Past Projects



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2019


Precise localization of a LoRa node through a UAV embedded with LoRa 5G

Victor Pierre Guy Delafontaine (MT)

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are incredibly versatile tools capable of completing a wide range of applications. Soon the majority of drones will be connected to the cloud for BLOS missions and also perform fully autonomous flights. This will be achieved by using the novel Low Power Networks (LPN) which are characterized by a longer range, lower bandwidth, and low battery consumption. In this project, we aim at improving the localization function of the LoRa LPN network in order to find a node with a precision of less than 20m. This can be applied to scenarios of search and rescue (e.g., missing person in case of an avalanche). Towards this goal, a LoRa gateway will be installed on the drone and a node, to be localized, will be placed at an unknown location. When the node starts beaconing, the position is computed by triangulation, and the drone will plan his trajectory towards this position. Once the UAV is in the vicinity of the node, different algorithms will be implemented and tested for determining the position of the node accurately. The drone will also be embedded with 5G technology (e.g., NB-IOT) to transmit the LoRa node signal to an APN hosted on a Swisscom server. On this server, triangulation algorithms will be run to improve the first position estimation. A simulation environment will be set up (ideally in Matlab and Simulink) to test the software infrastructure before going on the real drone. Hardware in the loop simulations (connecting LoRa gateways on a laptop) could be envisioned to test the whole framework (e.g., LoRa gateway acquisition, communication with the Swisscom server). If time permits, the experiment will be extended to multiple UAVs in order to perform a local triangulation (without the need of running the localization algorithms on the server). Ideally, experiments will be performed in city areas, where the LPN signal is strong, as well as mountain areas where the signal is nonexistent. Tasks of the student: • Setup a simulation environment (preferably in Matlab/Simulink) which will allow to test the whole infrastructure without flying the drone • Install a LoRa Gateway on a drone • Connect the drone to the 5G Network (through NB-IOT technology) • Setup a server which gives the initial triangulation algorithm • Program the flight-path algorithm for reaching the desired area • Program the node-search algorithm based on the RSSI values • Perform flight tests and evaluate the results Ideal Candidate: • Passionate about the IoT and new technologies • Drone experience will be much appreciated • Good programming skills in C, C++, Python and Matlab/Simulink. Any other programming language is appreciated • Familiarity with the networking techniques • Above average academic results • Research oriented personality with hands-on experience The master thesis project will last 6 months and the working place will be in the Swisscom Digital Lab, in the EPFL campus. The master thesis, depending on the quality of the results, should result in a scientific publication. For more details regarding this subject, please consult: [1] "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Based Wireless Sensor Network for Marine?Coastal Environment Monitoring", Carlos A. Trasviña?Moreno et al., Sensors vol 17, issue 3 [2] "Understanding Autonomous Drone Maneuverability for Internet of Things Applications", Azade Fotouhi et al., WoWMoM 2017 [3] https://lora?alliance.org/

Type: Master project
Period: 04.02.2019 - 02.08.2019
Section(s): Robotics
Type of work: 20%Theory +40%Software +30%+hardware +10%misc
Requirements: control+theory +programming+(Matlab +python+or+similar)
Subject(s): Localization +control+and+estimation
Responsible(s): Fabrizio Schiano, Anand Bhaskaran, Alexandru+Rusu+(Swisscom)
Report: Click here
 

Simulation of multiple Crazyflies quadcopters

Mahdi Nobar (Mechanical Engineering)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we develop algorithms for coordinating the navigation of multiple quadcopters. The goal of this project is to develop the infrastructure for testing the swarming algorithms through software-in-the-loop simulation and evaluate their behavior. A preliminary phase involves the modeling of a Crazyflie drone. The result is a file of parameters in a standard format accepted by Gazebo, a dynamics simulator for robotics. Lots of studies about parameters identification and modeling of a Crazyflie exist on the internet. You can adapt them for your purpose. The first phase of the project consists of adding the Crazyflies firmware in the loop. The swarming algorithms are currently implemented in Matlab and Python. With the help of Matlab, Simulink and Python the student will send the input commands to the drones through ROS and develop a simple and intuitive analysis tool to monitor the state of the drones in real-time. The second step will involve the design of a simulation environment in Gazebo (so-called world) which resembles the DroneDome at LIS. Furthermore, the addition of obstacles will enable you to test the swarm in a cluttered environment. To make the obstacle detection possible onboard, the student will have to model a multi-ranger deck in Gazebo and implement a state-of-art obstacle detection strategy. Finally, to investigate the feasibility of embedding the swarm controller in the Crazyflie for a distributed approach, the last stage will imply the exploration of automatic code generation provided by Matlab and Simulink. A Crazyflie will be available for hardware tests. Depending on the quality of the results, the semester project could result in a publication. Previous experience with the cited software is required.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2019 - 05.07.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering School of computer and communication sciences
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% testing
Requirements: Modelling and programming skills (Matlab, Simulink, Python), previous familiarity with ROS.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, drone formations, simulation
Responsible(s): Enrica Soria, Fabrizio Schiano
Report: Click here

Video-audio communication for delivery drones

Leonardo Cencetti (Robotics)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous and can be monitored in real-time with the help of a web-application framework named Dronistics. In order to facilitate operation of the drone and communication between a sender and recipient, a camera, speaker and microphone will be deployed on the drone. The goal of this project is to design the audio and video communication between the sender and the recipient of the drone to ensure the efficiency. The first goal of this project is to perform a comparative study of protocols and existing open-source solutions that can be used to implement bi-directional audio communication and uni-directional video communication. On the sender side, the video and audio should be streamed on a web interface, and on the drone, the algorithm should be running on a Linux-based external computer that is running no GUI (e.g. a Raspberry Pi). The second goal is to design system architecture, make an analysis of the network throughput requirements, audio-video quality, scalability, security and privacy issues, and reliability. The third goal of the project is to implement the outcome of the above work in a real delivery drone and test it in a real scenario. The sender should initiate/join the communication from a web-based interface and the person next to the drone should initiate the communication by clicking a button on the drone.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2019 - 30.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 30% software architecture, 50% software development, 20% testing
Requirements: Solid understanding of software architectures, network protocols, and web-related technologies
Subject(s): Software Architecture, IoT, audio-video communication
Responsible(s): Anand Bhaskaran, Alessandro Crespi, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Long Range communication (LoRa) for Drones

Camille Conrad Aussems (Robotics)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous with the help of a web-application framework of Dronistics. Reliable long distance Communication in mobile systems (like in the case of Delivery Drone) has always been a challenge that attracts various companies and researchers. LoRa is one of the promising technologies that offer long-range low-power ad-hoc communications. The objective of this project is the implementation of a, LoRa system in the delivery drones (developed at LIS) and the characterization of the communication channel. The first goal of this project is to perform a theoretical understanding of LoRaWAN Networks. This should be followed by a comparative study on various LoRa hardware modules that could be used in drone communication. Finally, various characterization tests for communication channel (for signal strength, bandwidth etc.. ) should be performed with the chosen module(s). The second goal of the project is to implement a LoRa communication between a base station and a real drone developed at LIS. The student can use various open hardware and open software resources for the implementation. The final goal of this project is to perform the feasibility study to extend the implementation securely to use a public network like Swisscom LPM, ThingsNetwork, etc..

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2019 - 30.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering School of computer and communication sciences
Type of work: 40% hardware, 20% software, 20% theory, 20%testing
Requirements: Good Understanding of Embedded Systems and Communication Systems
Subject(s): IoT, Communication Systems
Responsible(s): Anand Bhaskaran, Fabrizio Schiano, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Enhanced Roll Control for Avian-Inspired Drones

Sepand Feyz Mir Iravani (Robotics)

We aim to improve the roll effectiveness of a highly maneuverable, avian-inspired feathered drone, which has thus far relied on wing tip folding for roll control. To guarantee controllability at low angles of attack, as well as in the post stall regime, the synergistic use of wing twisting and wing folding is investigated. Therefore, the goal of this semester project is to (i) improve the current wing twisting design, (ii) manufacture the wing architecture and mount it on the drone, and finally (iii) perform comprehensive wind tunnel tests followed by data analysis. This multifarious project gives the student a comprehensive insight into applied flight mechanics and aerodynamics combined with the development of a state of the art aeronautical device. A suitable candidate should be a do-it-yourself enthusiast.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2019 - 20.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: 10% theory, 10% coding, 20% experimental, 60% hardware
Requirements: mechanical design, basic aerodynamics
Subject(s): aerodynamics, flight mechanics, advanced materials, aeroelasticity
Responsible(s): Enrico Ajanic, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here

Impact of parcel on a multicopters’ performance - delivery drones

Tristan Abondance (Microengineering)

At the LIS, we have developed a novel delivery drone capable of transporting parcels of different shapes and sizes, such as cylindrical or flat rectangular boxes (pizza boxes). However, attaching a parcel to a drone affects the drone’s aerodynamics and may lead to a significant increase in drag. The goal of this project is to design a mechanism that will solve this problem.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 18.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, electronics, aerodynamics
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design, wind tunnel tests
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here

Use your body to control a robot - study of robot morphology effects

Philipp Vital Spiess (Microengineering)

Wearable interfaces based on body motion can make the teleoperation of a distal robot easier to learn for inexperienced users. When a person is asked to move freely following their natural intuition as if they were to control a flying robot (in this case a fixed-wing drone), the most common strategy is to mimic the robot's attitude with their torso. This is true if the point of view corresponds to the drone's frontal camera. This effect could be explained by the fact that the user 'embodies' in the robotic envelope transferring his bod ownership to the machine. For this project, we want to evaluate and quantify the variability of the control strategy when the person is presented with different robots to be controlled. In particular, we will repeat the experiment for, a fixed-wing drone and implement a similar logic on a quadcopter and a ground robot. The inclusion of a simple manipulator would be a plus. Tests with human subjects need to be run in order to collect and process a suitable amount of data to explain the results' variance. Later, the student will propose a control strategy that can suit the different situations. In the second part of the project, this strategy will be implemented and tested to validate the hypothesis. Students interested in flying robotics, human-robot interfaces and body motion study are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 50% software 20% data analysis, 30% testing
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics, C# is a plus
Subject(s): Body motion, human-robot interfaces
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Vivek Ramachandran
Report: Click here
 

Use your body to control a robot - study of camera position effects

Manana Lordkipanidze (School of computer and communication sciences)

Wearable interfaces based on body motion can make the teleoperation of a distal robot easier to learn for inexperienced users. When a person is asked to move freely following their natural intuition as if they were to control a flying robot (in this case a fixed-wing drone), the most common strategy is to mimic the robot's attitude with their torso. This is true if the point of view corresponds to the drone's frontal camera. This effect could be explained by the fact that the user 'embodies' in the robotic envelope transferring his bod ownership to the machine. For this project, we want to evaluate and quantify the variability of the control strategy when the point of view changes from first person (immersive), to 'second' person (behind the drone), to third person (user seeing the scene from ground). Tests with human subjects need to be run in order to collect and process a suitable amount of data to explain the results' variance. Later, the student will propose a control strategy that can suit the different situations. In the second part of the project, this strategy will be implemented and tested to validate the hypothesis. Students interested in flying robotics human-robot interfaces and body motion study are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 50%+software +20%+data+analysis +30%+testing
Requirements: Python +basics+of+mechanics +C#+is+a+plus
Subject(s): Body+motion +human-robot+interfaces +flying+robots
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Vivek Ramachandran
Report: Click here
 

Bidirectional wearable interface for mobile robot teleoperation - 2

Antoine Weber (Microengineering)

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. For this project, we want to test how effectively a human is able to learn to use his own body instead of a predefined hardware interface (i.e. a joystick). In particular, a motion controller based on hand motion will be implemented and used to control the position of the drone, following a path through obstacles in a simulated environment. Later, a haptic feedback system will be developed to represent the drone's distance from obstacles by using vibrotactile motors anchored on the pilot's hand, similarly to parking sensors. We will then evaluate the effect of such feedback on the learning process. Students interested in flying robotics, haptics and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics, embedded software development is a plus
Subject(s): Wearable technology, haptics, human-robot interfaces, flying robots
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Fabrizio Schiano
Report: Click here
 

Bidirectional wearable interface for mobile robot teleoperation - 1

Thomas Clint Patrick Havy (Microengineering)

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. For this project, we want to test how effectively a human is able to learn to use his own body instead of a predefined hardware interface (i.e. a joystick). In particular, a motion controller based on hand motion will be implemented and used to control the position of the drone, following a path through obstacles in a simulated environment. Later, we will test if the learned skill is transferable to the control of multiple machines (one per hand). A desirable plus would hardware implementation and testing. Students interested in flying robotics and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.02.2019 - 08.06.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Python, basics of mechanics,
Subject(s): Wearable technology, human-robot interfaces, flying robots
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Fabrizio Schiano
Report: Click here
 

2018


Development of a soft highly robust robot

Julien Couyoupetrou (Microengineering)

Soft robotics is revolutionizing the field of robotics, allowing to develop robots highly robust and safe to use in human environments. However, existing soft robots have usually locomotion performances still far from those of their natural counterparts or require tethering to an external actuation system or power supply. A possible strategy to design soft robots - currently pursued in our lab - is to use heterogeneous soft deformable modules using off the shelf electronic components that can be assembled into the robot morphology. In this proposed semester project, we seek to expand the current available kit of soft modules developing a new actuated module allowing to complete the basic kit to design a fully functional untethered soft robot. At first, the student will design and fabricate the additional actuated module on an available design concept. He will use lightweight materials, 3D printing technologies and off the shelf electronic components. Secondly, the available design of the complete first basic kit of modules will be used to design and build a proof of concept simple untethered soft robot able to locomote. Finally, the performances of the robot will be assessed in terms of locomotion speed, operational time and robustness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 25.02.2019 - 24.06.2019
Section(s): Microengineering
Type of work: 10% theory, 80% hardware (mechanical and electronics), 10% software
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms and materials, Arduino programming and 3D printing experience a plus
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, integrated systems
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Olexandr Gudozhnik
Report: Click here

Evolution of controllers for soft modular robots with proprioception

Juraj Korcek (IN)

The goal of this project is to build a neural network controller for a modular tensegrity robot with proprioception. The network will utilize inputs from a sensing system consisting of cable stretch sensors, which can be considered a simple form of proprioception. This should allow the robot to intelligently interact with the environment and navigate rough terrains more efficiently than with the current open loop system. The neural network will be designed and trained using evolutionary algorithms. Evolution of constant weights will be compared to evolution of Hebbian learning rules.

