Nerd Nite September: The Welcome Back Edition
Aaand we’re back! After a lovely summer break, Nerd Nite Boston is ready for fall and all the nerdy lectures that come with it.
Talk 1 – “Building like termites: Bio-inspired robotic construction” by Paul Kassabian
Traditional human construction relies on detailed structural design, careful sequencing of assembly steps, and extensive top-down coordination of workers. By contrast, builders in nature construct large-scale structures through the actions of many independent agents with no centralized control. These structures are built in ways responsive to features of the local environment and the changing needs of the group. What if we could develop autonomous robots that could achieve this? This talk will present the start of this development…
Paul is a structural engineer who designs unique structures at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) and teaches graduate engineering students at MIT in the Fall and Harvard’s GSD in the Spring. His current projects include various structures with innovative materials and behavior using SGH’s in-house lab that are on the cutting edge of both structural systems and materials. He is also working with Harvard’s Wyss Institute on a robotics project related to their TERMES work.
Talk 2: Back by popular demand, – “How to Teach a Robot to Bake Cookies” by Mario Bollini
A return of a March 2014 talk on teaching a robot to bake cookies, or in academic speak, it will discuss “motion and task planning for a mobile manipulator in semi-structured human environments.” It will tell the heartwarming story of a robot that yearned to leave the lab and enter the kitchen, punctuated with every roadblock reality placed in its path.
Mario Bollini is a local entrepreneur who earned his Master’s degree from MIT by teaching a robot to autonomously bake. He currently is the Chief Technology officer of GRIT, a local social enterprise that designs off-road wheelchairs for developing countries. He is also the founder of Democratech, a local design collaborative that crowd-funded Sprout, a plantable pencil that can grow into flowers and herbs.