BEST Seminars

Seminars: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

All BEST Lab seminars will be in 230 Hesse Hall (mezzanine design loft), unless otherwise noted. Lunch served for our Friday noon seminar series for students and invited guests. Some talks will be held jointly with the Berkeley Institute of Design seminar series at 354/360 Hearst Mining Building. BEST Lab students can sign up for short presentations.

We are working on being a Zero Waste Lab in 2017. Please adhere to the guidelines. Here is the list of Zero Waste Caterers:

You are also invited to the design practitioner workshops on Friday at 11:00 am in 210 Jacobs Hall for the Fall 2016 semester.

Mark Mueller: Multicopters with fewer propellers, Fri. Dec. 16

Abstract: Multicopters are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, with current and future applications including delivery services, entertainment, and aerial sensing. These systems are expected to be safe and to have a high degree of autonomy. This talk will look at the dynamics and control of multicopter UAVs and on the question of what the minimum number of propellers are for flight. The analysis is applied to create a failsafe controller for a quadcopter experiencing complete failure of an actuator, and to create the “monospinner”, the world’s mechanically simplest controllable flying vehicle (with only one moving part: its single propeller).

Lee-Huang Chen, Soft Spherical Tensegrity Robot Design Using Rod-Centered Actuation and Control, noon-1:00 pm, Fri. Dec. 9

Abstract: This dissertation presents the design, analysis and testing of various actuated modular spherical tensegrity robots for co-robotic and space exploration applications.  Tensegrity structures are of interest in the field of soft robotics due to their flexible and robust nature.  These features make them a robust mobile platform suitable for uneven terrain and unpredictable environments in which traditional robots struggle.  Robots built from tensegrity structures, which are composed of pure tensile and compression elements, have many potential benefits including high robustness through redundancy, many degrees of freedom in movement and flexible design.  However, to fully take advantage of these properties a significant fraction of the tensile elements should be actuated, leading to a potential increase in complexity, messy cable and power routing systems and increased design difficulty.  

The first part of this dissertation presents an elegant solution to a fully actuated tensegrity robot: The TT-3 (version three) tensegrity robot was developed at University of California Berkeley, in collaboration with NASA Ames. The TT-3 is a lightweight, low cost, modular, and rapidly prototyped spherical tensegrity robot.  This dissertation describes in detail the novel design mechanisms, architecture and simulations of TT-3, the first untethered, fully actuated cable-driven six-bar tensegrity spherical robot ever built and tested for mobility.  The second part of this dissertation will present a new platform for prototyping spherical tensegrity robots that significantly reduces the time required for manufacturing and assembly. This simplified tensegrity system design allows for more scientific experiments to be performed in less time. This work describes the design architecture of the TT-4mini, an example of a robot that uses this prototyping platform.  In order to demonstrate the platform’s use for scientific experiments, the TT-4mini was shown to achieve uphill climbing, which has not been performed by any other spherical tensegrity robot in hardware. This dissertation discusses preliminary observations on the system’s performance in uphill climbing from simulations and testing, including evidence of climbing surfaces with an incline up to 13 degrees. 

These robots are based on a ball-shaped six-bar tensegrity structure and features a unique modular rod-centered distributed actuation and control architecture.  This revolutionary new architecture has been demonstrated in both software and hardware testing to increase the performance of tensegrity robots and has the potential to be extensible to a wide range of tensegrity configurations.

Julien Caubel, Particulate Matter: Monitoring and Mitigation, 11:00am-noon, Fri. Dec. 9

Abstract: Practice Quals. Particulate matter (PM) is an airborne pollutant emitted by incomplete combustion that is harmful to both human health and the environment. Black carbon (BC) is a major, light-absorbing component of PM emitted by diesel engines and solid biomass combustion. These sources contribute significantly to ambient and indoor PM pollution that are responsible for 6.7 million premature deaths annually. In addition, PM is detrimental to the environment, affecting precipitation cycles, depositing toxic chemicals, and driving climate change. My research focuses on developing technologies to both monitor and mitigate PM emissions.