Type: Master project
Period: 05.09.2018 - 30.03.2019
Section(s): IN ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 70% software, 10% testing
Requirements: C++, python
Subject(s): tensegrity robots, sensory feedback, proprioception, neural network, evolution of learning rules, adaptive learning, soft robotics
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Fabian Maximilian Schilling
Report: Click here
 

Building a Robotic Flapping Wing to Study Bird Flight

Adrien Paolini (ME)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we develop drones with bio-inspired morphing air frames to achieve increased flight agility. To better understand bird’s wing morphology, wing motion and aerodynamics, we have teamed up with the Animal Flight Lab (AFL) at Lund University (SWE), and are looking for a highly motivated master student who likes to think outside the box. We aim to design and build a novel, artificial bird wing with flapping capabilities, which can later be used to perform extensive wind tunnel tests. The main phases of this master’s project can be distinguished as follows: Analysis of the anatomy of bird’s wings and its bio-mechanics | Study of literature regarding existing flapping wing systems | Design of a mechanism considering the requirements by AFL | Manufacturing of the wing and its mechanisms (mechanics and control) | Fitting and assembly in Lund (1-2 trips to Sweden expected).

Type: Master project
Period: 19.11.2018 - 16.03.2019
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 60% hardware, 10%+testing
Requirements: CAD+software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Biology, Control
Responsible(s): Enrico Ajanic, Prof. Christoffer Johansson
Report: Click here

A path planning algorithms for delivery drones flying in urban environments

Julien Di Tria (Microengineering)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we are developing a human-friendly drone delivery system called Dronistics. The system is composed of the safe-foldable drone called PackDrone and a software to control and monitor drones in real-time.

The first goal of this project is to extend the previous work of a semester project that aimed at computing the best path for the drone at a specified altitude (2D). The improved algorithm should be able to compute a path from point A to point B in a 3-dimensional space. The computed path should be able to avoid buildings, elevated lands, forbidden areas and other drones whose position and flight path are already known to the algorithm.

The second part of the project focuses on dynamic path planning. The algorithm should take into consideration unexpected obstacles such as buildings, construction cranes, trees, and other drones (not registered in a database) and re-plan the new optimum collision free path. Detection of obstacles should be based on existing on the market solutions for obstacles avoidance.

Finally, the system should be rigorously tested, and all the unintended situations should be handled. Tests should be initially done in simulation and validated in a real environment with a physical drone and obstacles. Further, the developed software should be well documented, and its performance should be analyzed. Moreover, the algorithms for path planning and obstacle avoidance should be implemented in the web application that navigates and monitors Dronistics’ drones.

Type: Master project
Period: 15.10.2018 - 15.02.2019
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: Control theory, C++, obstacles avoidance, path planning
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages,
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here
URL: Click here
 

Automated Propeller Geometry Measurement from 3D Scanning Data

Pauline Maury-Laribière (MT)

This project is part of LIS’s collaboration with Maxon Motor which aims to bring about widespread adoption of professional drones for commercial applications by providing the market with high quality, efficient and reliable propulsion system components. The trend in the drone market towards high-end professional use requires designers to adopt more rigorous methods for performance analysis and sizing of propulsion systems. A major challenge lies in accurately estimating the aerodynamics of the propellers. Since it is often impractical to carry out wind tunnel tests, particularly with large propellers, the Blade Element Momentum Theory is used to model the prop’s aerodynamics. However, this method requires detailed knowledge of the propeller geometry which manufacturers do not typically publish. The goal of this project is to create a software tool which takes as inputs STL or ASC files which contain 3D coordinates of points on the propeller surface and outputs the following parameters: hub radius, tip radius, blade twist, chord length and aerofoil shape at discrete points along the radius. Subsequently the aerofoil shape will be used to determine the lift and drag characteristics at each radial position. If this task is successfully completed the scope of the project may be extended to include developing processes to further automate the 3D scanning of the propeller using examples of tools available on the market.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 02.02.2019
Section(s): EL IN MA ME MT PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% software
Requirements: Coding experience in Python or MATLAB
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, UAV Propulsion Systems, 3D Scanning, Automation
Responsible(s): Sebastian John Steffen, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Bandwidth efficient object recognition for drone swarms

Marco Zoveralli (IN)

The project aims at developing a bandwidth efficient distributed object detection system which can be flown on a drone swarm. The system exploits the different points of view of the drones in the swarm to improve object recognition, while keeping the amount of data that is transmitted to the ground station as low as possible. In this way a more efficient use of the limited wireless resources can be achieved. The projects will involve the use of both off-the-shelf neural network algorithms and WiFi communication protocols. The first part of the project will focus on the setup of the communication network between the communication modules to be mounted on the drones and the ground station. The second part of the project will focus on the setup of the image capture/object recognition system and some basic onboard image processing. The core part of the project will consist in the implementation and optimization of the detection and communication protocol, which will build upon the modules developed so far.This part will include the evaluation of the system performance in terms of both bandwidth efficiency and detection accuracy.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 50% software, 30% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: Good knowledge of WiFi communication protocols (hands-on experience desirable), programming skills (shell scripting, Python, C/C++), familiarity with computer vision
Subject(s): Distributed sensing, drones communications, computer vision, swarm robotics
Responsible(s): Giuseppe Cocco, Fabian Maximilian Schilling
Report: Click here
 

Integration of flight telemetry, precise landing and ground navigation of a UAV

Louis Munier (MT)

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the LVC and will focus the flight telemetry and analysis of the data, the landing, and autonomous ground navigation. A C2/3 telemetry link is a criterion required by the challenge and needed during all flights. For this purpose, existing hardware will be used to send all the sensor data to the ground base. All communication needs to be encrypted between our drone and the ground control station as required by the challenge. Regarding this, state-of-the-art encryption methods will be studied to find the best solution and adapt it to our application. An automatic diagnostic procedure will be implemented on the ground control station using the logs provided by our platform. The landing will take place in a 10x20 meters area, so it must be precise and short. It will be assured by using existing autopilot hardware and adapting it to have a smooth and short landing. Different existing landing approaches, including experimental ones such as deep stall landing, will be investigated and tested to shorten the necessary runway to a minimum. Since the cargo pick-up criteria are specified to require minimal human intervention, automatic land navigation from the runway to the pick-up location will be designed. The navigation to the take-off will be done with the same algorithm. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s):
Type of work: 30% theory/state of the art, 50% software, 20% flying test
Requirements: Basic aerial vehicle and avionics knowledge and programming
Subject(s): Control, autonomous landing and ground navigation
Responsible(s): Fabrizio Schiano, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Development and Visualization of Neural Network in Robogen

Camilla Carta (CH)

RoboGen™ (www.robogen.org) is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains (neural network). It features an evolution engine and a physics simulation engine. The goal of this project is to further develop the neural network framework in RoboGen to evolve more capable controllers for different robot morphologies. The first part of this project is to understand the working of RoboGen software and the theory behind recurrent neural networks. This will be followed by the development of an improved network architecture that will also include sensory-feedback modulated oscillator models to improve the robot’s capabilities. The second part of the project is to extend the RoboGen platform to introduce visualization of the neural controller of the robot. For this part, various open-source neural network visualization tools will be suggested to the student, who could also develop his own solution. The third part of this project is to further develop recurrent neural networks by adding various other state-of-the-art neuron models. Finally, the developed software should be tested, validated and theoretical software analysis (such as o-analysis) should be performed. This project will be done in collaboration between two labs: Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob), and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems from Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% Theory, 80% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Evolutionary Algorithm, Neural Networks, Modular robots
Responsible(s): Anand Bhaskaran, Davide Zappetti, Shravan Tata Ramalingasetty, Jonathan Arreguit, Fabian Schilling
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Give the sense of touch to soft modular robots

Siqi Zheng (MA)

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. However, their soft bodies have unlimited degrees of freedom and it is very challenging to control their motions and the forces they apply to the environment. Indeed, a distributed sensory feedback to detect global and local deformations should be included in the practical design of soft robots to improve their controllability and include detections of loads from the environment. The objective of the semester project is to design and manufacture sensorized soft modules able to detect deformations. At first, the student will implement a technology available in our lab to sensorize the modules. Secondly, he will make a set-up for detecting deformations of the modules under different conditions and will characterize them. Finally, a demo application of a multi-module structure will be manufactured and characterized to show the potential of the results.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 80% hardware, 10% software
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of structures and materials, Arduino/matlab
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, stretchable sensors
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Matteo Macchini
Report: Click here

Development of a bio-inspired robotic manipulator

Roc Arandes (MT)

Vertebrates have manipulation capabilities - in terms of dexterity and versatility - still unmatched by robotic applications. For this reason at laboratory of intelligent systems (LIS) we are focusing on extract bio-inspired principles to improve next generation of robots. In this proposed semester project, we seek to increase robot manipulation capabilities by developing a bio-inspired robotic modular manipulator. At first, the student will design and fabricate the manipulator based on an available design concept. He will use lightweight materials and 3D printing technologies. Secondly, a mechanism for grasping will be designed and manufactured. Finally, the performances of the actuated manipulator will be assessed in terms of workspace area, actuation forces and robustness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 04.06.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory 80% hardware
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms and materials
Subject(s): soft robotics, bio-inspired robotics, manipulation
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Enrico Ajanic
Report: Click here

Control a Robot by means of an Adaptive Body Motion Decoder

Loic Niederhauser (CH)

Learning a teleoperation task normally requires a high cognitive effort as well as extensive training. In the frame of the Symbiotic Drone project, we are designing a new Human-Robot Interface (HRI) based on wearable technology in order to ease the process of learning a new interface as well as the dynamics of the controlled machine. This interface needs to adapt to one’s control style in order to grant responsiveness and error correction. In this preliminary stage, the student will design a variable structure with gain-adaptive Single-Input Single-Output (SISO) interface and test in VR for a drone teleoperation task. Subsequently, this system will be adapted through machine learning to the control of a robot by means of body motion. Students interested in neural networks, HRI as well as VR programming are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% experimental
Requirements: Python or Matlab, C# basics, elementary knowledge of control systems
Subject(s): Error feedback, teleoperation, adaptive control
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Sebastian John Steffen
Report: Click here

Development and test of a human motion capture system

Victor Camille Baptiste Faraut (CH)

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitations in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. Currently, a hardware infrastructure has been proposed and designed consisting in modular parts with plug-and-play functionalities: the next step is to implement a real application. For this project, you will test the board (a BeagleBone Green Wireless) in different configurations and estimate time requirements for several communication and processing tasks, including acquisition from different sensors, signal processing, multiplexing. Later, you will use the same infrastructure to develop an acquisition system from a set of IMUs, to track a the motion of a human, and validate this system in camparison with a commercial IMU-based motion capture system and a IR camera-based one. Students interested in embedded software and processing and wearable technology are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL MT PH
Type of work: 30% theory, 20% hardware, 50% experimental
Requirements: embedded software, real-time systems
Subject(s): real-time capabilities assessment, hardware
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Olexandr Gudozhnik
Report: Click here

