Dynamic Autonomy and Intelligent Robotics Lab

170B Towne Building, 220 S. 33rd Street, Philadelphia PA, 19104

Welcome to the Dynamic Autonomy and Intelligent Robotics (DAIR) Lab!

Our research centers on control, learning, planning, and analysis of robots as they interact with the world. Whether a robot is assisting within the home, or operating in a manufacturing plant, the fundamental promise of robotics requires touching and affecting a complex environment in a safe and controlled fashion. We are focused on developing computationally tractable and data efficient algorithms which enable robots to operate both dynamically and safely as they quickly maneuver through and interact with their environments.

Right now, we are particularly interested in understanding the interplay between the non-smooth dynamics of contact, machine learning, and numerical optimization, and then testing these techniques on both legged robots and robotic manipulation.

We are proud to be a group within the Penn Engineering GRASP Lab.

Recent Updates

Oct 14, 2023 For the upcoming 2023-2024 application cycle, we will be looking to recruit multiple incoming Ph.D. students across all relevant departments (MEAM, ESE, or CIS). We are dedicated to assembling a dynamic and diverse team of researchers, and actively seek individuals with diverse cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and academic backgrounds. Get more information and apply here.
Oct 9, 2023 It has been a busy stretch for the lab! Two weeks ago, Alp Aydinoglu his Ph.D. thesis, titled “Control of Multi-Contact Systems via Local Hybrid Models.” Alp developed a class of algorithms for the control of multi-contact robotic systems, including MPC strategies that, in real time, are able to plan novel contact sequences. Check out the talk!
Sep 25, 2023 Last week, Yu-Ming Chen defended his Ph.D. thesis! Yu-Ming’s thesis, titled “Toward High-performance Simple Models of Legged Locomotion”, explored the use of optimization and machine learning to computationally discover new and improved simple models that enable performant locomotion while remaining low-dimensional and easy to plan with. Check out the talk!
Aug 20, 2023 We’re excited to be presenting two papers at CoRL this year! “Simultaneous Learning of Contact and Continuous Dynamics,” by Bibit Bianchini and Mathew Halm, builds upon our prior work in data-efficient learning of contact dynamics to jointly learn (and disambiguate) the effects of contact and those of continuous forces, solely by observing an object’s motion. “Vision-Based Contact Localization Without Touch or Force Sensing”, by Leon Kim and Yunshuang Li, with Dinesh Jayaraman, learns to identify and locate extrinsic contact between a held object and the environment. We use a single depth camera view, trained in simulation, and show surprising generality across different domains and the ability to make quality predictions despite occlusions.
Jul 28, 2023 Following his defense, Mathew Halm’s Ph.D. thesis, “Addressing Stiffness-induced Challenges In Modeling and Identification of Rigid Body Systems with Frictional Impact,” is now available here.
Jul 13, 2023 This week, Michael gave an Early Career Spotlight talk at Robotics: Science and Systems in Daegu, South Korea.
Jun 23, 2023 Earlier this week, Mathew Halm was the first DAIR lab member to defend his Ph.D. thesis! Matt’s thesis, titled “Addressing Stiffness-induced Challenges In Modeling and Identification of Rigid Body Systems with Frictional Impact,” made fundamental advances in data-efficient learning of dynamical models for when robots touch the world. Check out the talk!
Jun 2, 2023 Another honor for Alp! Our paper Stabilization of Complementarity Systems via Contact-Aware Controllers , recieved an Honorable Mention for the 2022 IEEE Transactions on Robotics King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Paper Award. Congratulations to Alp and Phil!
May 26, 2023 We are very excited to congratulate our very own Wanxin Jin who has accepted an offer to join Arizona State University as a tenure-track assistant professor in the coming fall. Wanxin has been a postdoc in the lab since 2021 and has done fantastic work on task-driven modeling for manipulation, through our collaboration with TRI. Congratulations Wanxin!
May 16, 2023 Over the last two years, we’ve been thrilled to have an ongoing collaboration with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), particularly with the developers of Drake As this project enters its third year, Michael recently answered some questions about the research results and philosophy. Check out the Penn blog post, When Robots Touch the World or the related Penn news article.
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Lab Wiki (private)