West Oakland is a San Francisco Bay Area residential/industrial community adjacent to regional port and rail yard facilities, and is surrounded by major freeways. As such, the community is heavily affected by PM emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks, locomotives, and ships associated with freight movement. In order to better understand the impacts of this pollution, we are collaborating with community stakeholders to deploy 100 sensors in a distributed network that continuously measures BC concentrations throughout the neighborhood. In order to enable this network, I designed a low-cost, compact BC sensor that can be easily and inexpensively deployed in large numbers. This network will provide an unprecedented look at urban air pollution, and build further understanding of the resulting health and environmental costs.

The impacts of PM are particularly significant in developing regions across Asia and Africa, where emissions are a strong function of residential cooking with inefficient biomass cookstoves. Previous research shows that forced-air injection into the combustion zone can dramatically reduce these biomass PM emissions. However, the design parameters driving emission reductions are not well understood.  Consequently, I designed a cookstove that allows for rapid adjustment and tuning of critical forced-air injection design parameters. We performed a parametric study in which the cookstove design was methodically adjusted and evaluated to identify the primary parameters that drive biomass emission reductions. By optimizing these parameters, the stove achieves nearly 90% emission reductions in PM emissions relative to a traditional three-stone fire without compromising user design requirements. With nearly three billion people cooking on biomass stoves, these emission reductions can help mitigate the world’s greatest environmental health risk.

Tensegrity Early Stage Innovations (ESI) Team: Precision Hopping/Rolling Robotic Surface Probe Based on Tensegrity Structures, Fri. Dec. 2

Abstract: Presentation for ESI Grant Year 3 Continuation.

Kyunam Kim: On the Locomotion of Spherical Tensegrity Robots, Ph.D. Seminar, Nov. 29. noon at BiD (354/360 Hearst Memorial Mining Building)

Abstract: This work studies novel robotic systems based on tensegrity structures, with an emphasis on their locomotion capabilities. Naturally compliant tensegrity structures have several unique properties that are advantageous for co-robotic or soft robotic platforms; they are lightweight, deployable, robust and safe. By leveraging these distinctive features of tensegrity structures, tensegrity robots are expected to overcome the barrier that today’s robots have difficulties with. In this regard, tensegrity robots have been envisioned for a wide range of new applications that have not been explored before, including assistive and rehabilitative healthcare, search and rescue, and planetary space exploration, to name a few.

In order to be actually deployed for these applications, tensegrity robots should have mobility in the first place. In this work, two modes of locomotion are examined for spherical tensegrity robots: rolling and hopping. A spherical tensegrity robot rolls by deforming its shape and by shifting its center of mass. The study of tensegrity deformation, however, is not trivial and poses a unique problem because kinematics and statics of tensegrity structures are tightly coupled and need to be solved concurrently. This work presents a method based on a dynamic relaxation technique that can solve for the deformation of tensegrity robots in an efficient manner. Also presented are methods for discovering control strategies that realize desired deformations. The methods exploit grid-based search and multi-generation Monte Carlo based learning algorithms. Several prototypes of hardware tensegrity robots are developed and their successful rolling is demonstrated.

Another viable option for locomotion of tensegrity robots is hopping. Hopping could be especially useful when the robots are deployed for planetary exploration missions, because it allows the robots to quickly travel long distances and to be less affected by ground conditions. To enable hopping, a tensegrity robot with a cold-gas thruster system is studied and its motion is simulated. Different hopping profiles are investigated in simulation for a safe and energy-efficient delivery of a scientific payload on the Moon. Furthermore, to increase the fuel efficiency, a reaction wheel based system is proposed for thrust vectoring and an associated controller that globally and asymptotically orients the thrust to any desired direction is developed based on the (z,w)-parameterization of rotation and Lyapunov method.

Lily R. Hu: Machine Learning to Scale Fault Detection in Smart Energy Generation and Building Systems, Fri. Nov. 18, PhD Seminar

Abstract: Data-driven techniques that extract insights from sensor data reduce the cost of improving system energy performance through fault detection and system health monitoring. To lower cost barriers to widespread deployment, a methodology is proposed that takes advantage of existing sensor data, encodes expert knowledge about the application system, and machine learning methods to reduce the time required for manual configurations. The procedure selects data points and demonstrates that only a small number of sensors are necessary for fault detection with high accuracy rates. The goal is to enable an application that can be written once and then widely deployed with little additional cost or effort.

