New England Manipulation Symposium

Hosted by:

Srinivas Akella, Wes Huang, Jeff Trinkle, and John Wen

Room 102 Lally Hall

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY 12180

May 25, 2005


The Goals

The robotics groups at the University of Massachusetts ( and RPI ( have a strong common interest in robotic manipulation, but tend to approach problems in very different ways. The main goals of this meeting were to exploit our geographic proximity to explore our common research interests and give students the opportunity to network and present their work.



(Click on the speaker's name to download slides.)

10:00 - 10:15    Introductions
10:15 - 10:40    Grupen, Brock - Overview of UMass robotics program and research
10:45 - 11:10    Trinkle, Akella, Wen, Huang - Overview of RPI robotics program and research
11:10 - 11:30    Nilanjan Chakraborty (RPI)- collision detection
11:30 - 11:50    Brendon Burns (UMass) - whole-body collision-free motion planning
11:50 -   1:10    Lunch and lab tours
  1:10 -   1:30    Rob Platt (UMass) - whole-body manipulation
  1:30 -   1:50    Guanfeng Liu (RPI) - exact motion planning for closed chains
  1:50 -   2:10    Steve Hart (UMass) - mining feedback to inform manipulation control
  2:10 -   2:30    John Sweeney (UMass) - acquiring assembly programs by demonstration
  2:30 -   2:50    Rafael Quintanilla (RPI) - Learning in Precision Motion Control

  3:00                UMass guys head for home


Participants and Email Addresses


Oliver Brock (

TJ Brunette (

Brendon Burns (

Patrick Deegan (

Rod Grupen (

Steve Hart (

Emily Horrell (

Shichao Ou (

Rob Platt (

Shiraj Sen (

John Sweeney (

Bryan Thibodeau (

Yuandong Yang (


Srinivas Akella (

Arjun Arumbakkam (

Kris Beevers (

Steve Berard (

Nilanjan Chakraborty (

Jon Fink (

Wes Huang (

Guanfeng Liu (

Eric Meisner (

Rafael Quintanilla (

Evan Shecter (

Jeff Trinkle (

John Wen (


Barry Bharathm (bharathm-at-


            Ke Xu ()



Driving Directions

From Massachusetts:  I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike, Berkshire Spur of the New York Thruway), take exit B1. Continue west (13.5 miles) to the exit for I-787. Take I-787 north to Route 7 east (Do not confuse this with exit 7E.  The exit number is 9E).  From Route 7 east (also Hoosick Street), make a right turn onto 15th Street (on your left is a Hess gas station and mini food mart). Follow 15th Street about 1/2 mile to campus.  Continue on 15th street making the first possible left after going under the pedestrian bridge.  After an immediate left and right, you will be at a crosswalk between the Meuller Center on your right and the Visitors’ Information Center on your left.  After another 30 feet, turn left into the visitors’ parking lot (before the high-tech, sensor-controlled, 1-dof access arm).  Park and go to the Visitors’ Information Center to get parking permits and a map of campus.


Walking Directions

Walk across the pedestrian bridge and follow the sidewalk more or less straight.  The football field will be on your right.  Continue past the first building beyond the football field (the Green Building).  The next building is Lally.