Haptic display for a wearable Human-Robot Interface

Hugo Kohli (CH)

Haptic is becoming a prominent area in the field of human-robot interfaces. Force feedback and vibrating haptic devices are capable of displaying the presence of obstacles and other physical objects and forces, as well as providing info on robot status and dynamics. In the LIS we are developing a wearable interface finalised to the control of a flying robot. For this application, we are going to adopt a shared control architecture to support human teleoperation in case of difficulties due to the operator cognitive state and challenging environmental conditions. Shared control can be a misleading tool in that the robot’s behaviour does not always reflect user’s inputs. The goal of this project is to design, prototype and test a haptic display which will be installed on the user’s body to inform them about the current shared control state. We want to investigate amplitude and direction resolution for the device consisting in an array of vibrotactile motors. A good plus would be the integration of such device in the current wearable system. Students interested in haptics, wearable hardware design and validation are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN ME MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: Hardware interfacing, embedded software
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, wearable technology
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Carine Rognon
Report: Click here

Wearable Technology : Integration of hardware and UI for a new framework

Cyrill Florin Lippuner (MT)

Wearable sensors have become very popular in many applications such as medical, entertainment, security, and commercial fields. In the LIS, our goal is to develop a unified framework to allow the user to easily design and prototype experiments and application exploiting this kind of technology. So far, several efforts have been done in this sense on the software, hardware and interfacing sides. Now, we want to integrate the currently available advancements in a first integrated version of the framework. - Integration of the current hardware and user interfaces in a single GUI for system prototyping. - Implementation of a new UI for hardware diagnostics and control Students interested in wearable technology implementation and software development are encouraged to apply.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL IN MT PH
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% hardware, 60% software
Requirements: python, basics of embedded software coding
Subject(s): Hardware and Software integration, UI design
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Olexandr Gudozhnik
Report: Click here

Implementation of a novel connection strategy for soft modular robots

Ludovic Sébastien Pierre Coullery (MT)

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. Consequently, it is very challenging to design a connection strategy for such modules that should also exchange power and information. Indeed, a novel connector able to mechanically connect the deformable modules and, at the same time, allow exchange of energy and information should be included in the practical design of such soft robot. The objective of the semester project is to design and manufacture such new connector based on a novel connection strategy. At first, the student will familiarize with the current soft modular robot and the connection strategy developed in our lab. Secondly, he will design and manufacture a new connector and will characterize it in terms of mechanical robustness, electrical conductivity and quality of the data transmission. Finally, a demo application of a multi-module structure will be manufactured and characterized to show potential applications.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): EL MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 10% theory, 70% hardware, 20% testing
Requirements: good understanding of electrical/mechanical engineering, CAD technologies a plus
Subject(s): soft modular robotics, power and data transmission, bio-inspired robotics
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Anand Bhaskaran, Olexandr Gudozhnik
Report: Click here

Development and testing of a device to give haptic guidance based on the Hanger Reflex when flying a drone with upper body movements

Maxim Pavliv (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To do so, we created a wearable interface, called the FlyJacket, with which the user can control a drone with intuitive body movements. The control of the drone can even be enhanced by giving a haptic guidance to the user using tactile feedback. The goal of this project is to integrate a simple, not cumbersome and lightweight haptic guidance device into the FlyJacket based on the Hanger Reflex (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on22yoI40TI&t=7s, publication: Development of a Head Rotation Interface by Using Hanger Reflex, Sato et al.). During this project, the student will have to familiarized him/herself with the Hanger Reflex principle. Then, he/she will have to develop the hardware and the electronics of a lightweight and portable device to trigger the Hanger Reflex by applying force on the torso. This device will be integrated into the FlyJacket., Finally, the student will have to test its effectiveness by doing extensive test with a significant number of human subjects. This will be done by comparing performances of a flight task between subjects with the haptic guidance and a control group that doesn't have this feedback. This project require a highly motivated, independent and creative student. Indeed, a reliable device need to be implemented early in the project in order to have the time to perform tests on human subjects. We are expecting the student to come with his/her own ideas and always be one step ahead of the current state of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: Mechanical+workshop+experience +Solidworks +motivation
Requirements: 10%+theory +50%+hardware +40%+test+on+subjects
Subject(s): Mechanics +Haptics +Wearable +Actuator +Human+Machine+interaction
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Vivek Ramachandran
Report: Click here

Cargo bay, waterproof protection design and wind sensors for a UAV

Paul Megevand (ME)

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the LVC and will focus on a way to transport packages, protect the drone against water and a way to measure wind speed. Firstly, as the main objective of the competition is to transport several 250 g packages defined by the LVC rules from A to B, the drone will have to integrate a cargo bay in which cargo pick-up will have to require a minimal intervention at the destination location. Due to the African environment with weak infrastructure (low runway quality and size), the cargo bay will also have to be designed in a way to absorb hard landings, bumps and drops. As the drone will be used for transportation in a region of Africa with many big water areas (lakes, rivers…) that need to be overflown and a wet season, a water crash must be anticipated. To do so, critical electronics (e.g. autopilot) will have to be protected against water and a specific design will have to be implemented on the drone so it will become waterproof (IPX7: immersion in 1m depth). In the event of a water crash landing, electronics have also to be protected against short-circuits. Thus, a system that mechanically unplugs the battery from the drone will have to be designed and integrated on the drone. However, to avoid any battery disconnection during flight, a special attention to the false positive case will have to be given. Finally, as the autopilot will have to know the precise wind speed during flight and the wind speed and direction during taxi before take-off, a wind measurement system will have to be designed and embedded on the drone. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 10% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware, 20% test
Requirements: CAD software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Conception, Structure
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Fabrizio Schiano
Report: Click here

Towards solar panels cleaning through drones

Michael Perret (MT)

Dirt on the surface of solar panels (SPs) represents a significant factor in drops of their efficiency [1, 2]. Cleaning SPs can be expensive, hazardous and often tricky. This project aims at providing a first step towards the solution of this problem. In the following, some details and phases of this project are given. BLOCK 1: INTEGRATION OF THE DRONE ARCHITECTURE (SW/HW) In this block, the student must quickly familiarize with the literature related to the general topic of the project. After that, the drone architecture has to be built. It consists of assembling drone hardware (e.g., Pixhawk flight controller [5], motors, ESCs, power distribution board, propellers and frame) with an ODROID XU4 [6] and an onboard camera (e.g., OpenMV Cam M7 [7]). It will be fundamental the understanding of the PX4 software [9, 10]. Once the drone is assembled it will be the turn of understanding how to create an object in the Motion Capture System (MoCap) environment (DroneDome). Subsequently, the student should familiarize with the ROS concepts. ROS [8] is a fundamental tool for many robotics projects and it will be used, in this project, to link the flight controller to the MoCap and the laptop/pc used by the student. The drone should be able to autonomously go from a point A to a point B in the DroneDome. BLOCK 2: DETECT AND LAND ON A SOLAR PANEL In this block, the student should understand the basic concepts of visual servoing. These will be used to detect a solar-panel-like structure placed in the DroneDome. This task will be achieved by placing fiducial markers (e.g., Apriltags [3, 4]) on the SP and, without relying on the MoCap, landing at the center of the SP. The drone should be able to autonomously go from a point A to a point B in the DroneDome, find a SP by detecting the visual fiducials and land on it. BLOCK 3: INTELLIGENT DETECTION AND DOWNWASH CLEANING This block can be split into two main parts: • instead of directly landing on the SP, the drone will plan and execute an intelligent trajectory which, thanks to the downwash effect, will give an initial cleaning of debris • some basic edge-detection technique [11] will be investigated and applied to detect a SP without the aid of fiducial markers. The presented approach represents a first fundamental step towards the solution of the complex task of cleaning solar panels. Note also that this project might also be a good starting point for future master thesis projects. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The student is expected to document his/her work throughout the semester project carefully. Moreover, as usual, he/she will have to do a mid-term and final presentation of his/her work. A final report also has to be provided. REFERENCES [1] M. R. Maghami, H. Hizam, C. Gomes, M. A. Radzi, M. I. Rezadad, and S. Hajighorbani, “Power loss due to soiling on solar panel: A review ” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 59, pp. 1307–1316, 2016. [2] M. H. Bergin, C. Ghoroi, D. Dixit, J. J. Schauer, and D. T. Shindell, “Large Reductions in Solar Energy Production Due to Dust and Particulate Air Pollution ” Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., vol. 4, no. 8, pp. 339–344, 2017. [3] E. Olson, “AprilTag: A robust and flexible visual fiducial system ” Proc. - IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom., pp. 3400–3407, 2011. [4] J. Wang and E. Olson, “AprilTag 2: Efficient and robust fiducial detection ” Proc. IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. Intell. Robot. Syst., pp. 2–7. 2016. [5] Pixracer - https://docs.px4.io/en/flight_controller/pixracer.html [6] ODROID XU4 - https://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825 [7] OPENMV Cam M7 - https://openmv.io/products/openmv-cam-m7 [8] ROS - http://wiki.ros.org/ROS/Introduction [9] PX4 user guide - https://docs.px4.io/en/ [10] PX4 developer guide - https://dev.px4.io/en/ [11] Canny edge detection OpenCV - https://docs.opencv.org/3.1.0/da/d22/tutorial_py_canny.html

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 5%+state+of+the+art +40%+hardware +40%+software +15%+misc
Requirements: Basic+aerial+vehicle+knowledge+and+programming
Subject(s): Control +hardware +drone +MoCap
Responsible(s): Fabrizio Schiano, Fabian Maximilian Schilling, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Development of the chassis and steering system for a long delivery drone

Damien Roger Richard Coulon (ME)

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of the flying platform which will take part in the Lake Victoria Challenge and will focus on the development of the chassis and steering system. Due to this environment with weak infrastructure (low runway quality and size), the chassis needs to be designed to allow take-off and landing on a very short and potentially rough runway all while keeping the payload safe. This chassis needs to connect the wing, the motor block, the wheels and the cargo bay of the drone. To assure the shortest possible take-off and landing against the wind and for precise good delivery, the drone must be maneuverable on the ground. A steering system has to be implemented to this end. As for the chassis, the steering system has to support rough runways and imprecisions at landing. Since the weight is an important factor, all the requirements should be met with minimum weight. The drone will be used for transportation in a region of Africa with many big water areas (e.g., lakes, rivers) that need to be overflown and a wet season. Thus, the steering system has to be waterproof (IPX7) to withstand emergency water landing and heavy rain. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 30.01.2019
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 10% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware, 20% test
Requirements: CAD software
Subject(s): Mechanics, Conception, Structure
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Fabrizio Schiano
Report: Click here

Flight control and telemetry integration for short take-off of a UAV

Joël Zbinden (ME)

The Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC) has been created to address these problems and to promote drone transportation technologies in Africa. This semester project is made to develop a part of a flying platform which could take part in the LVC and will focus on the implementation and programming of the flight controller and telemetry hardware. The LVC demands an autonomous and easy-to-use system. Therefore, the selected platform will need to be equipped with a compatible flight control unit which will contain all the necessary sensors for speed measurement, consumption control and reliable positioning in space (e.g. GPS receiver). These components will be integrated with the provided chassis. A suitable autopilot will be selected among the ones present on the market. Then, it will be programmed, calibrated and tuned to satisfy our needs. Since the runway will have limited dimensions (e. g. 10m x 20m), different autonomous take-off sequences will be investigated and tested to assure stable and effective take-off. For the necessary and mandatory observability of the status of the drone and recoverability in case of a crash landing on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, telemetry hardware with enough coverage and range will need to be embedded on the drone. In parallel to these tasks, the risks before, during and after flight will be evaluated and gathered in the form of a risk assessment that will be integrated to the mandatory and necessary risk assessment documentation of the global project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2018 - 16.01.2019
Section(s):
Type of work: 10% theory and state of the art, 40% software, 20% hardware, 30% test
Requirements: Basic aerial vehicle and avionics knowledge and programming
Subject(s): Control, autonomous flight, aerial robotics
Responsible(s): Fabrizio Schiano, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

Comparative Study of Coaxial and “Flat” Multicopter Propeller Configurations

Marjorie Marie Joséphine Lasson (MT)