Renewable energy technologies as well as building energy management systems have upwards of hundreds of existing sensor data points used for control and monitoring. Furthermore, innovations in “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices have further led to connected power meters, lights, occupancy sensors, and appliances that are capable of data collection and communication. This data presents a valuable opportunity to extract meaningful information and take data-driven action to improve operations, monitor system health, increase energy generation, and decrease energy waste. The results of analysis can also inform policy decisions for stakeholders.

Presentation slides available here.

Julia Kramer: theDesignExchange, Friday, Nov. 4, noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Human-centered design is a cross-disciplinary design approach where designers develop a deep understanding of their stakeholders and use these insights to drive idea generation, iterative prototyping, and effective implementation. Design methods, conceived of in the 1960s, provide a structure to the fuzzy and open-ended human-centered design process. theDesignExchange provides a database of human-centered design methods to support designers working in a broad range of project and topic areas. Recently, many organizations have begun to leverage the human-centered design methodology to address problems of poverty and development around the world. Therefore, in order to support designers in finding design methods appropriate for projects of global development, we have begun creating case studies that explore how design methods are used in a global development context. By providing contextual examples of design methods in practice, we hope to support designers around the world in addressing complex development challenges through a human-centered design process.

Presentation slides available here.

Solar Design for the 21st Century Fueling Station, Tuesday, Nov. 1, noon-1:00 pm

Beth Ferguson from University of California, Davis, Berkeley Institute of Design (BiD) Lab 354/360 HMMB (Directions)

Abstract: This lecture will explore Sol Design Lab’s design work and research related to electric scooter solar charging stations for Austin, TX and the Bay Area that give urban dwellers a direct experience with renewable energy and a free solar charge.

Bio: Beth Ferguson is Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at The University of California Davis. She runs Sol Design Lab, a solar furniture design/build company. She has collaborated with public utilities, festivals, and universities to position solar energy as a civic and public resource. She has engaged thousands of participants in the development of projects such as solar charging stations, up-cycled public furniture, Climate Kits, and Green Maps. She has received commissions from SXSW, Austin Energy, ZER01 San Jose Biennial, TEDxPresidio, Coachella, The ZERO1 American Arts Incubator, The U.S Department of the State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Bay Area Maker Faire. She has an MFA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin. She has taught solar design courses and workshops at Stanford University, The University of Texas at Austin, The Art Institute of Chicago, and UC Santa Cruz.

Ground Reaction Forces Under a Quadruped Robot with a Flexible Actuated Spine, Friday Oct. 28, noon-1:00 pm:

Presenters: Drew (Andrew P.) Sabelhaus, Lara Janse van Vuuren, Ankita Joshi

Walking quadruped robots face challenges in positioning their feet and lifting their legs during gait cycles over uneven terrain. The Underactuated Lightweight Tensegrity Robotic Assistive Spine (ULTRA Spine) is a flexible, actuated spine designed to address these challenges by shifting the weight of the robot, thereby changing the frictional forces at its feet. The ULTRA Spine bends by adjusting the lengths of the cables that separate its vertebrae, redistributing ground reaction forces without actuating any legs. This work presents the first working ULTRA Spine prototype as part of a quadruped with non-moving legs, as well as a study of these ground reaction forces during spine bending, which show the robot’s potential applications. This paper describes the robot’s structure, hardware prototypes, simulations of ground reaction force changes, and physical experiments using a veterinary test setup. The ground reaction force data from simulation and hardware are compared and discussed, showing redistribution of 18%-20% of the force underneath a foot in simulation and 43%-67% in hardware. Together, these results show that it is possible to use the bending motions of an actuated spine to redistribute frictional forces underneath a quadruped’s feet. Future work will leverage this capability for walking over uneven terrain.

Presentation slides available here.

Mallory Daly: Rapid Prototyping of 12-Bar Tensegrity Structures, Friday, Oct. 21, noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Previous research on spherical tensegrity robots for surface exploration has utilized a six-bar tensegrity structure. That research has revealed limitations to the six-bar structure, including impact orientation sensitivity, actuation inefficiencies, and limited internal volume for a central payload. I am researching the use of a 12-bar tensegrity structure, which is the next-largest symmetric structure, as a solution to these shortcomings. This talk will discuss the advantages of 12-bar structures, the different 12-bar geometries, and the rapid prototyping approach to evaluating this new platform of tensegrity robots.

