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2010-2011 CSE Lecture Series


Title: Toward Autonomous Robotic Fish Schools: Challenges and Potential Solutions

Dr. Xiaobo Tan, Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering, MSU

Date:   April 22, 2011
Time:  10:20 am
Room: 1279 Anthony Hall

Inspired by the remarkable feats in biological swimming, there is an increasing interest in developing underwater robots that propel and maneuver themselves like what real fish do. Such robots, often known as robotic fish, can potentially provide an engineering tool for understanding fish swimming. Equipped with communication capabilities and sensors, they can also serve as economical, dynamic samplers of aquatic environments. Realizing autonomous robotic fish that work robustly in real-world environments, however, presents a myriad of challenges in robot design and control. In this talk I will outline some of these challenges and discuss potential approaches to addressing them. At the individual level, I will illustrate how we might endow robotic fish with adequate maneuverability, by taking inspiration from fish and leveraging advances in biomimetic materials. At the group level, I will discuss our recently started collaborative effort with computer scientists and biologists, in synthesizing autonomous behavior and designing networking and control strategies for robotic fish schools.

Xiaobo Tan is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Smart Microsystems Lab at Michigan State University (MSU). He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in automatic control from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1995 and 1998, respectively, and his PhD degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2002. He was a research associate with the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland before joining MSU in 2004. His research interests lie at the intersection of control systems, robotics, and smart materials, and include electroactive polymer sensors and actuators, underwater robotics, modeling and control of smart materials, and adaptive autonomous cyber-physical systems. He is also keen to integrate his research with educational and outreach activities, and leads an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Site on Bio-Inspired Technology and Systems at MSU.  Dr. Tan is an Associate Editor of Automatica and is serving as the Program Chair of the 15th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR’2011). He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2006, the ASME DSCD Best Mechatronics Paper Award in 2009, and the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award in 2010.