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Yu Gu "Robotics in Real Life"

10:00 am 
March 15, 2024
Room: 270 NCB Hall
Yu Gu, Professor
Faculty Host: Rakesh Kapania 

Abstract: The ability for human designers to foresee uncertainties for robots is severely limited by their experience and mental simulation capabilities. This predictive approach of robot design and programing often fails to handle the infinite possibilities represented by the real world(s). As a result, robots today are job-specific or “rigid”; i.e., having difficulty at handling conditions that were not planned for. Moreover, the current robot designs lack diversity and creativity compared to nature’s creations. During this talk, the speaker will present his vision and ideas on enabling a new generation of robots to adapt to increasingly complex environments and situations. He will draw lessons from two decades of field experiments with uncrewed aircraft systems, planetary rovers, and other types of robots and propose research directions in making future robots more resilient, more diverse in morphology and behaviors, and more useful. 

Bio:  Dr. Yu Gu (Gu) is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University (WVU). His main research interest is in improving robots’ ability to function in increasingly complex environments and situations. Gu is a three-time NASA Centennial Challenge winner and a NASA NIAC Fellow. He has led the design of autonomous robots from one degree of freedom (DOF) to 55 DOF, and from 50mg to 200kg, with applications ranging from robotic pollination to exploring the atmospheres of Venus and Mars. These robots have been to places such as JPL’s Mars yard, Mars Desert Research Station, underground mines, berry farms, and the U.S. Capitol, and were featured in over 160 media stories. Gu also led the initiation and development of the WVU Robotics program.