In the future drones will become a ubiquitous feature of urban airspaces, carrying out deliveries, aerial inspections and perhaps even transporting people. If they are to coexist with us near our homes and places of work we will require drones to become safer, quieter and more efficient. The quadcopter is currently the best known and most common rotor configuration but it has a fatal flaw: losing a single rotor makes the craft uncontrollable under most conventional control algorithms. Hence, we are interested in studying systems with six or eight propellers that could continue performing -albeit with a limited flight envelope-, in the event of rotor damage. The project will compare flat hexa and octo-copters to an “X8” configuration with 4 arms, each holding two coaxial propellers. The project has two primary goals. The first is to experimentally investigate various coaxial configurations including, but not necessarily limited to different combinations of blade diameters and pitches, different numbers of blades per propeller and using different rotational speeds for the top and bottom props. Some of the performance metrics to be considered include the specific thrust in terms of force per unit of power, heating of the motors and ESCs, and the level of noise produced by the system. The second goal is then to use these same metrics to compare the better performing coaxial configuration(s) to flat 6 and 8 rotor systems that achieve the same level of thrust. The key tasks for this project include the design and manufacturing of a rig for attaching the propellers to our thrust stand, carrying out the experiments on various propeller configurations, and processing and analysis of the data.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2018 - 14.01.2019
Section(s): GR ME MT
Type of work: 60% Testing, 25% Hardware, 10% Software, 5% Theory
Requirements: Basic Aerodynamics, Coding for automating experiments and data acquisition
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, UAV Propulsion Systems, Experimental Methods
Responsible(s): Sebastian John Steffen, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

Design and development of morphing tail

Rayan Mouwafak (ME)

The pursuit of equipping drones with advanced flight capabilities such as aggressive maneuvering and perching calls for a more bio-inspired design and function of the tail. The aim of this project would be to develop an aircraft tail with artificial feathers and characterize its aerodynamics in the wind tunnel. By improving the current tail and feather design, the student is tasked to build small tail prototypes using 3D-printers and our laser cutter and subsequently compare their aerodynamic characteristics. To find out more about the project, please contact the supervisor stated below.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, Flight mechanics
Responsible(s): Enrico Ajanic, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Brake thruster for precision landing

Hugo Bordog (ME)

As multi-rotor platforms offer low aerodynamic efficiency and limited range, the concept of equipping fixed wing drones with precision landing capabilities is an intriguing one. Although vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) techniques such as the tilt-rotor and tilt-wing methods have been researched widely, most mechanisms tend to be complex with high energy requirements and involve highly nonlinear dynamics. Therefore, the project aims to develop dedicated high impulse thruster that can be deployed on the aircraft’s fuselage to bleed off the remaining velocity during a high angle of attack landing. To find out more about the project, please contact the supervisor stated below.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Mechanics
Responsible(s): Enrico Ajanic, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Development and study of ailerons vs. folding wings

Didier Negretto (ME)

We aim to improve the roll effectiveness of a highly maneuverable feathered drone with folding wings capability. To operate beyond the convectional flight envelope which includes flying at extended angles of attack and low velocities, sufficient roll control is required to allow effective maneuvering in cluttered environment. This can be achieved through the methodical application of properly sized ailerons and folding wings. The goal of the project is to design and develop ailerons for the feathered drone and subsequently, carry out a comparative analysis of roll effectiveness between the ailerons and the folding wings using the wind tunnel.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 11.01.2019
Section(s): Robotics Microengineering Mechanical Engineering
Type of work: Theory 10% hardware 60% testing 30%
Requirements:
Subject(s): Aerodynamics, Flight mechanics
Responsible(s): Enrico Ajanic, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Control interface for drone swarms

Mahmoud Zgolli (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, we are developing algorithms for controlling drone swarms. However, controlling several agents at the same time is not trivial and the need for an easy-to-use interface for swarm control arises. The goal of the project is to develop an intuitive interface for controlling a swarm of drones using only a single control mechanism (via gesture recognition, leap motion, remote controller, joystick, etc.). Existing flocking algorithms already allow the agents to avoid collisions with each other and to stay cohesive as a group. The control interface you develop on top should allow a user to steer the swarm as a single cohesive unit and it should be as intuitive as controlling a single stabilized drone. The project will involve the selection of a control mechanism, the design, and implementation of a control algorithm that fulfills the above requirements, followed by extensive testing thereof in simulation. Optionally, the algorithm can be validated in a state-of-the art motion tracking hall with real drones.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.12.2018
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 60% software, 20% testing, 20% theory
Requirements: Programming skills (Python, C++, Matlab), previous knowledge of ROS and the PX4 autopilot is a plus.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, multi-agent control, human-robot interaction
Responsible(s): Fabian Maximilian Schilling, Enrica Soria
Report: Click here

Omnidirectional vision for drones

Robin Wütschert (IN)

Omnidirectional imaging is a hot research topic and has important applications to aerial robots equipped with multiple cameras. In addition to numerous use cases in cinematography and film-making, omnidirectional vision can enhance drone autonomy by providing 360-degree visual sensing for tasks such as collision avoidance. The present project aims at implementing and comparing efficient stitching algorithms for omnidirectional vision, possibly enhancing existing solutions. Since the algorithm is to be run on the drone onboard computer and potentially used for real-time applications such as collision avoidance, it should have low complexity and must be able to run at an acceptable speed. The first part of the project will involve the selection and implementation of suitable stitching algorithms. Existing algorithms may be enhanced by taking the a priori information such as the camera configuration into account. The second part of the project will involve testing of the proposed algorithms on a physical drone platform.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 31.12.2018
Section(s): EL IN MT
Type of work: 40% software, 30% hardware, 20% testing, 10% theory
Requirements: Programming skills (shell scripting, Python, C/C++), image processing
Subject(s): Omnidirectional vision, computer vision, multi-camera, aerial robotics, image processing
Responsible(s): Fabian Maximilian Schilling, Giuseppe Cocco
Report: Click here

Swarming algorithms for quadcopters

Yoann Yves Lapijover (MT)

The state of the art of swarming algorithms is rich. Many of these algorithms are inspired by animal behaviours such as ants, bees and birds and they are designed to visually resemble to them. The most evident example is the Reynolds flocking model [1], developed by the homonymous author to simulate flocks of birds in computer games. DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF AN OPTIMAL DECENTRALIZED SWARMING ALGORITHM When considering drone applications, Olfati-Saber model well suits the needs to keep the robots separated by a known constant inter-agent distance and make them navigate in a preferential and common direction [2]. Furthermore, in realistic scenarios taking into account optimal control helps improving the performances of the flock [3]. The outcome of this first work-package should be the implementation of an optimal swarming algorithm. SWARM DEPLOYMENT IN SIMULATION By integrating an existing simulator (ideally Gazebo [4], [5]), you will deploy your swarm in a search and rescue mission, where the dense group will disperse to explore an area and then become compact again when the goal is reached. The outcome of this second section should be a simulated demo of the mission. ROBUSTNESS OF THE SWARM IN STRESSFUL CONDITIONS The performances of a flock are highly sensible to the failure of some individuals, to the physical constraints of the sensors (for instance limited field of view) and to real world perturbations (like wind). The aim of the last section of the project is to test the robustness of the algorithm under deliberately stressful conditions, like the limitation of the agent’s visual capabilities (cameras with limited field of view) or the arrival of external intruders. The outcome of this work-package is the implementation of one scenario at your choice among the ones cited before and the analysis of the flock performance. You will develop the code in Matlab, Python and/or ROS/Gazebo. Good programming skills are required. References: [1] C. W. Reynolds, “Flocks, Herds, and Schools: A Distributed Behavioral Model ” p. 21, 1987. [2] R. Olfati-Saber, “Flocking for Multi-Agent Dynamic Systems: Algorithms and Theory ” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 401–420, Mar. 2006. [3] O. Saif, “Reactive navigation of a fleet of drones in interaction ” 2016. [4] http://gazebosim.org/ [5] http://www.ros.org/

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 21.12.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% programming, 20% testing
Requirements: Programming skills (Python, MATLAB, C++), design of experiments, familiarity with autopilots like PX4 and simulator like Gazebo would be a plus.
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, multi-agent control
Responsible(s): Enrica Soria, Fabian Maximilian Schilling
Report: Click here

Development of a dynamics simulator for swarms of quadcopters

Victor Pierre Guy Delafontaine (MT)

At the LIS we are currently working on swarming algorithms for quadcopters. In this regard, reproducing the dynamics of a drone in simulation with fidelity is essential to make multiple drones fly together in reality. Drones simulators are effective tools to test the behaviour of a platform without taking the risk of damaging real hardware and being capable of running hundreds of experiments at a click of a mouse. In the framework of this project, you will gain hands-on experience in several key aspects of quadcopter control and navigation, as well as a good knowledge of decentralized drone flocking. ENHANCEMENT OF A QUADCOPTER SIMULATOR By integrating an existing simulator developed in Matlab, you will enhance the low level control strategy, ideally robust control (to take perturbations into account [1]), and implement an optimal path following algorithm. For this, you will make use of the already implemented physical and graphical packages. The outcome of this work-package should be a simulated demo of the quadcopter following the input commands in position and velocity. GENERALIZATION TO MULTIPLE QUADCOPTERS The generalization of the simulator to multiple drones will make it possible to fly a small fleet of drones at the same time. Multiple instances of the same quadcopter should be generated to run in parallel. The paradigm of object oriented programming (in Matlab) may be helpful to this aim. The outcome of this work-package should be a software allowing to simulate the dynamics of a variable number of drones. DECENTRALIZED SWARMING ALGORITHM To simulate a decentralized swarm of drones, an algorithm of flocking has to be integrated to the previous work. A decentralized flocking algorithm that suits the needs to keep the robots separated by a known constant distance and to make them move in a preferential direction is Olfati-Saber [2] model. Building up on the Olfati Saber algorithm, LQR controllers can improve the performance of the swarm [3]. The outcome of this section should be a simulated demo of a flock navigating according to a decentralized algorithm. The implementation of a simple interface could help to set the parameters of the flock. The code will be developed in Matlab/Simulink. Previous knowledge on control and estimation theory are required. References [1] C. MASSÉ, O. GOUGEON, D. NGUYEN, and D. SAUSSIÉ, “Modeling and Control of a Quadcopter Flying in a Wind Field: A Comparison Between LQR and Structured ??Control Techniques ” in 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), 2018, pp. 1408–1417. [2] R. Olfati-Saber, “Flocking for Multi-Agent Dynamic Systems: Algorithms and Theory ” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 401–420, Mar. 2006. [3], O. Saif, “Reactive navigation of a fleet of drones in interaction ” 2016.

Type: Semester project
Period: 18.09.2018 - 21.12.2018
Section(s): EL MT SC
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% software, 20% testing
Requirements: Programming skills (MATLAB, Simulink, Python), control theory, familiarity with quadcopters would be a plus.
Subject(s): Quadcopter control, navigation, guidance
Responsible(s): Enrica Soria, Julien Lecoeur, Schiano Fabrizio
Report: Click here

Incremental Non-linear Dynamic Inversion (INDI) control

Lombardo Julien Maxime (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe cargo delivery drone. The drone has shielded propellers to be safe while flying close to people. However, transportation of heavy packages might be very dangerous while a drone is flying during strong winds. Especially, strong wind gust can destabilise the platform, cause fall from the sky thus injure people and damage property.

The goal of this project is to adapt existing control algorithm for quadcopters to improve resistance to wind changes while flying with packages of different size and weight delivered by a drone developed at the LIS.

The first task of this project is the implementation of the Incremental non-linear dynamic inversion controller (INDI) (existing implementation in Paparazzi) to PX4 autopilot to keep the platform stable during sudden changes of wind.

