Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Investigation of Interactions Between Robotic Leg Locomotion and Granular Media
Disciplines:  Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Mentor:  Jose Andrade, Professor, (EAS),, Phone: x4141
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Jason Marshall,
Background:  LS-DEM, was recently developed to overcome the challenges with capturing particle shape in the classical Discrete Element Method (DEM), which is used to model discrete particle interactions of granular materials. The key advance in the method is using level sets to characterize the exact particle shape morphology. This method has been recently used to simulate granular media to unprecedented accuracy.

Robotic locomotion, especially walking and running, has rapidly evolved in recent years. However, one challenge for walking and running robots is interaction with non-rigid surfaces, like granular media (e.g. sands). Sophisticated software and fast algorithms are required to optimize dynamic movement on these surfaces in real-time. However, this can be quite challenging to accomplish for the wide range of surfaces that robots will be expected to walk on.
Description:  This project will focus on investigating robotic interactions with granular media. Computational (LS-DEM, others) and experimental methods will be used to shed light on the challenge of modeling and understanding robotic locomotion – granular media interactions.
Student Requirements:  C++, Python, Git, Object-Oriented Programming Paradigms, High Performance Computing, MPI, OpenMP, Linux, Numerical Methods, System Controls, Robotics
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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