Presentation slides available here: rapid-prototyping-of-12-bar-tensegrity-robots

Emrah Bayrak, Optimal Design of System Architectures: From Formal Methodologies to Crowdsourcing with Online Games, Friday, Oct. 14, noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: A long-time challenging problem in design optimization is the representation and optimization of system architectures. Layout of the building blocks that constitute a system and interactions among these building blocks define the architecture of a system. Design decisions on the layout and the interactions must be combined with the parametric design of the building blocks in order to maximize the value obtained from a system. A general representation of design alternatives and an efficient coordination of these design decisions is the key to solve complex system design problems in a computationally tractable way. This talk will present research approaches to two types of system architecture design problems namely, the optimal design of powertrain architectures for hybrid electric vehicles, and the design of modular architectures for systems-of-systems. A hybrid electric powertrain can be considered as a smart product that requires a control strategy determining how components work together for efficient system operation. Design of the system must also include the design of the controller. Similar challenges apply to the design of modular systems-of-systems. Modular components must be assembled to form independent systems that operate together to achieve a common goal. Design decisions made at the module-level must be evaluated at the system-of-systems-level to calculate the system value. These systems require significant managerial efforts for successful operation. We will discuss graphical representations for design alternatives and decomposition-based optimization formulations to coordinate various design decisions. We will also discuss online game-based crowdsourcing approaches to system design that rely on extracting design heuristics from gamers. Such crowdsourcing approaches can be promising alternatives when formal design methodologies become computationally intractable. Download slides (pdf).

Bio: A. Emrah Bayrak is currently a post-doctoral research fellow working at the Optimal Design Lab in the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. degree in mechatronics engineering from Sabanci University in 2011. He received M.S. (2013) and PhD (2015) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on design optimization of complex engineering systems including smart products and interconnected system-of-systems. He is particularly interested in the optimal design and control of system architectures, design of modular products for system-of-systems. In addition to the conventional design methodologies, he also works on the application of online games as a crowdsourcing medium to solve such system-level challenging design problems. He teaches the graduate-level design optimization course in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Brian Cera and Ed Zhu, Path Planning for Spherical Tensegrity Robots, Friday, Oct. 7, noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: A new mission profile has been developed that includes an understanding of robot contact surface detection, trajectory generation for rolling, user-generated terrain, and controlled hopping using a gimbaled-nozzle thruster. Thrust vector control allows for precise manipulation of the flight path by generating a control moment about the center of mass of the moving body. With rigid-body structures, such as rockets, missiles, and satellites, the moment generated is accurately known. With compliant, deformable tensegrity structures, however, the precise center of mass of the structure is unlikely to be known mid-flight (i.e. full state knowledge of the positions and orientations of each individual rigid rod is difficult or impossible to obtain). Thus a successful proof-of-concept of this method applied to tensegrities was warranted. A model representing the dynamics of an idealized system is used to create a feedback controller in which the outer-shell, comprised of all six rods and 24 cables, is modeled as a lumped element. 

Presentation slides available here: best-seminar-10_7_16

Kyunam Kim: Hopping and Rolling Locomotion with Spherical Tensegrity Robots, Friday, Sep 30 noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Kyunam Kim will be presenting a 10 kg tensegrity ball probe that can quickly and precisely deliver a 1 kg payload over a 1 km distance on the Moon by combining cable-driven rolling and thruster-based hopping. Previous research has shown that cable-driven rolling is effective for precise positioning, even in rough terrain. However, traveling large distances using thruster-based hopping, which is made feasible by the lightweight and compliant nature of the tensegrity structure, has not been explored. To evaluate the feasibility of a thruster-based tensegrity robot, a centrally-positioned cold gas thruster with nitrogen propellant was selected, and the system was simulated using the NASA Tensegrity Robotics Toolkit (NTRT) for four hopping profiles on hilly terrains. Optimizing energy efficiency and mechanical capabilities of the tensegrity robot, hopping profiles with a long flight distance per hop, followed by the higher accuracy rolling, are recommended. Simulations also show that thrust regulation can improve energy efficiency. Regulation of thrust magnitude can be achieved using a pressure regulator, but regulation of thrust orientation calls for additional control effort. In this paper, it is demonstrated that gimbal systems as well as shape-shifting control of the tensegrity structure have the potential to regulate thrust orientation. Finally, algorithms for localization and path planning that combine hopping and rolling for energy-efficient navigation are presented. Download slides (pdf).