The second task is to validate the controller resistance to the wind and characterise adaptation to varying inertia of the drone due to changes of the payload. Flight tests with Bebop 2 (Parrot’s drone) and/or the PackDrone (delivery drone developed in the LIS) should be done.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: Control theory, C++
Subject(s): Flying Robot, transportation of packages
Responsible(s): Julien Lecoeur, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

Improvements and new manufacturing methods of the PackDrone drone

Nathanaël Yvon Ferraroli-Tissot-Daguette (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe and foldable delivery drone called the “PackDrone”. The features of the drone can be find here: https://dronistics.epfl.ch/EPFL/ Existing cage: The cage of the drone is manufactured with strong and lightweight pultruded carbon-fibre tubes connected by flexible 3D printed joints that allow folding of the drone. However, pultruded carbon fibre tubes have limited energy absorption. Thus they break during strong collisions with obstacles. Moreover, the broken carbon parts are dangerous for people. Flexible joints are 3D printed which limits the possibility to produce a bigger number of them in a short time. Additionally, tubes and joints are assembled and bonded manually which is a time-consuming process. The main goal of this project is to find the best available materials and new techniques of manufacturing, to create a stronger light-weight cage in a shorter amount of time. Secondly, the selection of materials must be validated with various lab-experiments. In the end, the prototype of the drone should be built with proposed manufacturing method, and its performance should be measured. The first task of the project is to find materials that could absorb more energy and could be safe after breaking. This part also requires identifying a new method of manufacturing of curved carbon rods to be used in the cage. The second task is to find new methods of manufacturing of flexible joints, e.g. injection moulding or overmoulding. For this task redesign of the joint might be required. Thirdly, the new method of assembling of the cage should be developed to reduce the manufacturing time of the cage. Additionally, the proposed new method should also enable easy replacement of the damaged parts. Finally, the new CAD design of the drone should be done considering the new materials and manufacturing methods. Any improvements/modifications to the other parts of the drone (quadcopter) should be made if required. In the end, the prototype of the drone should be built and tested. If time allows a smaller version of the cage could be designed and built.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, carbon manufacturing, moulding methods
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Middleware for Transportation Drone: Communication with the drone

Anton Hào-Chen Lu (MA)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing drones for a last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous and are controlled in the real-time and monitored by the Dronistics’ web-application framework. The main goal of this project is to design a communication software between the autopilot of the drone (PX4) and Web-API. The first step of this project is to analyse various existing frameworks (such as Drone/Core, Dronekit, FastRTPS, etc.) that enables reliable communication with the autopilot. The selected framework for the communication software should be implemented and validated with the simulated version of the autopilot. Additionally, the software should be capable of capturing in the real-time drone’s parameters (such as battery status, system status, GPS location). Secondly, the theoretical analysis of the implemented software (using Big O notation) should be performed and efficiency parameters such as computation time and memory usage should be optimised. Additionally, developed software should be integrated into two types of companion computers: Odroid and Snapdragon (both with Linux OS), and the performance metrics should be analysed. Thirdly, the communication software developed should be capable of reprogramming the drone autopilot for different morphologies and should also be capable of modifying the gain parameters Finally, the monitoring and controlling endpoints of the communication software should be well documented and every endpoint should be tested independently. Thus the final goal of this project is to develop an integration-ready software that can be combined with the Web-API to control and monitor the drone. The diagram on Figure 1 explains the concept of the described above software framework.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50%+software, 30%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Basic understanding of programming and software architecture
Responsible(s): Anand Bhaskaran, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

A swapping and recharging battery ground station for a delivery drone

Hannes Kaspar Rovina (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing drones for fast transportation of lightweight packages (up to 2 kg). Although the drones can quickly deliver goods at a cheaper cost, the range of delivery is still limited. Inefficient batteries are one of the main reason for this limitation. This project aims at eliminating these traditional limitations by the development of an automated battery-swapping mechanism, which could be used by drones during long-range deliveries. The objective of this project is to develop a ground station for the “PackDrone”. The first goal is to design a mechanism that enables quick battery replacement. The second goal is to implement all required sensors that help in precise landing and orientation of the drone during landing. Finally, the prototype of the ground station should be designed, build and validated with the real drone. The first task of this project is to redesign holder enclosing batteries of the drone. The design should ensure the ease of battery swapping (it may require finding the different shape of batteries). Precise orientation of the drone on the ground station is an important constraint for automatic battery replacement mechanism. Thus the second task is to design a mechanical system that helps to precisely position the drone while landing in the ground station. Additionally, hardware integration of existing supporting system for precise landing with the ground station is required, e.g. IR beacon, vision-based landing or RTK GPS. Thirdly, a mechanism to automatically swap batteries should be designed. The ground station should also have the capabilities to charge used batteries for further use. The ground station should be weatherproof and have integrated weather sensors such as anemometer and thermometer. Finally, the ground station should be extensively tested at the different weather and lighting conditions and its operational reliability should be validated.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 20% software, 60% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, manufacturing
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, ground station
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Middleware software design for transportation drones

Elisabet Arvidsson (MA)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) we are developing drones for last-cm delivery. These delivery drones are fully autonomous. They are controlled and monitored in the real-time by the Dronistics’, web-application framework. The main goal of this project is to design a Web-API that runs on the companion computer of the drone. The Web-API should accept high-level messages from the external application and perform the corresponding operations on the autopilot. Additionally, the Web API should follow publish-subscribe architecture. Thus the WebAPI should notify the subscribed applications on specific changes in drone parameters (such as a battery, system failure, GPS change, etc. ) The first step of this project is to analyse various existing protocols and open-source REST (Representational State Transfer) compliant Web-API framework for the implementation. During this analysis, comparative study on reliability, security and bandwidth requirement should be performed. Then, the chosen Web-API framework should be implemented. However, the student can use pre-defined values for the drone-parameters. Secondly, a simple web-based application should be developed for a remote server that can reliably control and monitor the drone parameters to validate the WebAPI developed in the first step. Then, the developed Web-API should be ported to different companion computers (Raspberry Pi Zero, Odroid, etc.) and bottleneck analysis should be performed. Finally, the software should be integrated with the real-time drone parameters. Thus, the web application (developed in the step 2) along with the Web-API should be capable of monitoring and controlling the simulated drone reliably. The diagram on Figure 1 explains the concept of the described above software framework.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 80%software, 20%testing
Requirements: Programming
Subject(s): Software Architecture IoT
Responsible(s): Anand Bhaskaran, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Adaptive Estimation of Multirotor Geometry and Inertia

Louis-Dominique Renaud (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe cargo delivery drone. The drone is inside a cage that can be folded to be safe while flying close to people, and to protect the package. However, transportation of heavy packages might be dangerous if the drone cannot adapt to packages with unknown mass. Furthermore, the drone should be able to adapt to misalignment of rotors that may result from an improper unfolding of the drone.

Indeed, drone autopilots need to have knowledge of the geometry and inertia of a multirotor in order to transform roll pitch and yaw commands into motor commands. This is usually performed using a mixer matrix that is generated according to pre-defined geometries. Using a mixer matrix that does not correspond to the actual geometry of the multirotor may lead to controller instability and crash.

The goal of this project is to allow the drone to estimate its geometry and inertia while flying. The first task of this project will consist in a review of the existing methods, followed by implementation in the PX4 autopilot. The second task is to validate the algorithm. Flight tests will be performed on a multirotor with modified geometry (for example by displacing one of the motors) and inertia (for example by adding a mass). The student will characterize the accuracy of the estimation, and the improvements in controller stability.

Type: Semester project
Period: 09.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN MA MT PH SC
Type of work: 10% theory, 40% software, 10% hardware, 40% experiments
Requirements: Good programming level in C++, data analysis in python. Basics in linear algebra
Subject(s): drone, parameter estimation, mixing
Responsible(s): Julien Lecoeur, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

Improvements in safety of a protective cage for a delivery drone

Jan Niklas Benzing (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe delivery drone. The drone is designed to transport lightweight items such as medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment over short distances. This drone has an all-around protective cage, which separates propellers from the environment thereby protecting the drone and people. Especially, while delivering goods directly to peoples hands. However, the low density structure of the cage allows fingers to reach the inside of the cage easily. Thus fingers can be injured by the fast rotating propellers.

The main goal of this project is to redesign and build a protective cage for an existing in the LIS delivery drone. The cage should have a structure dense enough to separate fingers of an adult person from the propellers. In the same time, the structure should minimally disturb the airflow which allows the drone to fly.

The first task of this project is to find lightweight materials, fabrication techniques, and mechanical structures that could be used to improve safety of the existing design of the cage. The selection of the best structure should be based on drag calculations verified by experiments (test bench with precise force sensor will be provided).

The second task is to design and build the cage using selected materials and techniques of manufacturing. Implementation of the existing quadcopter in the cage will be required. In the end, the performance of the developed drone should be validated in the controlled environment using motion capture system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 01.03.2018 - 22.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% software, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD design, carbon manufacturing, moulding methods,
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, manufacturing, mechanical design
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Mir Feroskhan
Report: Click here

Cellular Controlled Drone

Florian Kaufmann (CH)

The goal of this project is to prototype a drone that allow for its control logic to be hosted on a distributed cloud accessible via cellular connectivity. Furthermore, all communication needs will have to be implemented via cellular connectivity. Beyond the prototyping, the student will be asked to explore and measure how factors such as latency, range and throughput affect the ability to control and steer drones. Of particular interest is the placement of control function (on the drone or in the network), and the possibilities offered by centralizing parts or all of the control logic.

Type: Master project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 19.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 40% software, 30% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): flight control, state estimation, networking
Responsible(s): Julien Lecoeur, Alexandru Rusu (alexandru.rusu@swisscom.com)
Report: Click here

Flying in vision denied cluttered environments using contact-based navigation.

Valentin Kindschi (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing a new type of a safe and foldable delivery drone called the “PackDrone”. This drone has an all-around protective cage, which separates propellers from the environment thus protecting people and the drone. The unique cage design of the “PackDrone” also ensures the safe flight in the cluttered environments (while flying close to obstacles). Additionally, the cage is equipped with a mechanical solution to withstand collisions, thereby allowing it to physically interact with its environment by flying along flat surfaces such as walls, and ceilings.

The present version of the “PackDrone“ is autonomously stabilised but has not got yet any haptic sensors or high-level controller that tells it where to go after the collision. To navigate autonomously in cluttered vision denied environments (fog, smog or smoke), we aim at using the haptic-based interactions with the environment and apply some reactive control to the contacts that occur during flight. The goal of this project is to design and test haptic-based sensors for the drone.

The first task of the project is to design and implement haptic-based sensors within the protective cage. The sensor should be a part of the mechanism that allows to withstand collisions, thus redesign of the mechanism is required.

The second task is a validation of the implemented sensor with the device to withstand collisions. The validation should be performed by acquiring and analysing the sensor data using Arduino electronic development board. Tests will be performed by usage of motion capture system.

Type: Semester project
Period: 14.02.2018 - 14.06.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 60% implementation, 30% tests
Requirements: microcontrollers e.g. Arduino, C/C++,
Subject(s): Flying Robots, transportation of packages, sensors
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Wearable Technology: Prototyping of a Modular Hardware Front-End

Gabriel Neamtu (IN)

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitation in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. The main goals of this project can be summarised as follows: • Research of the connectivity requirements for a set of wearable devices. • Choice of a hardware platform (microcontroller) for the development of the system. The choice should be justified by research on the market based on the needed specifications. • Design and prototyping of the front-end (analog/digital transmission, power supply, communications) • Implementation of hardware recognition and data streaming to a PC through a selected protocol. • Development of a wireless interface to communicate with a computer (bonus) • PCB design (bonus) • Design of different modules (bonus) The student will mainly work on hardware design, driver development and embedded software. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 21.02.2018 - 08.06.2018
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 10%+theory +60%+hardware +30%+embedded+software
Requirements:
Subject(s): hardware design, hardware, interfacing, signal acquisition, communications
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Precision landing for a cargo drone

Kunal Shrivastava (CH)

Description: Multicopters are recently used to deliver different types of goods in dense environments such as cities, due to their manoeuvrability and possibility for vertical take-off and landing. However, landing among high buildings may cause reflections or even loss of the GPS signal causing imprecision in the localisation of the drone, thus unprecise landing. In this project, we aim at using a vision based technique to land precisely in a designated place by a drone sender or recipient.

Specifically, the first goal of this project will be to localise and remember a take-off position of a drone for precise landing in the same place after delivery. The second task is to find a landing spot indicated on Google maps by a recipient. Thirdly, the algorithm should verify the position of obstacles on the ground such as people, cars, trees etc. and not land on them. Then, the landing performance will be validated on the prototype of the safe foldable delivery drone developed at EPFL.

Goal: The goal of this project is to design and implement a vision based solution for precise landing in cluttered outdoor environments.

This project will be done in collaboration between two labs: Robotic and Perception Group from the University of Zurich, and Laboratory of Intelligent Systems from Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne.

Contact Details: Davide Scaramuzza (sdavide@ifi.uzh.ch), Przemyslaw Kornatowski (przemyslaw.kornatowski@epfl.ch)

Type: Master project
Period: 19.02.2018 - 01.06.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 25% théorie, 60% software, 15% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): drones, vision based navigation
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran, Jeff Delmerico
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

2017


Development of a simulator for soft modular robots

Jean Marc Bejjani (MT)

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies. Such robots are expected to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots, in fact, can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. On the other hand, it is very challenging to simulate the kinematics and dynamics of their soft deformable bodies. At LIS we are investigating a new approach to develop soft modular robots that can lead to a simplified representation of their body deformations. Hence, such simulations can be performed with classical physics simulators to predict soft modular robot dynamics in real time. The objective of this semester project is to utilize a classical physics simulator (BULLET engine) to perform real time dynamic simulations of soft modular robots. At first, the student will familiarize with the selected simulator and with the prototype of soft modular robot that we developed at LIS. Secondly, the student will modify the classical simulator to simulate the soft modular robot. Thirdly, the student will implement a specific control algorithm to control the robot in the simulated environment and extract its behavior data. Finally, a comparative study between the performance of simulated and real prototype will be performed.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.02.2018 - 30.06.2018
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 20% theory 80% software
Requirements: C++, MATLAB, knowledge in kinematics and dynamics
Subject(s): Dynamic simulations, soft modular robots
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here
 

Development of a controller for soft modular robots based on self-sensing

Luigi Campanaro (ME)

Soft modular robots are versatile systems that can be assembled into different task-specific morphologies to safely locomote and manipulate beside or cooperatively with humans or in un-constructed environments. Soft robots in fact can freely deform along any direction and comply with any unexpected or excessive external force. However, their soft bodies have unlimited degrees of freedom and it is very challenging to control their motions and the forces they apply to the environment. lndeed a distributed sensory feedback to detect local deformations should be included in the practical design of soft robots to improve their controllability. The objective of the thesis project is to develop a controller for actuated soft modules able to self-sense their deformations. At first the student will analyze state of art control strategy of soft robots. Secondly, he will implement state estimation control in one single actuated soft module in simulation and later in a real available prototype. Finally a possible control strategy for different assembled soft modules will be proposed and investigated.

Type: Master project
Period: 01.10.2017 - 31.03.2018
Section(s): ME
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% software, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): soft robotics, modular robotics, control engineering
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Jun Shintake
Report: Click here
 

A software framework for adaptive structure of multirotor transportation drone

Karim Zeid (MT)

At the LIS, we are developing modular-drones for fast transportation of lightweight packages (up to 2 kg) with medicaments, dressings for wounds, small equipment etc. As the packages have different weight and dimension, the modular-drone (of LIS) should adapt its body according to the package. These drones will be controlled in real-time using Dronistics (a JAVA-based software).

The objective of this project is to develop a software, which could firstly define a geometry of the modular drone depending on the size and weight of the parcel. Secondly, the software should adapt gains for proposed geometry. Thirdly, the developed software should be well tested and should be integrated with our existing software Dronistics.

The first task is to write a JAVA-based software that could define number of motors, and its position for given parcel. Additionally, the software should be capable of visualizing the proposed configuration.

The second task is to find the gain for the proposed configuration by interpolating the look-up table (non-model based methods such as gain scheduling).

The third task is to experimentally tune gains of different configurations of the multicopters in order to fill in the look-up tables required for the second task.

The last but not least, extensive tests should be done to validate the algorithm. The flight controller will be based on the PX4 and PixHawk autopilot (software and electronic control board) which communicates with the software Dronistics.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 60% software, 30% hardware
Requirements: Java programming, programming PID controllers,
Subject(s): Flying Robot - drone, transportation of packages, adaptive morphology
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Rendering the sensation of flying: design, manufacturing and testing on subjects

Quentin De Longraye (IN)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. To do so, we created a wearable and portable interface called the FlyJacket. With it, users can control a drone with intuitive body movements. An important factor to improve this control and also to deepen the embodiment is to render force that the drone is experiencing when flying. The goal of this project is to integer a simple, not cumbersome and lightweight device into the FlyJacket to render the haptic feedback and test its effectiveness by doing extensive test with a significant number of human subjects. The project work flow is the following: the student will have to do a literature research on the state of the art of wearable and portable devices that give somatic feedback. Then, the best solution will be chosen and a prototype will be designed, manufactured and implemented in the FlyJacket. The second half of this project is to test the efficiency of the device on a significant number of human subjects. This will be done by comparing performances between subjects with the haptic feedback and a control group that doesn't have this feedback.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN
Type of work: 20% literature review, 30% hardware, 50% experiment
Requirements: Motivation! 😉
Subject(s): haptic feedback, human drone interaction, actuator, wearable
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Seunghee Jeong
Report: Click here

A path planning algorithm for drones flying in urban environments

Julien Di Tria (Microengineering)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we are developing a drone-based point-to-point logistics solution to transport lightweight packages (up to 2 kg). We have a JAVA-based software (Dronistics) that can control and monitor drones in real-time.

The objective of this project is to develop an algorithm that could compute the best path from point A to point B in a 3-dimentional space. This computed path should be capable of avoiding all the buildings, elevated lands and other obstacles. 3D model of the environment could be obtained from existing databases (such as Google earth). The developed algorithm should calculate the path in terms of GPS-waypoints and also be capable of providing various details of the path (such as the flight distance). The computed path should be drone-friendly, which means the path should be away from the obstacles (such as buildings and trees). The algorithm should be tested at different environments and should be capable of visualizing path in a 3D map.

Finally, the theoretical analysis of the algorithm (using Big O notation) should be performed and efficiency parameters such as computation time and memory usage should be optimized. The algorithm should be compatible with Dronistics software which is developed at LIS.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 03.02.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 80% software programing, 20% testing
Requirements: Java programming, Data Structures, 3D geometry
Subject(s): Flying Robots, obstacle avoidance, path planning
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Development of variable stiffness dielectric elastomer actuator

Egor Piskarev (MA)

Dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA) is a class of electroactive polymer that exhibits high compliance, large actuation stroke, and fast response speed. DEAs are composed of two compliant electrodes sandwiching an elastomer membrane. Applying high voltage induces electric charges on the electrodes that squeeze the membrane in thickness direction and cause expand in area as actuation. The idea of this project is to use low-melting point alloy (LMPA) with DEA. LMPA changes its phase between solid and liquid as a function of temperature. Thanks to this behavior, DEA with LMPA can have variable stiffness of the structure to withstand large external force or to keep an actuated shape without consuming energy. During the project, the student will design a proof of concept of this variable stiffness dielectric elastomer actuator (VSDEA). Subsequently he will establish fabrication process of the device, and characterize it in terms of actuation stroke, force, and rigidity change. Finally, the student will develop a simple 2-fingered gripper using VSDEA to demonstrate the effect of stiffness change.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 01.02.2018
Section(s): MA
Type of work: 25+%+theory +75+%+hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Smart+materials
Responsible(s): Jun Shintake, Seunghee Jeong
Report: Click here
 

Model and Design of a Soft, Wearable Sleeve

Pol Michel Alain Banzet (ME)

In recent years, there has been a burgeoning interest in the field of wearable robotics for rehabilitation and health monitoring. We are invested in broadening the scope of the current research to encompass applications like telerobotics, that would enable users to interact with robots in an intuitive manner, when provided with passive haptic feedback., The feedback provided through a system of compliant modular clutches, which conform to the human body, are meant to constrain human joint motions. The objective of the project is to design, model and fabricate an upper extremity sleeve integrated with these clutches. This project will entail a study of the surface interactions between various fabric substrates and the upper limb. Drawing on established design principles for orthotics, the student will present ergonomic solutions for the strategic placement of the clutches on the sleeve.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): MA ME MT MX SV
Type of work: 30% theory; 50% modelling; 20% design
Requirements: Matlab, Simulink/OpenSim, Solidworks
Subject(s): Biomechanics, Mechanics of Materials. Design
Responsible(s): Vivek Ramachandran, Carine Rognon, Amy Wu
Report: Click here
 

Smart Variable Stiffness Fibers for Soft Robotics

Ece Ozelci (ME)

Variable stiffness components (i.e components that change their stiffness and deformability under a specific stimulus) can be used in soft robotics structures to increase deformability and adaptability of the system while minimizing actuation components. In this context, we want to develop a variable stiffness component by using low melting point materials (alloys, polymers) encapsulated in soft materials (elastomers, textiles): the stiffness change is here due to the phase change (solid to liquid and vice versa) of the low melting point material, which is triggered by thermal energy.  In order to achieve better controllability, heating and cooling systems will be designed and integrated in the variable stiffness component. For example, microfluidic channels can be fabricated around a variable stiffness component and can be used as cooling systems. To fabricate them, 2D, 3D printing, laser machining, material patterning and heterogeneous material assembling technology can be used. The component and systems should be designed with consideration on a targeting application, and developed. The component performance (e.g heating and cooling times and control schemes) should be tested and optimized. We most welcome email contact for exploring ideas and discussing project details.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory and design, 50% fabrication, 20% evaluation
Requirements: Heat transfer, Dielectrics, Electromechanical devices
Subject(s): Variable stiffness, Tensegrity robot
Responsible(s): Seunghee Jeong , Davide Zappetti, Jun Shintake
Report: Click here
 

Simulation model of upper body movement with kinetic assistance

Alaa Bakr Maghrabi (MT)

As part of a collaborative study with the BioRobotics Laboratory (BioRob), one of our research goals is to facilitate intuitive teleoperation of mobile robots. The approach that we have adopted involves mapping the degrees of freedom of the human torso to those of an aerial robot, and providing kinetic feedback based on this configuration, to assist the user in controlling the drone’s trajectory. To validate the user’s response to varying force feedback, we have developed a Simulink model of the torso and the upper body as a simple inverted pendulum. While this model serves as a good rudimentary platform for our analysis, we would like to develop a new model in OpenSim, a software platform that is built specifically for biomechanical systems analyses. The goal of this project is to build a human model and carry out a comparative study of the forward dynamics predicted by the two simulated systems with those measured during subject tests. Students should have some experience with Matlab and Simulink. Experience with OpenSim would be advantageous but is not required. Students will be co-advised with Amy Wu from BioRob.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 31.01.2018
Section(s): ME MT SV
Type of work: 20% theory, 10% hardware, 70% software
Requirements: Matlab and Simulink
Subject(s): Dynamics Model, Programming, Robotics, Simulator
Responsible(s): Vivek Ramachandran, Amy Wu
Report: Click here

Soft active joint for human assistance

Jules, Mertens (CH)

Worldwide an increased demand for assistance and rehabilitation technologies is driven by the advent of an aging society. Assistance of limbs joints movements is one of the most important for a user. However, it is complex to design and functionalize a lightweight and flexible solution able to guide and allow mobility of the user at the same time. We seek to develop a wearable, compliant and lightweight tensegrity active joint for human limbs assistance. At first, the student will investigate state of the art upper limb wearable assistive robotic devices. Secondly, he/she will design and fabricate a wearable actuated tensegrity joint based on an available passive structure involving the usage of 3D printing technologies. Finally, the performances of the actuated soft wearable module will be assessed in terms of weight, compliance, and actuation forces.

Type: Semester project
Period: 28.09.2017 - 28.01.2018
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 70% hardware
Requirements: CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar), good understanding of mechanisms
Subject(s): soft robotics, wearable robots
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Jun Shintake, Rognon Carine
Report: Click here
 

A Software for Motion Tracking and Acquisition of Biometric Signals from Wearable Systems

Hugo Elysée Arthur Meyer (MT)

Wearable sensors are a relatively young technology which has been object of great interest for several industrial, clinical and research applications in the past years. One of the main limitation in this field is the lack of a complete and versatile environment for the interface of such devices. In the LIS we are planning to move a first step towards a unified framework for wearable technology, to allow the user to handle in a simple and rapid way the interface with wearable systems of different nature from multiple suppliers. The main goals of this project can be summarised as it follows: • Development of drivers for a set of different devices (IMUs and EMGs) • Design and development of a basic Graphic User Interface for the interaction with the hardware and the signal readout • Real time data storage and graphic output consisting in plots and 3D visualization of motion tracking and biometric signals. The interdisciplinary nature of the tasks would allow the student to learn how to tackle issues in several fields of engineering such as programming, hardware interfacing, signal processing, 3D graphics. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 12.01.2018
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 10%+theory +20%+hardware +70%+software
Requirements: python+or+java
Subject(s): wearable+devices +hardware+interfacing +signal+acquisition+and+processing +graphics
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Anand Bhaskaran
Report: Click here

Modelling the Neuromuscular system and the Kinematics of the Human Body

Johann Hêches (MT)

Wearable sensors have become very popular in many applications such as medical, entertainment, security, and commercial fields. In the LIS, our goal is to develop a unified framework to allow the user to easily design and prototype experiments and application exploiting this kind of technology. In order to do this, and accurate model of the human body needs to be prepared and implemented as a 3D avatar for the tool. The main phases of the project can be summarised as it follows: • Study and production of a preliminary report (3-5p.) of the state of the art of wearable systems: sensors and actuators, technology, placement on the body, signal acquisition and processing. • Analysis of biomechanical aspects for a kinematic model of the human body. • Analysis of the human neuromuscular structure for the accurate placement of sensors and actuators. • Implementation of the acquired knowledge in the production of a 3D virtual model of the human body, on which a set of sensors (visualised as simple markers) can be applied. The model needs to be scalable and adjustable to different body structures. • As an additional task, the student can propose a tool or a procedure to automatically adapt the appearance of the avatar to different persons. Applicants are encouraged to contact directly the reference person for the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2017 - 12.01.2018
Section(s): IN MT SV
Type of work: 40% theory, 30% modelling, 30% software
Requirements: python or java, preferably
Subject(s): wearable devices, modelling, biometric signals, graphics
Responsible(s): Matteo Macchini, Seunghee Jeong
Report: Click here

Development of a biotensegrity mobile robot

Timothée Peter (MT)

Biotensegrity could be a novel design principle for bio-inspired mobile robots. The aim of this project is to proof this concept through development of a bio-inspired mobile robot using tensegrity structure. The robot will consist of a tensegrity structure driven by a servo motor. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible person for more detail.

