The Michigan Engineer News Center

Dmitry Berenson helps robots play nice with people

Putting our arm movements into code.| Short Read

Prof. Dmitry Berenson wants robots to help us out – anywhere, any time. In order to do so, he’s working with state of the art equipment to design algorithms for robotic manipulation. These algorithms could turn a hunk of metal into a useful household assistant.

Prof. Berenson’s research focuses on creating algorithms that allow robots to interact with the world and collaborate efficiently with people. He hopes to apply these motion planning and manipulation algorithms to robots that work in homes, factories, and operating rooms.

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His group, called the Autonomous Robotic Manipulation Lab (ARM Lab), works on all aspects of algorithm development, including creating efficient algorithms, proving their theoretical properties, validating them on real-world robots and problems, integrating them with sensing and higher-level reasoning, and distributing them to open-source communities. He is currently working with five graduate students and three undergrads.

Some of their current projects include manipulation of deformable objects (such as cloth and cooking ingredients), locomotion planning, human-robot collaboration on manipulation, and grasping in cluttered environments. All of these tackle skills robots will need to master in order to interact safely and reliably in human environments.

Prof. Berenson joined the ECE faculty in Fall 2016. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley before joining Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2012 as an Assistant Professor in the Robotics Engineering Program and Computer Science Department. He received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career award in 2016. Dmitry joined the faculty September 2016.

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Catharine June
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  • Dmitry Berenson

    Dmitry Berenson

    Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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