoscope safety system. Since graduation, Can has been working as a Computer Vision Research Scientist at PediaMetrix, a medical imaging startup focused on infant healthcare. There he has worked on developing, deploying, and validating image processing and vision algorithms, machine and deep learning models, as well as acquiring 510(k) clearance. Since September 2022, he has taken a leadership role in their R&D department. Can is interested in making healthcare more robust and accessible through innovation and technology and is the co-inventor of 2 US patents.



Michael Kutzer Ph.D.

Job title and affiliation: Associate Professor, United States Naval Academy Department of Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering/Instructor, JHU-EP Mechanical Engineering Program

JHU degrees and year(s) of degree(s): M.S.E. Mechanical Engineering 2007, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering 2012

Short bio: Mike Kutzer received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA in 2012. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering Department (WRCE) at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). Prior to joining USNA, he worked as a senior researcher in the Research and Exploratory Development Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). His research interests include robotic manipulation, computer vision and motion capture, applications of and extensions to additive manufacturing, mechanism design and characterization, continuum manipulators, redundant mechanisms, and modular systems.




LCSR Seminar: Welcome Townhall “Review of LCSR” @ Hackerman B17
Aug 30 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
LCSR Seminar: Juan P. Wachs “Gore Robots: From Blood and Guts to Bits and Bytes” @ Hackerman B17
Sep 6 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Dr. Juan Wachs is a Professor and Faculty Scholar in the Industrial Engineering School at Purdue University, Professor of Biomedical Engineering (by courtesy) and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery at IU School of Medicine. He is currently serving at NSF as a Program Director for robotics and AI programs at CISE. He is also the director of the Intelligent Systems and Assistive Technologies (ISAT) Lab at Purdue, and he is affiliated with the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. He completed postdoctoral training at the Naval Postgraduate School’s MOVES Institute under a National Research Council Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences. Dr. Wachs received his B.Ed.Tech in Electrical Education in ORT Academic College, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem campus. His M.Sc and Ph.D in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He is the recipient of the 2013 Air Force Young Investigator Award, and the 2015 Helmsley Senior Scientist Fellow, and 2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar, the James A. and Sharon M. Tompkins Rising Star Associate Professor, 2017, and an ACM Distinguished Speaker 2018. He is also the Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions in Human-Machine Systems, Frontiers in Robotics and AI.


Click here for the recording of Dr. Wach’s Seminar.

LCSR Welcome (Back) Ice Cream Social @ Taharka Brothers Ice Cream truck
Sep 8 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
GSA Monday Bagels @ Hackerman 136/137
Sep 11 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am


Dearest LCSR Community!




Please join us this coming Monday 09/11 at 10.30 am at the students’ office space in Hackerman 136/137 for some fresh morning bagels!! We will provide various cream cheese spreads, and there will be a coffee machine, water boiler and K-cups for you to enjoy as well (bring your own mugs though).


Looking forward to seeing you all there!



Lydia & Benjamin


The LCSR Graduate Student Association (LCSR-GSA)

Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics

Johns Hopkins University

Sep 13 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Mark S. Savage is Associate Director, Life Design Lab & Life Design Educator for Engineering master’s Students at Johns Hopkins University.

Click here for a link to Mark’s presentation.

LCSR Seminar: Heather Culbertson “Using Data for Increased Realism with Haptic Modeling and Devices” @ Hackerman B17
Sep 20 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract: The haptic (touch) sensations felt when interacting with the physical world create a rich and varied impression of objects and their environment. Humans can discover a significant amount of information through touch with their environment, allowing them to assess object properties and qualities, dexterously handle objects, and communicate social cues and emotions. Humans are spending significantly more time in the digital world, however, and are increasingly interacting with people and objects through a digital medium. Unfortunately, digital interactions remain unsatisfying and limited, representing the human as having only two sensory inputs: visual and auditory.


This talk will focus on methods for building haptic and multimodal models that can be used to create realistic virtual interactions in mobile applications and in VR. I will discuss data-driven modeling methods that involve recording force, vibration, and sounds data from direct interactions with the physical objects. I will compare this to new methods using machine learning to generate and tune haptic models using human preferences.

Bio: Heather Culbertson is a Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the design and control of haptic devices and rendering systems, human-robot interaction, and virtual reality. Particularly she is interested in creating haptic interactions that are natural and realistically mimic the touch sensations experienced during interactions with the physical world. Previously, she was a research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She received her PhD in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently serving as Publications Chair for IEEE Haptics Symposium. Her awards include the NSF CAREER Award, IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics Early Career Award, and the Okawa Research Foundation Award.


Click here to watch a video recording of this presentation.

LCSR Seminar: IROS paper presentations @ Hackerman B17
Sep 27 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

IROS practice talks by the students followed by 5-minute Q&A session after each paper.

  • Hisashi Ishida
  • Juan Barragan
  • Michael Kam
  • Jiawei Liu
  • Jim Wang.
LCSR Seminar: Aleksandra Popovic “My Journey in Medical Devices and Robotics” @ Hackerman B17
Oct 4 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


The success in medical device development depends on alignment between needs of patients, providers, and hospitals.  In this talk I will cover 20 years of my journey in defining clinical needs, business objectives, and developing products in the space medical devices and robotics. I will discuss products across image guidance, navigation, ultrasound, and robotics technologies, starting with products in electrophysiology mapping and lung interventions, covering breakthroughs in quantitative imaging for ultrasound and AI-based ultrasound exams. We will talk about projects that worked and those that failed addressing key issues in the development cycle. In the final section, I will cover surgical and interventional robotic developments and Johnson & Johnson.



As VP of Robotic Strategy at Johnson and Johnson MedTech, Aleksandra is leading Johnson & Johnson efforts in defining the future of surgical robotics. Johnson & Johnson MedTech is present in almost every operating room in the world with more than 75 million procedures each year. Aleksandra has over 20 years of experience in medical device and robotics. Starting her career in Germany, at RWTH Aachen University, Helmholtz Institute and University Hospital, Aleksandra obtained PhD (Dr. Ing.) with specialization in surgical robotics. After graduate school, Aleksandra spend 15 years at Philips in New York and Boston, starting as a scientist developing products across different clinical areas (e.g., electrophysiology, vascular interventional, lung interventions, cardiology) with technical focus on image guidance, navigation, and robotics. In the later years, she became innovation lead for Ultrasound and subsequently Image Guided Therapy at Philips. Today, she heads strategy for leading surgical robotics company Johnson & Johnson. Aleksandra grew up in former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia). She obtained her master’s degree (Dipl.-Ing.) in Electrical Engineering from Belgrade University in Serbia and PhD in Engineering from RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Strong believer in formal education, Aleksandra also has executive degree from MIT Sloan School of Management and certificate in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics