News

Jun Seo and Matt Turpin are winners of the ICRA 2014 Best Automation Paper Award
June 06, 2014
Jun Seo and Matt Turpin are winners of the ICRA 2014 Best Automation Paper Award with members of the Modlab for their paper “Self-Assembly of a Swarm of Autonomous Boats into Floating Structures.”
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Kodlab robot technology wins the second Y-Prize Competition, organized by the Kumar lab with the Mack Institute.
April 24, 2014
At the Finale on Monday, April 20th, student teams pitched groundbreaking ideas that utilize GRASP Lab technology. The pitches included agriculture robots that save crops from freezing, flying quadrotors that revolutionize the film and spots industry and a walking robot that teaches students about STEM. The Y-Prize competition, co-founded by Vijay Kumar, challenges students to develop novel applications for GRASP Lab robotics technology. More information about the competition and the winning team is available on the Y-Prize website: www.yprize.upenn.edu.
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The 2014 FIRST LEGO League Championship held at the University of Pennsylvania was organized and supported by numerous members of the Kumar Lab.
February 12, 2014
Kumar Lab members…Ben Charrow, Philip Dames, Rebecca Hayward, Jim Keller, Monroe Kennedy, Yash Mulgaonkar, Sarah Tang, Mike Watterson and Mickey Whitzer…served as key volunteers and judges at the 2014 Southeastern Pennsylvania FIRST LEGO League Championship that was held at the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, February 1st. This event was comprised of over 40 middle school robotics teams, totaling about 400 children, from the greater Philadelphia area that participated in the day long event.
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Vijay Kumar on WHYY Radio Times: Robotic roundup
January 16, 2014
Guests: Daniel Lee, Katherine Kuchenbecker, Vijay Kumar Robots can run, walk, climb, drive and fly.  They work in factories, in farm fields, in surgical operating rooms, and in our living rooms vacuuming the floors.  They patrol drug tunnels along the border, battle wildfires from the air, and fight enemy combatants abroad. Robots have been advancing quickly — so today we check on just how far they’ve come and what the future might look like.  Marty sits down with three leading roboticists from the University of Pennsylvania:  DANIEL LEE, a Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Director of the GRASP Lab, KATHERINE KUCHENBECKER, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and VIJAY KUMAR, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White house Office of Science and Technology Policy.
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Mihail Pivtaraiko, Dinesh Thakur, and Mike Watterson part of the winning TROOPER team qualify in the DARPA Robotics Challenge
December 22, 2013
Sixteen teams from around the world came together at Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway, December 20-21, 2013 to participate in DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Trials. The Trials provide an important baseline on the current state of robotics today and their potential for future use in disaster response.
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Get a glimpse into the snaking, hovering and pedaling of robots past (video)
December 13, 2013
The director of that awesome James Bond quadrotor video from last year has unearthered some fascinating footage from University of Pennsylvania professors, detailing robotic breakthroughs that lead to the creation of the acrobatic RHex, self-assembling modular CKbot and the aforementioned flying marvel. According to the director, the short video was compiled using largely unseen footage that dates back to the early 80s. Well worth four and half minutes of your time.
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Elizabeth Beattie’s team wins the Dyson Award: Titan Arm: Bionic bicep …
October 25, 2013
(CNN) – In the past, if you wanted to be able to be able to lift more weight you would have to spend months bulking up at the gym. Now, with a new invention from a group of engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania, you can just strap on an external bicep and you are ready to go. - PDF
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BTA Panel: The Rise of Autonomous Vehicles
October 22, 2013
The autonomous car (and plane, and swarm of flying robots) is coming. That much is clear. But what might be less clear to onlookers watching the rise of the unmanned vehicle is that there are very different types of autonomy in machines, according to three PopMech Breakthrough Award winners. This afternoon at PM’s home in the Hearst Tower, our Senior News Editor Joe Pappalardo sat down with Joseph Chody, chief engineer for the X-47B unmanned combat air system; John Capp, director of global active safety electronics and innovation at General Motors; and Vijay Kumar, a University of Pennsylvania mechanical engineer who designs fleets of autonomous quadrotors that work together…
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Daniel Mellinger, Alex Kushleyev, Nathan Michael, Shaojie Frank Shen, Matt Turpin and Vijay Kumar win 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award
October 22, 2013
Swarm Micro-UAVs: Vijay Kumar, Shaojie Shen, Matthew Turpin (University of Pennsylvania); Nathan Michael (Carnegie Mellon University); Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev (KMel Robotics) - PDF
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10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013
October 22, 2013
These brilliant engineers, designers, and dreamers captured our imagination by creating swarms of smart rescue robots, cars that drive themselves, and a rugged rover that could change the way we think about exploring the Red Planet. They are PopMech’s 2013 Breakthrough Award winners. (See also the 10 Breakthrough Products of 2013.) - PDF
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GRASP Faculty on the South by Southwest Interactive 2014 Panels…Katherine Kuchenbecker and Vijay Kumar
October 15, 2013
An Abundance of Creativity: 500+ Confirmed Sessions for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival Today, we announce the bulk of confirmed sessions for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival. Almost all of these sessions come from proposals submitted by the online community via the SXSW PanelPicker. The selection process for these proposals mixes voting from the general online public, plus Advisory Board input as well as SXSW staff input.