A Low-cost black carbon monitor for a community air quality network, Friday, Sep 30 noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Julien Caubel (presenter), Troy Cados, Chelsea V. Preble, Annie Rosen, Thomas W. Kirchstetter will discuss the design and testing of a small, low-cost air pollution sensors present community members and researchers with new opportunities to monitor air quality at the local scale. In the current study, we are developing a black carbon sensor and air-monitoring network in West Oakland. West Oakland is a San Francisco Bay Area residential/industrial community adjacent to regional port and rail yard facilities, and is surrounded by major freeways. As such, the community is heavily affected by diesel particulate matter emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks, locomotives, and ships associated with freight movement. In partnership with Environmental Defense Fund, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, we will be collaborating with community stakeholders to deploy and maintain a 100-sensor black carbon measurement network for a period of several months.

The sensors employ a filter-based light transmission method to measure black carbon and utilize cellular data communication to operate as remote nodes within the distributed urban network. Each node is battery powered and operates at low sample flow rate to enable unattended deployment. A key challenge that has been overcome is the prevention of water condensation in the sensor during cold periods through the use of adequate insulation. In field trials over several weeks, the sensors were deployed at three monitoring locations. The sensors provided black carbon concentrations comparable to commercial instruments, and operated unattended for about a week until the particle collection filter and battery required replacement.

Slides are available at: best_sem_09302016_abcd

The Foundations of a Design-based Theory of the Firm, Sep 23 noon-1:00 pm, Berkeley Institute of Design (BiD) 354/360 HMMB

Abstract: Scholars have traditionally theorized the existence of firms by assuming that products and services exist. Therefore, firms exist to minimize transaction costs associated with their production, take decisions on price, output, and resource allocation, or manage knowledge, as argued in influential theories of the firm. The continued emergence of firms that, even with few resources, existentially challenge well-resourced incumbent firms and industries speaks to the need for a strategic shift in managerial focus away from coordinating resources and processes toward producing valuable heterogeneity as the primary objective of the firm. In this talk, I will present a case that any explanation for the existence of a firm must include the notion of design. I will articulate the foundations for a design-based theory of the firm. Design provides the grammatical language of the firm, with framing, generative sensing, and prototyping elevated as guiding principles for the economic activities of firms. I will outline some implications of the theory on competitive advantage, the structure of firms, and their dynamic capabilities.

Bio: Professor Andy Dong’s research addresses the central activity of engineering: the design of new products and services. He has been working hard to promote what he calls the behavioural school of design and its defining commitment to design practitioners as the object of study and productivity as a core principle underlying theory building. He is the Warren Centre Chair for Engineering Innovation and a former Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He is an Associate Editor for influential journals in design research such as Design Studies and the Journal of Mechanical Design. (And he’s a Cal alumnus!)

Inverse Kinematics of Tensegrity Structures, Sep 23 noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Drew Sabelhaus will be presenting an overview of the force-density method to calculate the inverse kinematics of tensegrity structures. For many applications of tensegrity systems, control system designers would like to control the systems’ cables in such a way that the systems’ rods move along a certain path. This problem, where positions of rods are given, and a controller needs to solve for the cable lengths, is the inverse kinematics problem for tensegrity systems. By solving for the cable lengths at each location of rods, a trajectory of control inputs can be obtained. Here, we present a brief overview of the force-density method of solving the inverse kinematics problem. This talk will highlight the uses and potential problems of the method, including a discussion of when the method cannot be used. At the end of the talk, software will be provided that implements inverse kinematics for a class of tensegrity systems.

