Research on Contextual Design of Adaptive Robotic Manipulators

Welcome to the academic research webpage of Frank L. Hammond III. My research focuses on a variety of topics in robotic manipulation, including underactuated robotic grasping, kinematically redundant manipulation, teleoperative robotic surgery surgical training, sensors and instrumentation for embedded sensing and haptic feedback. The goal of this research is to leverage our knowledge of human and animal motion (locomotion, grasp synergies, robustness to uncertainty and variation), novel embedded sensing and actuation methods (soft sensors, compliant flexures, underactuation), and computational design methods (machine learning, evolutionary optimization) to create robotic devices that boast the versatility and adaptability of biological organisms/manipulators while possessing the precision, strength and speed of man-made machines.

The design of such adaptive robotic devices requires careful selection of mechanical system components, proper design of actuation topologies and morphological configurations, and understanding of the manipulation tasks and medical conditions they are intended to address. Due to the complexity of the intended tasks and the immense size of the device design space, developing these devices is non-trivial and can easily lead to solutions that are expensive, exorbitantly complex, and lacking the intended functionality and versatility. My work demonstrates how use of well-formulated numerical models, simulation methods, optimization frameworks, and the analysis of empirical data can mitigate mechanical complexity and elucidate salient design features to help us arrive at more functional and flexible robotic manipulation devices for a variety of applications.

Latest News

August 20, 2014

Accepted joint faculty position in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

April 7, 2014

Paper on the Estimation of Surgical Needle Shape using Printed Strain Gauge accepted for IEEE/EMBS Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference.

February 6, 2014

Paper on Soft Modular Data Glove for Human Motion and Force Measurement accepted for 2014 IEEE Intl. Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Upcoming Events and Research Milestones

March 1, 2015

Submission deadline for the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Hambrug, Germany (one paper planned)

January 22, 2015

Presentation of Printing Strain Gauges on Surgical Instruments for Force Measurement poster at Design of Medical Devices Conference 2014 and DMD Three-in-Five Competition.

December 23, 2014

Submission target for Soft Robotics Journal, focused on soft sensor embedded pneumatic actuators for control of multi-axis robotic manipulators.

September 15, 2014

Submission deadline for the 2015 International Conference and Robotics and Automation (Two papers planned).