The breadth and width of these 500+ sessions reflects the marketplace of amazing ideas that comes together in Austin each March. Specific trends and themes that will be particularly important for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival include “Privacy and Security,” “Global Impact and Policy,” “Design and Development,” “Art, Science and Inspiration” and “Intelligent Future.” As in previous years, we continue to see lots of very strong interest in Startup Village programming so look for even more international participation in this space in March 2014…Read More…
Dr. Katherine Kuchenbecker will be a panelist on “When AR Meets the OR: Robotics & Augmented Reality in Surgery” under Health and Business. Dr. Vijay Kumar will be a panelist on “Welcoming the Robot Workforce” under Intelligent Future.
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Penn Engineering’s GRASP Lab, Wharton’s Mack Institute Take Y-Prize Global
September 30, 2013
Last year, the GRASP lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Wharton School’s Mack Institute helped take cutting-edge robots out of the lab and into the marketplace through the Y-Prize Competition. Now, they have now joined forces with crowdsourcing platform Marblar and intellectual property commercialization company IP Group to take the Y-Prize worldwide. - PDF
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Nora Ayanian joins USC as an assistant professor.
September 01, 2013
Nora Ayanian joins USC as an assistant professor.
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We The Geeks: “Robots” On The Whitehouse.gov
August 09, 2013
Join us on Friday, August 9th, at 2:00 pm EDT for a “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout on “Robots” – where pioneering scientists will discuss how robots can help transform everything from school classrooms to the factory floor and operating rooms to the way we explore the Solar System. You’ll meet American inventors giving robots incredible new capabilities in manufacturing and medicine. You’ll also hear how the Obama Administration’s National Robotics Initiative is accelerating innovations that will expand the horizons of human capacity and potentially add over $100 billion to the American economy in the next decade. - PDF
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Koushil Sreenath joins CMU as an assistant professor.
August 01, 2013
Koushil Sreenath joins CMU as an assistant professor.
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IDSA International Conference Preview: Dr. Vijay Kumar on Tiny Flying Robots and Whether or Not They’re Taking Over the World – Core77
August 01, 2013
The IDSA International Conference is just under three weeks away, and if you have yet to make plans to be in Chicago from August 21–24, we strongly suggest you do so ASAP. As always, the lineup of speakers is pretty stacked, and while we’ve crossed paths with many of this year’s speakers over the years, the IDSA keeps it fresh with the likes of, say, Paralympian Blake Leeper. Similarly, we were interesed to see Dr. Vijay Kumar‘s name among the presenters. I’d been curious about his work ever since the first video on “A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors” hit the web over a year and a half ago - PDF
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Koushil Sreenath and Vijay Kumar win the RSS best paper award
June 26, 2013
The 2013 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference will bring together researchers working on algorithmic or mathematical foundations of robotics, robotics applications, and analysis of robotic systems. High quality, original papers are solicited in all areas of robotics. The final program will be the result of a thorough review process designed to include the best work of its kind in every category. The conference will be single track to allow attendees an opportunity to experience the best research in all areas of robotics. The program will include invited talks as well as oral and poster presentations of refereed papers. - PDF
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Drones in science: Fly, and bring me data
June 12, 2013
Teams working on UAVs tend to keep abreast of each other’s work through videos posted online. The field’s biggest YouTube ‘star’ is Vijay Kumar at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Kumar’s group controls quadrotor helicopters indoors with a modified Vicon system — the motion-capture system used in Hollywood and by the video-game industry. His videos show drones flying in tight formation, transporting two-by-fours, and even — in one video with more than 3 million views — performing the James Bond theme on multiple instruments. “The Internet has changed the rules,” says Shim. And, Siegwart says, “It also spreads the information a little further, which helps attract good students.”