Presentation slides available at: invkin_slides_2016-09-23

Kyunam Kim: Locomotion of Tensegrity Robots: From Static to Dynamic Walking, Friday, Sep 16 noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Kyunam Kim will talk about how ball-shaped tensegrity robots may achieve static walking with form-finding methods and what are potential ways to achieve dynamic walking of the said robots. A form-finding problem is defined as the problem of finding the shape of a tensegrity structure under a given set of cable tensions, and to simply put, this problem is equivalent to the forward kinematics problem of tensegrity structures. Unlike conventional serial manipulators or biped walkers that are characterized as an open kinematics chain, tensegrity structures have a closed kinematics chain with their cables serving as translational joints if we choose to actuate them on the robots. Under this setup, joint forces (or cable forces) should be taken into account explicitly when solving the kinematics problem of tensegrity structures. That is, the kinematics and dynamics of tensegrity structures are tightly coupled, and special techniques are needed to solve the problem. Previous research has shown that numerical methods are more preferred than analytical methods for this type of problem, especially when tensegrity structures have a large number of rods and are highly complicated. In this regard, our research demonstrated that a dynamic relaxation (DR) technique can effectively and efficiently solve the forward kinematics of tensegrity structures. Furthermore, we were able to identify optimal shapes of a six-bar tensegrity structure for static walking by using DR in conjunction with a multi-generation Monte Carlo method. We have implemented our simulation results on our hardware robot and showed that the robot was able to successfully reproduce the desired motion. This kinematics based approach, however, can only realize static locomotion of tensegrity structures. We therefore introduce a couple of alternative approaches that are proven to be powerful in achieving dynamic locomotion of many previous multi-legged robots and that are potentially applicable to tensegrity robots as well.

Soft Spherical Tensegrity Robot design Using Rod-Centered Actuation and Control, Friday, Sep 16 noon-1:00 pm

Abstract: Lee-Huang Chen will be presenting the design, analysis and testing of a fully actuated modular spherical tensegrity robot for co-robotic and space exploration applications.  Robots built from tensegrity structures (composed of pure tensile and compression elements) have many potential benefits including high robustness through redundancy, many degrees of freedom in movement and flexible design. However to fully take advantage of these properties a significant fraction of the tensile elements should be active, leading to a potential increase in complexity, messy cable and power routing systems and increased design difficulty.  He will describe an elegant solution to a fully actuated tensegrity robot: The TT-3 (version 3) tensegrity robot, developed at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with NASA Ames, is a lightweight, low cost, modular, and rapidly prototyped spherical tensegrity robot. This robot is based on a ball-shaped six-bar tensegrity structure and features a unique modular rod-centered distributed actuation and control architecture. In addition, he will present the novel mechanism design, architecture and simulations of TT-3, the first untethered, fully actuated cable-driven six-bar tensegrity spherical robot ever built and tested for mobility. Furthermore, this paper discusses the controls and preliminary testing performed to observe the system’s behavior and performance.

Damaris R. Valero-Diaz: Implementation of Gamification as a Step Towards Sustainable Manufacturing

2:30-3:00 pm Tuesday, 10 May 2016, 230 Hesse – BEST Lab


Gamification is the introduction of game design elements in non-gaming contexts, it has been used extensively to increase user experience and engagement. This may be seen in consumer goods, services and other areas. From their success, the use of gamification techniques is starting to expand, it has been introduced into sustainability efforts but there are still many areas to explore. One area that has yet to be revolutionized by gamification is manufacturing. Manufacturing is a great area of opportunity, where workers engage in repetitive actions and need to maintain their productivity throughout the day. Gamification can improve that through techniques that will engage and motivate users to achieve their highest productivity levels.

Yilian (Iren) Yan: Simulation of Two-Dimensional Cable Actuated Thruster in Tensegrity Structure

3:30-4:00 pm Monday, 9 May 2016, 230 Hesse – BEST Lab

Abstract: Tensegrity structures are being developed  for a new robotic concept for exploring the surface of the moon. For the purpose of conserving energy, tensegrity robots will be launched up by a thruster such that they can travel in the air for a long distance. Among several designs, the thruster is connected to the tensegrity robot by elastic cables. This research proposes methodologies to realize tensegrity robots’ mid-air orientation adjustment by controlling the cable-connected thruster in two-dimensions. Therefore, these tensegrity robots will be able to adjust their status and trajectory into the air.

In this research a program is written to simulate and visualized two-dimensional structure’s performance in the air. A model in which a thruster connects to a rigid-body frame by cables is built and simulated. A mid-air orientation adjustment method for this model is proposed and evaluated. Then a thruster is added to the model by connecting it to the tensegrity structure. Orientation adjustment methods similar to that for the rigid-body structure are implemented to this tensegrity model. Feasibility of these methods is tested and discussed. Improvements are made to realize an accurate mid-air orientation adjustment for the two-dimensional tensegrity structure.

