Tim Bretl: Three surprises and a story of prison education | CMU RI Seminar

23 March 2019

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Abstract: “I will talk about three results that surprised me. First, I will show that the free configuration space of an elastic wire is path-connected, a result that makes easy a manipulation planning problem that was thought to be hard. Second, I will show a linear relationship between stimulation parameters, skin impedance, and sensation intensity in electrotactile stimulation. This result leads to algorithms that keep sensation intensity constant despite large variability in skin impedance, eliminating a longstanding barrier to practical use of electrotactile stimulation for sensory substitution and haptic feedback. Third, I will show you several obvious ways to use fiducial markers – which everybody knows will improve the performance of Structure-from-Motion (SfM) algorithms for vision-based 3D reconstruction – that work poorly. Then, I will show you a simple but less obvious way to use them that seems to work well. I will also talk about my experience teaching two engineering courses – one on robotics, one on control systems – to students incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center, an Illinois state prison. I will tell you why I did it and what I learned.”

John Payne

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