Type: Semester project
Period: 17.09.2017 - 22.12.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks, 3D printing
Subject(s): Bio-inspired robots, tensegrity
Responsible(s): Jun Shintake, Davide Zappetti, Yusuke Ikemoto
Report: Click here
 

Development of a smart materials based actuation for soft modular robots

Sébastien Rosat (ME)

Modular robots that can change morphology through re-assembly are a robust and versatile solution in situations where multiple tasks are required and the operating environment is not well defined or even unknown. Soft modules can be implemented in such systems to display physical compliance providing safer and better interaction of these robots with the environment. Moreover, the body softness provides a very high robustness absorbing high mechanical shocks. We seek to develop a soft actuator technology based on smart materials to improve such robots in terms of robustness and compliance. At first, the student will investigate state of the art smart materials based actuators. Secondly, he will design and fabricate an actuation mechanism, and implement it in an available prototype of soft modular robot developed in our lab. Finally, the performances of the actuated soft modular robot will be assessed in terms of deformability, robustness and force.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2017 - 20.12.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory 70% hardware
Requirements: smart and novel materials, good understanding of mechanisms, CAD (Inventor, SolidWorks or similar)
Subject(s): smart materials, soft robots, modular robots
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Jun Shintake
Report: Click here

Indoor speed estimation for a contact tolerant drone

Simon Pyroth (MT)

Flyability redefines UAV boundaries and brings drones indoors, in complex and confined spaces, and in contact with people. Our goal is to shape the future of the drone market through innovation and commercialization of novel products changing how people work, play and communicate. Flyability is an investor-backed tech-focused company which has received multiple awards and has a worldwide recognition. Flyability’s first product, Elios, is designed for industrial inspection professionals who can now get access for the first time to complex places in seconds without risk. The goal of this master project is to work on potential future technologies for the next Flyability drone. The primary focus will be researching and prototyping sensing solutions which would allow the drone to estimate it’s current speed in unstructured industrial environments. Some of the tasks will include: - Studying the state of the art of sensors which could be used for position or speed estimation. - Testing and evaluating various sensors and evaluation kits, such as optical flow and inertial sensors. - Creating prototypes of possible solutions, including electrical design and software. - Performing tests to assess and compare the performance of various solutions in different environmental conditions. - Choosing the most appropriate solution and providing guidelines for the implementation of this solution on the next Flyability product. As this master project is focusing on the development of future technologies for future products, the student should be conscious that the scope of this internship can be redefined from time to time to fit better-emerging ideas.

Type: Master project
Period: 25.01.2017 - 25.08.2017
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 30% theory, 30% software, 40% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): state estimation, sensor fusion
Responsible(s): Julien Lecoeur, Ludovic Daler and Alexandre Pabouctsidis
Report: Click here

Design and manufacturing of a slack-enabling tendon drive for soft upper-limb exosuit

Alexandre Moscardini (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. A way of doing it is using cable driven actuation. One drawback of this actuation is that the tension should always be maintained in the tendon to prevent derailment from the spool. The goal of this project is to develop and test a slack-enabling tendon drive. As this device will be integrated in a wearable device, it has to be small, lightweight, passive and the friction should be minimized., During this project, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and extensively tested (optimization of the size and weight, system reactivity, friction …).

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 20.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Mechanics, Wearables, cable actuation
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Stefano Mintchev
Report: Click here

Design, manufacturing and testing of a bidirectional glove

Hugo Viard (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive interfaces to interact with distal robots. To improve the control, we aim to develop portable bidirectional interface that can command distal robots and receive haptic feedback from them. The goal of this project is to develop and control a smart bidirectional glove. This glove will sense finger movements using liquid metal sensors, and will give back pressure sensation (such as in case of gripping an object) using fishing line actuators. During this semester project, the student will have to get familiarized with human proprioception, study and develop both the sensing and the actuation parts. He will have to integrate both device in a fully functional glove. The issue of the high temperature for the actuation will have to be solved. The student will also have to make the control (reading sensors and actuations) and to do extensive tests on the interface performances.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 20.06.2017
Section(s): MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: Electronic is an advantage
Subject(s): Soft robotic, haptic feedback, sensor, wearable
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Alice Tonazzini
Report: Click here
 

Fabrication and characterization of low cost ultra stretchable sensors

Egor Piskarev (MA)

We have developed a low cost ultra stretchable sensor. The next step is to characterize the sensor performance in order to apply this technology to robotic applications. The student will work on: 1) Fabrication of the sensor. 2) Characterization of the sensor in terms of strain, cycle, and repeatability. 3) (optional) If the project goes quickly, there will be chance to prototype a robotic application.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): MA
Type of work: 25% theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft robotics, stretchable electronics
Responsible(s): Jun Shintake
Report: Click here
 

Variable stiffness t-shirt for wearable human-robot interfaces

Louai Bensaid (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we develop variable stiffness fabrics to be used in wearable human-robot interfaces. The goal of this project is to develop a prototype of a self-adaptable t-shirt capable to vary its stiffness and deformability: in the soft state, the t-shirt should softly conform to the morphology of the user, like a normal elastic t-shirt. Then, once adopted the user morphology, it should become stiff and not deformable in order to rigidly maintain the adopted shape and block any further movement, like a carapace. Such a smart t-shirt has to be lightweight and portable. During this project, the student will study a specific variable stiffness strategy (i.e. layer jamming) and will design, manufacture and test a functional prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): MA MT MX
Type of work: 20%theorie, 30% experiments, 50% hardware
Requirements:
Subject(s): Wearable robotics, soft robotics, variable stiffness
Responsible(s): Alice Tonazzini, Carine Rognon
Report: Click here
 

2016


Symbiotic User Interface between the fly jacket and a commercial drone

Cyril Stuber (MT)

Drones are becoming ubiquitous in our daily lives and are challenging us to develop new avenues of interactions. Existing interfaces such as joysticks and remote controllers require training and constant cognitive effort and provide a limited degree of awareness of the robots’ state and its environment. At the laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are developing a new immersive and intuitive interface that allows novice and experienced users to fly drones. The setup uses a “fly jacket” that tracks user hand gestures and provides visual feedback from a camera mounted on the drone. The goal of this project is to interface the fly jacket with a commercial drone. A first objective of the thesis is to develop the required hardware and software to interface the fly jacket and the drone. A second objective is to ensure a safe interaction with the drone. This will encompass automatic take-off and landing, geo-fencing, stable flight guarantee, etc. A third objective is to tune the level of aggressiveness of the drone during flight. An integrated system and demonstration is expected by the end of this project.

Type: Master project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 17.06.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 10% theory, 70% software, 10% hardware
Requirements: Programming, aerodynamics, natural interface
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Natural User Interaction
Responsible(s): Alexandre Cherpillod, Grégoire Hilaire Marie
Report: Click here

Highlight of geo-referenced information during flight

Lucas Monnin (IN)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By developing a bidirectional interaction we obtain a simpler interaction and allow more people to fly. In our solution, the human is flying a fixed-wing drone using his upper body gestures and at the same time is having a visual and a haptic feedback. The sensors to monitor the gestures and the actuators are embedded in a 'flight jacket' the user is wearing. The goal of this project is to develop relevant tools to be able to use the fly jacket in search and rescue scenarios. In simulation, a quadcopter will first be designed and used with the fly jacket. Then, highlights of geo-referenced information such as interest/hazard spots triggered by an external device will be implemented. This will then be tested with a real quadcopter using augmented reality. Simulation and reality tests will conclude the success of this project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 17.06.2017
Section(s): IN MT SC
Type of work: 100% software
Requirements: Programming, aerodynamics, natural interface
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Simulation
Responsible(s): Alexandre Cherpillod, Grégoire Hilaire Marie
Report: Click here

Development of a soft, jumping robot

Grégoire Besson (MT)

Locomotion on rough terrain is a difficult task for robots of small in size, such as those used for inspection or search and rescue scenarios. To solve this problem, several small animals in nature use jumping as their main means of locomotion. We seek to develop a novel type of soft jumping robot composed of a deformable body., At first, the student will analyze state of art solutions of jumping robots. Secondly he/she will develop and manufacture an actuation system for an available prototype of a deformable and lightweight, smart structure developed in our lab. Thirdly, a simple controller will be developed and tested to perform jumps and angled jumps. Finally, the prototype will be tested to assess the jumping capability, the speed and jumping angle precision.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.02.2017 - 15.06.2017
Section(s): MA ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory 30% research 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar, microcontroller programming, good understanding of mechanisms
Subject(s): Jumping robots, soft robots
Responsible(s): Davide Zappetti, Jun Shintake
Report: Click here

Design and Manufacturing of Foldable Wings Based on Layer Jamming

Guglielmo Milan (ME)

Aerial robots provide valuable support in several high-risk scenarios thanks to their capability to quickly fly to locations dangerous or even inaccessible to humans. In order to fully benefit from these features, aerial robots should be easy to transport and rapid to deploy. One solution to solve this transportation issue is to reduce the size of the drones. The shortcoming is a reduction in payload capabilities and in flight time. Therefore, foldable structures, which can be packaged for transportation and quickly deployed for operation, are a promising solution to enable full benefits from the potential of flying platforms. The goal of this project is to develop foldable wings for small sized flying robots (wingspan 0.5-1 m) based on layer jamming. Layer jamming is instrumental in stiffening the wing in the deployed configuration ensuring load bearing capabilities. First, an analysis of the state of the art on jamming technologies and origami wing will be done. Then, based on this analysis a design will be proposed and a prototype of the foldable wing will be manufactured. Finally, static tests and flight tests will be performed to assess the design and suggest improvements. The goal of the test is to assess the deployment (folding and unfolding) time, the volume reduction and the wing weight and stiffness.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar
Subject(s): Aerial Robots, Foldable mechanism
Responsible(s): Stefano Mintchev, Vivek Ramachandran
Report: Click here

Design of a Disposable Robot for Exploration in Search and Rescue Scenarios

Jérémie Willemin (MT)

The robots currently recruited for search and rescue missions are very complex and expensive machines, hence fragile and difficult to deploy on the field. A different approach consists in deploying a swarm of minimalistic and inexpensive robots capable to rapidly explore the environment in order to stream vital information to the rescuers. For example, the robots can penetrate the disaster zone and go beneath the rubble where their sound, heat, motion and CO2 sensors can be used to detect signs of life. Using as a starting point an available prototype of disposable flying robot, the goal of this project is twofold: to improve the mechanical design of the robot aiming at ensuring locomotion in uneven environments; and to implement a control strategy for random locomotion. At first the student will analyze state of the art solutions in the field of swarm robotics for search and rescue missions. Secondly the student will improve the mechanical design of the available prototype focusing on weight reduction, ease of manufacturing and crash resilience. Thirdly, a simple flight controller will be developed and tested. Finally, the student will perform tests to assess the performances (weight, resilience, operation time) of the prototype.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.02.2017 - 02.06.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: Solidworks or similar, programming, aerodynamics
Subject(s): Swarm robotics, Aerial robotics
Responsible(s): Stefano Mintchev, Zappetti Davide
Report: Click here

Foldable wings for VTOL UAVs to facilitate storage and transportation

Cameron Dowd (CH)

Since Africa is growing too fast to build out its road network, some goods will have to be supplied from the sky. We believe Africa will be the first continent to build out unmanned air cargo at massive scale.

That is why Laboratory of Intelligent Systems collaborate with the "Red/Blue Line" flying robot consortium (http://afrotech.epfl.ch/page-115280-en.html) which is a spin-off of Afrotech based at EPFL (http://afrotech.epfl.ch). Consortium aims to set up the first flight-cargo robot route in Africa by 2016. It will be about 80 kilometres long and will connect several towns and villages. The first use case will be to fly units of blood from a centralized blood bank to peripheral health clinics. By bringing blood to severely anaemic young children and mothers, as well as to trauma patients, the route will prove that autonomous flight can save lives.,

The goal of this project is to design foldable wings to facilitate storage and transportation of VTOL platforms used for transportation by Red Line.

The project will involve two important parts:

Identification of different solutions of mechanical structures taking into account scalability – different sizes of the platforms for different payloads.

The second part will address the investigation of materials and manufacturing technologies that could be used for different sizes of VTOL platforms.

This project will involve dimensioning, CAD design and simulations of foldable wings. Proposed foldable mechanism should be manufactured and tested in order to assess the design and suggest improvements.

