Penn Engineering

The School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1852, is composed of six academic departments and numerous interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and laboratories. At Penn Engineering, we are preparing the next generation of innovative engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders. Our unique culture of cooperation and teamwork, emphasis on research, and dedicated faculty advisors who teach as well as mentor, provide the ideal environment for the intellectual growth and development of well-rounded global citizens.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 330
  • Publication
    Technical Report: Abstraction-Tree For Closed-loop Model Checking of Medical Devices
    (2015-05-06) Jiang, Zhihao; Abbas, Houssam; Mosterman, Pieter J; Mangharam, Rahul
  • Publication
    Real-time Decision Policies with Predictable Performance
    (2018-01-06) Abbas, Houssam; Alur, Rajeev; Mamouras, Konstantinos; Mangharam, Rahul; Rodionova, Alena
    As methods and tools for Cyber-Physical Systems grow in capabilities and use, one-size-fits-all solutions start to show their limitations. In particular, tools and languages for programming an algorithm or modeling a CPS that are specific to the application domain are typically more usable, and yield better performance, than general-purpose languages and tools. In the domain of cardiac arrhythmia monitoring, a small, implantable medical device continuously monitors the patient's cardiac rhythm and delivers electrical therapy when needed. The algorithms executed by these devices are streaming algorithms, so they are best programmed in a streaming language that allows the programmer to reason about the incoming data stream as the basic object, rather than force her to think about lower-level details like state maintenance and minimization. Because these devices are resource-constrained, it is useful if the programming language allowed predictable performance in terms of processing runtime and energy consumption, or more general costs. StreamQRE is a declarative streaming programming language, with an efficient and portable implementation and strong theoretical guarantees. In particular, its evaluation algorithm guarantees constant cost (runtime, memory, energy) per data item, and also calculates upper bounds on the per-item cost. Such an estimate of the cost allows early exploration of the algorithmic possibilities, while maintaining a handle on worst-case performance, on the basis of which hardware can be designed and algorithms can be tuned.
  • Publication
    Active Sensing for Dynamic, Non-holonomic, Robust Visual Servoing
    (2014-05-01) De, Avik; Bayer, Karl S.; Koditschek, Daniel E
    We consider the problem of visually servoing a legged vehicle with unicycle-like nonholonomic constraints subject to second-order fore-aft dynamics in its horizontal plane. We target applications to rugged environments characterized by complex terrain likely to perturb significantly the robot’s nominal dynamics. At the same time, it is crucial that the camera avoid “obstacle” poses where absolute localization would be compromised by even partial loss of landmark visibility. Hence, we seek a controller whose robustness against disturbances and obstacle avoidance capabilities can be assured by a strict global Lyapunov function. Since the nonholonomic constraints preclude smooth point stabilizability we introduce an extra degree of sensory freedom, affixing the camera to an actuated panning axis mounted on the robot’s back. Smooth stabilizability to the robot-orientation-indifferent goal cycle no longer precluded, we construct a controller and strict global Lyapunov function with the desired properties. We implement several versions of the scheme on a RHex robot maneuvering over slippery ground and document its successful empirical performance. For more information: Kod*Lab
  • Publication
    Modular Hopping and Running via Parallel Composition
    (2017-11-03) De, Avik
    Though multi-functional robot hardware has been created, the complexity in its functionality has been constrained by a lack of algorithms that appropriately manage flexible and autonomous reconfiguration of interconnections to physical and behavioral components. Raibert pioneered a paradigm for the synthesis of planar hopping using a composition of ``parts'': controlled vertical hopping, controlled forward speed, and controlled body attitude. Such reduced degree-of-freedom compositions also seem to appear in running animals across several orders of magnitude of scale. Dynamical systems theory can offer a formal representation of such reductions in terms of ``anchored templates,'' respecting which Raibert's empirical synthesis (and the animals' empirical performance) can be posed as a parallel composition. However, the orthodox notion (attracting invariant submanifold with restriction dynamics conjugate to a template system) has only been formally synthesized in a few isolated instances in engineering (juggling, brachiating, hexapedal running robots, etc.) and formally observed in biology only in similarly limited contexts. In order to bring Raibert's 1980's work into the 21st century and out of the laboratory, we design a new family of one-, two-, and four-legged robots with high power density, transparency, and control bandwidth. On these platforms, we demonstrate a growing collection of $\{$body, behavior$\}$ pairs that successfully embody dynamical running / hopping ``gaits'' specified using compositions of a few templates, with few parameters and a great deal of empirical robustness. We aim for and report substantial advances toward a formal notion of parallel composition---embodied behaviors that are correct by design even in the presence of nefarious coupling and perturbation---using a new analytical tool (hybrid dynamical averaging). With ideas of verifiable behavioral modularity and a firm understanding of the hardware tools required to implement them, we are closer to identifying the components required to flexibly program the exchange of work between machines and their environment. Knowing how to combine and sequence stable basins to solve arbitrarily complex tasks will result in improved foundations for robotics as it goes from ad-hoc practice to science (with predictive theories) in the next few decades.
