Human-Robot teams for physically demanding tasks

Joao Luiz Almeida de Souza Ramos, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mar 2, 2022

The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that robots still cannot realize tasks that involve forceful and rich physical contact that human workers perform daily, such as when nurses support weakened patients to get out of bed. To address this challenge, my research at the RoboDesign Lab combines the control intelligence of humans with the endurance of machines to realize physically demanding activities. There are three key ingredients required to create capable human-robot teams: (i) push the boundaries of the robot’s hardware via controls-aware design, (ii) create intuitive human-machine interfaces that leverage the complementary skills of the operator and the robot, and (iii) derive shared-control approaches to maximize team performance via mutual human-robot adaptation. In this talk, I will cover several ongoing research directions in the lab that address these topics, such as the development of whole-body Human-Machine Interface for bilateral teleoperation of mobile robots, a wheeled humanoid robot for dynamic mobile manipulation, actuation design for dynamic humanoid robots, and assistive devices for individuals with mobility impairment.

Speaker Bio

Joao Ramos is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the director of the RoboDesign Lab. He previously worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory at MIT before joining UIUC in 2019. He received a PhD from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2018. He is the recipient of the 2021 NSF CARRER Award. His research focuses on the design and control of dynamic robotic systems, in addition to human-machine interfaces, legged locomotion dynamics, and actuation systems.


Conor Walsh


Jennifer Vasquez