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Tiny flying robots! Meet the quadrotor
May 01, 2013
(CNN) – It’s a mesmerizing, surreal scene. Eight tiny, unmanned aerial vehicles — called quadrotors — begin to rise from the ground in unison. They hover at eye level, filling the room with a heavy buzzing sound. Then they move through a makeshift window, one at a time, and reform as a group on the other side. - PDF
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Cheap drones could save your life
April 10, 2013
Cheap and off-the-shelf technology make up the key ingredients in some of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, under development at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab. Researchers at the “GRASP” lab are trying to develop inexpensive drone technology that could rescue people from life-threatening situations. - PDF
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Elizabeth Beattie, Monroe Kennedy, and Mickey Whitzer win NSF fellowships.
March 29, 2013
Elizabeth Beattie, Monroe Kennedy, and Mickey Whitzer win NSF fellowships.
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Nova Making Stuff Happen (Video)
January 14, 2013
Making Stuff Wilder – premieres 7.50pm, Tuesday 14 January on PBS America (Sky 243 & Virgin Media 243)
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Nova Rise of the Drones
October 24, 2012
Drones. These unmanned flying robots–some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds–do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center. From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other. And it’s just the beginning. Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history as NOVA gets ready for “Rise of the Drones.”
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Smartest People in Philadelphia
October 24, 2012
Just when you thought Apple had cornered the market on cool gadgets, along comes Kumar, the 50-year-old Penn prof who has invented tiny (as small as eight inches!) robots that can outmaneuver human-controlled drones, and even create 3-D maps of what they survey. - PDF
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Inside The Swarming Quadrotor Lab Of KMel Robotics
October 11, 2012
Every summer, the most creative minds in advertising and communications gather in the French resort town of Cannes, on the Cote d’Azur, to celebrate their own brilliance at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. These are the forward-thinkers, the industry’s most prominent problem-solvers, the crisply styled “creative types” who spotted the next big thing was before it was the next big thing, and then made it so. - PDF
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Here’s Looking At You
May 14, 2012
THE WORLD OF SURVEILLANCE about drones. The prospect of unmanned flight has been around—depending on your definition—since Archytas of Tarentum reputedly designed a steam-powered mechanical pigeon, in the fourth century B.C., or since Nikola Tesla, in 1898, demonstrated a radio-controlled motorboat at an exposition in Madison Square Garden. By the sixties the Air Force was deploying unmanned reconnaissance jets over Southeast Asia. - PDF
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Printable Robots: MIT Project Wants to Let You Design and Fabricate Your Own Machines
April 03, 2012
Who knew that origami could be the future of robotics? Today, if you want to design and build your own robot, you have to order components, write software, and then assemble and test your creation. Of course, the more sophisticated your robot gets, the more time and money you have to spend on it. - PDF
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No, Mr. Bond. I Expect You to Fly…
March 09, 2012
The University of Pennsylvania’s Vijay Kumar brought down the house at this year’s TED conference when he showed a video of his lab’s flying robots performing the James Bond theme. But that’s just a fraction of what they can do. - PDF
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Invasion of the flying robots
March 04, 2012
Long Beach, California (CNN) – It was after the robotic hummingbird flew around the auditorium — and after a speaker talked about the hypersonic plane that could fly from New York to the West Coast in 11 minutes — that things got really edgy. - PDF
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MRSL (GRASP Lab) showcased on the Discovery Channel
October 20, 2011
MRSL (GRASP Lab) showcased on the Discovery Channel
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Discovery Channel
February 24, 2011
Discovery Channel - Daily Planet – February 24, 2011
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Flying Robot Drones
January 25, 2011
Flying robots build dorm room shelves – The Colbert Report (watch 3 mins out)
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