Danny Wilson: Quantifying the Crisis of Cooking: Next-Generation Monitoring and Evaluation of a Global Health and Environmental Disaster

3:30-4:30 pm Friday, 6 May 2016, Blum Hall B100

Today, 3 billion people, or 41% of the global population, burn wood, charcoal, dung, crop residues, coal, or other solid fuels to cook their food. This practice has resulted in significant loss of human life and environmental damage. In fact, smoke from cooking is one of the most important environmental risk factors to human health.  Recent estimates attribute some 4 million annual premature deaths to emissions from cooking. Traditional cooking not only harms human health, it also has significant impacts on environment; from forest denudation to emissions of climate-warming gases and aerosols, traditional cooking has impacts far beyond the kitchen. One strategy to ameliorate this crisis of cooking is to replace inefficient traditional fires with “clean cookstoves.” However, considering the enormity of the cooking problem, relatively little research has been done to validate the impacts of clean cookstoves.

In this talk, I will discuss measured impacts of cookstoves at various scales. Starting with a life cycle analysis, we will bound the impacts of cookstoves in terms of their embodied and use-phase emissions. Then, focusing on the use phase, which accounts for >90% of 100-year global warming potential, we will explore two field studies of adoption in Darfur, Sudan and Odisha, India. These studies were focused on quantifying clean cookstove adoption and user behaviors. In Darfur, we explored disparities between user-reported and sensor-measured adoption, and found a 2X overestimate in self-reported adoption. We also looked at techniques to improve adoption, and found that a follow up survey significantly improved adoption among low-adopters (p<0.01). In India, a new thermoelectric generator and USB-enabled cookstove was tested, and we found that USB charging improved adoption by 2.8X at very small risk of users utilizing the cookstove solely for USB charging.  Finally, we will pull back and look at the broader environmental impacts of aerosol from cooking, namely black carbon. Using a balloon-borne platform for measuring black carbon, I will present data on atmospheric profiles of black carbon which can be used to better estimate black carbon’s radiative forcing contribution and serve as a proxy for biomass burning at a macro scale.

Miho Kitagawa: Qualitative Analysis of Design Training Programs Inspired by International Development Design Summit

3-3:45 pm Monday, 2 May 2016, 5102 Etcheverry Hall

Abstract: Design thinking, sometimes referred as Human-Centered Design (HCD), is a problem-solving framework to create solutions that meet social desirability, technological feasibility and financial viability, and it is an emerging approach in social sectors.  One example of such practice is International Development Design Summit (IDDS), an educational summit which engage participants in on-site hands-on projects to create technologies and enterprises that improve the lives of people in poverty. Vechakul (2016) developed the framework of IDDS strategy to empower social innovators, consisting of three components; the curriculum, the culture and, most importantly, the participant experience. One outcome of IDDS is its participants themselves, some of whom start their own training programs. IDIN, the organization that supports the network of IDDS alumni, reported that 60% of participants in IDDS Tanzania in 2014 said they wanted to teach what they had learned in IDDS. The spread of design programs through individuals in IDIN network can be compared to the framework of Diffusion of Innovations that Rogers proposed (Rogers, 1995 ). This study investigates the reorientation of IDDS through diffusion, and aims to contribute in the growing demand of design training programs at grassroots level organizations while providing a guide reference for future training programs. The study was conducted on seven types of training programs launched inspired by IDDS around the world. It involves the qualitative analysis of stakeholders’ influences throughout the design process and program creation process, and the experimentation of incorporating strategic methods to the program’s empowerment plan. The study also introduces lists of factors to be considered for future design training programs.

Pierce Gordon’s Practice Quals

1:30-2:30 pm Thursday, 28 April 2016, 230 Hesse Hall

The cross-disciplinary field of design thinking offers methodologies to understand and address ‘wicked’ problems by developing innovative preferred solutions for the end beneficiaries. The field’s novelty, its amorphous boundaries of theory and practice, and its broad applicability have kept the community from two critical realities towards comprehensive understanding of practice: methods which aim to understand and evaluate the current field of design thinking, and tools which aim to supplant critical needs of the design thinking community in practice which take into account its fluidity and cross-contextual use. This practice qualifying exam talk presents the three research studies which explore design practice in international development contexts, through the OpenlDEO human centered design (HCD) metric analysis, a systematic literature review of human-centered design, and future research with MIT’s International Development Innovation Network.

