Russ Tedrake

Kinect Hand Detection
This is a graphical interface inspired by the movie "Minority Report". It uses the Kinect sensor from Microsoft, and the recently released libfreenect driver for interfacing with the Kinect in linux. The graphical interface and the hand detection software were written at MIT to interface with the open source robotics package 'ROS', developed by Willow Garage. The hand detection software showcases the abilities of the Point Cloud Library (PCL), a part of ROS that MIT has been helping to optimize. The hand detection software is able to distinguish hands and fingers in a cloud of more than 60,000 points at 30 frames per second, allowing natural, real time interaction.

Alexander Shkolnik- Sample-Based Motion Planning for High-Dimensional and Differentially-Constrained Systems
State of the art sample-based path planning algorithms, such as the Rapidly-exploring Randomized Tree (RRT), have proven to be effective in path planning for systems subject to complex kinematic and geometric constraints. The performance of these algorithms, however, degrade as the dimension of the system increases. Furthermore, sample-based planners rely on distance metrics which do not work well when the system has differential constraints. Such constraints are particularly challenging in systems with non-holonomic and underactuated dynamics. This thesis develops two intelligent sampling strategies to help guide the search process. To reduce sensitivity to dimension, sampling can be done in a low-dimensional task space rather than in the high-dimensional state space.

Quadruped Locomotion on Rough Terrain with LittleDog
The following videos show highlights from our work on LittleDog - a small quadrupedal robot built by Boston Dynamics for the DARPA Learning Locomotion program.