Type: Master project
Period: 21.09.2016 - 15.02.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: CAD software, mechanical knowledge
Subject(s): Flying Robots, Foldable structures, lightweight materials, fixed wing platforms
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Stefano Mintchev
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Development of a novel type of bio-inspired underwater robot

Thibaut Paschal (MT)

We seek to develop a novel type of bio-inspired underwater robot capable of multiple swimming modes. The robot will consist of silicone based soft body actuated by servo motors powered either tethered or untethered condition. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible persons for more detail.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 18.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft robotics, underwater robots, bio-inspired robots
Responsible(s): Jun Shintake, Stefano Mintchev
Report: Click here

Soft actuators based on a new material

Egor Piskarev (MA)

We recently developed a new material for soft robotics. Our next step is to create a soft actuator out of this material. In this project organized between LIS and RRL, the student is expected to (1) characterize the mechanical property of the material using a mechanical tester, (2) fabricate a pneumatic soft bending actuator by reference to methods available in literature, and (3) characterize the actuator in terms of bending angle and force using an existing setup. The set up may be needed to modify according to the specification of the actuator. For more details, please contact the responsible person.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 15.01.2017
Section(s): EL MA ME MT MX
Type of work: 80+%+hardware +20+%+theory
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft+robotics +pneumatic+actuator
Responsible(s): Jun Shintake, Harshal Sonar
Report: Click here
 

Wind speed measurement and wind audio feedback for aerial robots

Tristan Besson (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By designing a bidirectional interface between a human and a drone, we allow more people to use the interface in a simpler way. At LIS, we also aim to develop aerial robots capable of monitoring their environment for different tasks such as search and rescue, environmental monitoring and inspection. The goal of this project is to design a solution to measure the wind speed and to use the same hardware to record the sound of the wind and to transmit it to the ground user. Indeed both of these functions require engine noise removal. This project will be based on a previous semester project which only adressed the speed measurement. A hardware setup will be built and signal processing will be used. The whole system will be testd on a real flying platorm by the end of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% hardware, 40% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Human Drone Inteface, Flying Robotics
Responsible(s): Alexandre Cherpillod, Grégoire Hilaire Marie , Meysam Basiri
Report: Click here

Gimbal camera with on-screen display

Cyrill Baumann (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), we aim to bring the human closer to the drone. By designing a bidirectional interface between a human and a drone, we allow more people to use the interface in a simpler way., The visual feedback is an important component to have immersion. This has to mimick head orientation and be able to display other desired information. The goal of this project is to design a 3-axis gimbal camera and to add specific on-screen information to the video displayed in the Oculus Rift DK2. Based on maxon motors, a given controller board and a tiny camera, the mechanical design of the gimbal will have to be designed. Then, the image received on a computer will be added custom display information such as the level of battery, etc. The setup will be tested in real experiment at the end of the project.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL ME MT
Type of work: 50% hardware, 50% software
Requirements:
Subject(s): Human Drone Inteface, Visual feedback
Responsible(s): Alexandre Cherpillod, Przemyslaw Kornatowski
Report: Click here

Automated Flight Test of MAV

Dalmir Hasic (IN)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing an autopilot software for drones. Since the development of this software is continuous, frequent testing is crucial to assure functionality. In this project, the student will develop an automatic testing procedure for the autopilot software. The testing software should perform flight tests (in simulation and reality) to assure the autopilot is fully functional and measure its performances, such as needed time for a mission and trajectory error. The software should then output a comprehensive report about the test results. The student will determine the testing procedure and the performance metrics. He/she will then implement the automatic testing and define the format of the resulting report. The testing should then be included in the development workflow (github).

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 20% theory;, 80% software;
Requirements: Programming (C++)
Subject(s): Drones, Autopilot, Testing
Responsible(s): Basil Huber, Julien Lecoeur
Report: Click here
 

Creating a Ground Control Station Software for Drones

Arthur Pierre Philippe Hervé Gay (MT)

Ground control software is a key part of the operation of Drones. It allows to monitor the current state of the Drone, plot and log telemetry data, and also send commands to the drone. Current ground control station are generally large pieces of software, which are difficult to set-up and modify for custom needs. The student will improve and extend a ground control software that was developed by a student during the spring semester. The focus of the project is to adapt the software to the needs of the laboratory while being compatible with various open source software.

Type: Semester project
Period: 19.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN MT
Type of work: 80%+programming +20%+experiments
Requirements: programming:+python ++javascript +html +css
Subject(s): Human-Drone+interface
Responsible(s): Basil Huber, Julien Lecoeur
Report: Click here
URL: Click here
 

Implementing a grammar for RoboGen body evolution

Carlos Malanche+Flores (MA)

RoboGen™ is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains. It features an evolution engine, and a physics simulation engine. The goal of the project is to implement new encoding methods for RoboGen robot body descriptions which makes morphology mutations more natural and efficient in terms of exploration of the search space.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): EL IN ME MT MX PH SC
Type of work: 40%+Theory+60%+Software
Requirements: C/C+++Programming +Artificial+Evolution
Subject(s): Artificial+Evolution, Genetic Algorithms, Programming
Responsible(s): Alice Concordel, Basil Huber, Josh Auerbach
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Creating more flexible parts in the RoboGen simulator

Gaël Gorret (MT)

RoboGen™ is an open source platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains. It features an evolution engine, and a physics simulation engine. Learn more at www.robogen.org The goal of the project is to restructure how parts are defined in the simulator, in order to make it easier to create new parts with more flexible parameters. The simulator is coded with C, .

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 13.01.2017
Section(s): IN SC
Type of work: 20%+Theory +80%+Software
Requirements: C/C+++Programming +Simulation
Subject(s): Programming +Simulation +Physics-based+simulation
Responsible(s): Alice Concordel, Basil Huber, Joshua Auerbach
Report: Click here
URL: Click here

Design, manufacturing and control of a kinetic feedback device for the torso

Valérie Céline Springmann (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. The goal of this project is to develop and control a device to give kinetic feedback at the torso level in bending motion (front, back, right and left). The device has to be lightweight, user-friendly, and given forces tunable., This project deals with human proprioception, mechanics, and electronics. Based on the knowledge acquired during a study of the human torso proprioception, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, human-robot interaction
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Stefano Mintchev
Report: Click here

Development of a novel adaptive drone

Maimun Al-Tayar (MT)

We seek to develop a novel type of quadcopter capable of carrying objects of different shapes and sizes by adapting its stretchable, soft silicone body. In the robot, the object is held by contraction force generated from the stretched body. In other words, the object provides rigidity to the robot to fly stable. The student is expected to develop a prototype through literature review, designing, fabrication, and characterization. Please contact the responsible persons for more detail. Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Jun Shintake, Stefano Mintchev

Type: Semester project
Period: 10.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 25 % theory, 75 % hardware
Requirements: Solidworks
Subject(s): Soft robotics, flying robots
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Jun Shintake
Report: Click here

Design and manufacturing of an active arm support to receive haptic feedback from a drone

Matthieu Boubat (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we are investigating the development of more intuitive and immersive controllers for drones. To boost immersion, we aim to develop portable feedback interface to transmit haptic feedback from the drone to the user. The goal of this project is to develop and manufacture an active arm support. This device as two functions: to support that arm to prevent fatigue and to give kinetic feedback for the abduction movement. In addition, it has to be lightweight, wearable, user-friendly, and given forces tunable., This project deals with human proprioception, mechanics, and electronics. Based on the knowledge acquired during a study of the human arm proprioception, the student will propose different solutions and a prototype will be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): ME MT
Type of work: 20% theory, 50% hardware, 30% experiment
Requirements: SolidWorks is an advantage
Subject(s): Haptic feedback, human robot interaction, exoskeleton
Responsible(s): Carine Rognon, Stefano Mintchev
Report: Click here

Voice assistance for delivery drones

Nicolas Winteler (MT)

At the LIS we are developing a drone for fast transportation of different packages to individual users. We would like to implement within a drone a system of voice communication/information in order to help user to interact with a drone during procedures of: landing, removing a package from a drone and taking off.

The first task of this project is to implement on a drone system that will allow users for voice communication in a real time. This feature will help user to interact with the drone in case of any problems during the last phase of the delivery. This task will require to interface an appropriate microphone and a lightweight powerful speaker with a GSM module to send and receive signals on a long distances.

Implementation of GSM module will require to adapt/write algorithms for voice communication. Second task is to develop an algorithm that will filter the sound of propellers and allow users for voice communication during the landing or take off procedure. This task will require to use additional electronic platform for computation and interface it with electronics from the task one.

The last but not least assignment will be to implement voice instructions for the recipient of the package for different steps of the delivery.

Type: Semester project
Period: 10.09.2016 - 10.01.2017
Section(s): EL MT
Type of work: 30%+theory +50%+software +20%+hardware
Requirements: Programming +signal+processing +PCB+design+
Subject(s): Flying+Robot ++transportation +sound+filtration +voice+communication
Responsible(s): Przemyslaw Kornatowski, Grégoire Hilaire Marie
Report: Click here

Variable stiffness wearable cast

Lucie Gabrielle Sarah Houel (MT)

Orthopedic casts have to be breathable, lightweight, fully conformable to the patient anatomy and stiff enough to support the injured body part. The goal of this project is to develop a wearable orthopedic cast made of variable stiffness fiber, that can be easily worn and removed like a sleeve; this cast will allow an easy removal (definitive / temporary for diagnosis or for adapting to a less swollen injured area) and therefore it will be re-used (by the same patient or others) .Technological solutions in the fields of variable stiffness have be studied and the requirements for a safe wearability have to be taken into account; a prototype has to be designed, fabricated and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2016 - 31.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30% theory, 50% hardware and manufacturing, 20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft and wearable devices, Materials, Mechanics
Responsible(s): Alice Tonazzini, Stefano Mintchev
 

Robotic fabric for next generation human-robot interfaces

Lea Bole-Feysot (MT)

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) we aim to develop multifunctional tissues that integrate sensing and actuation. Those tissues enable a wide range of applications, from rehabilitation exosuits to wearable human-robot interfaces. The goal of this project is to develop a proof-of-concept fabric capable to conform to a curved surface (e.g. human arm) and sense its deformation; the fabric has to be actuated, lightweight and breathable. Technological solutions in the fields of wearable sensors, fiber-like actuators and textile manufacturing have be studied; once selected the ones suitable for the targeted application, a prototype has to be designed, manufactured, and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 15.09.2016 - 31.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 30%theory +50%hardware and manufacturing +20% experiments
Requirements:
Subject(s): Soft and wearable devices, Materials, Mechanics
Responsible(s): Alice Tonazzini, Carine Rognon
 

Development of a Quadcopter with Adaptive Morphology

Benjamin Vincent Camile Bonnal (MT)

Morphology plays an important role in behavioral and locomotion strategies of living and artificial systems. There is biological evidence that adaptive morphological changes can not only extend dynamic performances by reducing trade-offs during locomotion, but also provide new functionalities. The goal of the project is to develop a quadcopter that exploits adaptive morphology: i) for folding for ease of storage and transportation, ii) for achieving different modes of flight that can enable critical and opposing requirements such as maneuverability and efficiency. Based on available technologies for morphing that have been developed at LIS, the student will: i) design a prototype, ii) manufacture a prototype, iii) assess the results.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 18.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 40% mechanical designs, 30% hardware and manufacturing, 10% experiments
Requirements: CAD (Solidworks preferred), Basic electronics and programming
Subject(s): Flying robotics, , Multi-Modal Locomotion
Responsible(s): Stefano Mintchev

Design and Control of a Foldable Quadcopter

Frédérick Matthieu  Gusset (MT)

Aerial robots provide a valuable support in several high-risk scenarios thanks to their capability to rapidly fly in locations dangerous or even inaccessible to humans. In order to fully benefit from these features, aerial robots should be easy to transport and rapid to deploy. With this aim, at LIS we have developed a novel pocket sized quadrotor with foldable arms. The quadrotor can be packaged for transportation by folding its arms around the main frame. Before flight, the quadrotor’s arms self-deploy in 0.3 second. Using as a starting point the available prototype and control algorithms, the goal of this project is twofold: to add mechanical protections that improve collision resilience; and to implement stabilization algorithms to hold altitude and to recover stability after being launched in the air by hand. At first the student will analyze state of the art solutions in the field of origami robotics, foldable structures and variable stiffness materials. Secondly the student will design and manufacture a prototype of the foldable arms/frame. Finally, the controller will be developed and tested.

Type: Semester project
Period: 20.09.2016 - 16.12.2016
Section(s): ME MT MX
Type of work: 20% theory, 30% research, 50% hardware
Requirements: CAD (better if SolidWorks), C
Subject(s): Origami robotics, Foldable mechanisms
Responsible(s): Stefano Mintchev, Grégoire Hilaire Marie
URL: Click here