Control of the Sit to Stand Movement of an Underactuated Lower Limb Orthosis

3-4:00 pm Friday, 8 April 2016, Fanuc Room, 6th Floor of Etcheverry Hall, Octavio Narvarez-Aroche

Abstract: Powered lower limb orthoses (also known as medical exoskeletons) are wearable rigid robots whose purpose is to restore the gait of people with spinal cord injuries by providing physical support and load transfer to the ground with externally coupled links. Their users, who have interaction with the ground by means of crutches, must have good mobility in hands, arms and shoulders, as well as healthy enough skeleton and cardio-vascular system to tolerate standing. In order to decrease the weight and cost of these assistive devices, companies developing them have opted to use less actuators than degrees of freedom in their designs. Gait cycles with this type of underactuated orthoses look more natural when compared to fully-actuated ones; nevertheless, they make it more challenging and sometimes even impossible for their users to perform the Sit to Stand (STS) movement because of the lack of a rigorous synthesis of the feedback controllers. Our research aims to develop integrated motion planning and robust control strategies that will guarantee that users of the aforementioned devices can safely transition from sitting to standing by properly considering the mechanical constraints of their architecture. In preparation for my Qualifying Examination, I will talk about our progress in obtaining an analytical model for the system and feasible state and input trajectories for the ascending phase of the STS movement.

Bio: Octavio Narvarez-Aroche is a PhD student in the Berkeley Center for Control and Identification under advisor, Andrew Packard. Octavio will be presenting her presentation for the research portion of her quals and would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Sustainability of 3D Printing: Myths, Facts, and Possibilities

2:30-3:30 pm-Monday, 4 April 2016, BiD (Berkeley Institute of Design), Jerem Faludi

3D printing is beginning to revolutionize manufacturing—will it be for the better?  The sustainability of 3D printing is the subject of much hype; some claims are empirically supported, others are not.  To help separate fact from fiction, multiple studies were performed using life-cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impacts of eight 3D printers of five different types, from desktop to industrial scale, as well as two CNC mills for comparison.  Seventeen environmental impact categories were assessed and scored using the ReCiPe Endpoint H methodology, to compare impacts of energy use, material use and waste, as well as the raw material and manufacturing of the 3D printers themselves, their transportation, and end of life.  The functional unit of comparison for all studies was the manufacture of a specific part, to simulate a “general prototyping” task.  Sensitivity analysis examined several usage scenarios, spanning high- and low-utilization.  Results from these studies showed some of today’s most common claims of green 3D printing to be inaccurate, while some real sustainability advantages are rarely discussed.  The talk will summarize these results and briefly review other literature to describe 3D printing’s promise for the future of green manufacturing and design.

Robot Foot Spines to Effectively Interact with the Environment

3-4:00 pm Friday, 19 February 2016, BEST Lab in 230 Hesse Hall

Title: Robot foot spines to effectively interact with the environment
Abstract: Current robots function on simple substrates, however animals have developed effective methods to interact with the environment.  One such method is interlocking through spines or claws, and is used by a broad range of animals sizes and body types.  By studying these spines, we hope to develop a new type of robot foot that will effectively engage the environment.

Bio: Jessica Lee is a 3rd year PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering Department with an emphasis in Design and a minor in Integrative Biology. Jessica will be presenting her presentation for the research portion of her quals and would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Open Innovation and Design in Food

Noon-1:00 pm Tuesday, 19 January 2016, Berkeley Institute of Design (BiD)
Speaker: Soh Kim. Directions:


Abstract: Soh Kim is a post-doctoral scholar at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. From in-depth observations in her doctoral research on the creativity and innovation of “Chefs as Designers”, Soh firmly believes that design and innovation can be studied and taught through food, the substance of life. She received B.A. from Korea University, M.S. from London School of Economics and Stanford University and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Before coming to academia, she worked at Cisco Systems and Mercedes-Benz. She is currently organizing the 1st Annual Berkeley-Stanford Food Innovation Symposium (May 2016).

Bio: Soh Kim is a post-doctoral scholar at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. From in-depth observations in her doctoral research on the creativity and innovation of “Chefs as Designers”, Soh firmly believes that design and innovation can be studied and taught through food, the substance of life. She received B.A. from Korea University, M.S. from London School of Economics and Stanford University and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Before coming to academia, she worked at Cisco Systems and Mercedes-Benz. She is currently organizing the 1st Annual Berkeley-Stanford Food Innovation Symposium (May 2016) in Jacobs Hall.