  • Publication
    Radiation Characteristics of Microstrip Dipole Antennas over a High-Impedance Metamaterial Surface made of Hilbert Inclusions
    (2003-06-08) McVay, John; Hoorfar, Ahmad; Engheta, Nader
    We analyze numerically the radiation characteristics of center-fed microstrip short dipoles and half-wave dipoles near a high-impedance surface made of Hilbert shape flat inclusions. We study the input impedance, pattern and gain of such radiating structures. We show that the radiation resistance of a microstrip dipole increases noticeably at certain frequencies near the resonant frequency of the Hilbert surface. Moreover, antenna gain enhancement at certain frequencies is observed for all dipole sizes we have analyzed.
  • Publication
    Integration of Local Geometry and Metric Information in Sampling-Based Motion Planning
    (2018-02-25) Pacelli, Vincent; Arslan, Omur; Koditschek, Daniel E.
    The efficiency of sampling-based motion planning algorithms is dependent on how well a steering procedure is capable of capturing both system dynamics and configuration space geometry to connect sample configurations. This paper considers how metrics describing local system dynamics may be combined with convex subsets of the free space to describe the local behavior of a steering function for sampling-based planners. Subsequently, a framework for using these subsets to extend the steering procedure to incorporate this information is introduced. To demonstrate our framework, three specific metrics are considered: the LQR cost-to-go function, a Gram matrix derived from system linearization, and the Mahalanobis distance of a linear-Gaussian system. Finally, numerical tests are conducted for a second-order linear system, a kinematic unicycle, and a linear-Gaussian system to demonstrate that our framework increases the connectivity of sampling-based planners and allows them to better explore the free space. For more information: Kod*lab.
  • Publication
    Event Driven Parts Moving in 2D Endogenuous Environments
    (2000-04-01) Karagoz, C. Serkan; Bozma, H. Isil; Koditschek, Daniel E
    This paper is concerned with the parts’ moving problem based on an event-driven planning and control. We are interested in developing feedback based approaches to the automatic generation of actuator commands that cause the robot to move a set of parts from an arbitrary initial disassembled configuration to a specif ed final configuration. In the Phase I of this project, a composite algorithm that reactively switches between different feedback controllers has been shown to induce a noncooperative game being played among the parts being manipulated. This paper describes experimental results with EDAR - Event-Driven Assembler Robot - developed for moving parts based on feedback techniques. For more information: Kod*Lab
  • Publication
    Averaged Anchoring of Decoupled Templates in a Tail-Energized Monoped
    (2015-01-01) De, Avik; Koditschek, Daniel E
    We refine and advance a notion of parallel composition to achieve for the first time a stability proof and empirical demonstration of a steady-state gait on a highly coupled 3DOF legged platform controlled by two simple (decoupled) feedback laws that provably stabilize in isolation two simple 1DOF mechanical subsystems. Specifically, we stabilize a limit cycle on a tailed monoped to excite sustained sagittal plane translational hopping energized by tail-pumping during stance. The constituent subsystems for which the controllers are nominally designed are: (i) a purely vertical bouncing mass (controlled by injecting energy into its springy shaft); and (ii) a purely tangential rimless wheel (controlled by adjusting the inter-spoke stepping angle).We introduce the use of averaging methods in legged locomotion to prove that this “parallel composition” of independent 1DOF controllers achieves an asymptotically stable closed-loop hybrid limit cycle for a dynamical system that approximates the 3DOF stance mechanics of our physical tailed monoped.We present experimental data demonstrating stability and close agreement between the motion of the physical hopping machine and numerical simulations of the (mathematically tractable) approximating model. More information:
  • Publication
    Real-time Heart Model for Implantable Cardiac Device Validation and Verification
    (2010-01-20) Jiang, Zhihao; Pajic, Miroslav; Connolly, Allison T; Dixit, Sanjay; Mangharam, Rahul
    Designing bug-free medical device software is dif- ficult, especially in complex implantable devices that may be used in unanticipated contexts. Safety recalls of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators due to firmware problems between 1990 and 2000 affected over 200,000 devices, comprising 41% of the devices recalled and are increasing in frequency. There is currently no formal methodology or open experimental platform to validate and verify the correct operation of medical device software. To this effect, a real-time Virtual Heart Model (VHM) has been developed to model the electrophysiological operation of the functioning (i.e. during normal sinus rhythm) and malfunctioning (i.e. during arrhythmia) heart. We present a methodology to extract timing properties of the heart to construct a timed-automata model. The platform exposes functional and formal interfaces for validation and verification of implantable cardiac devices. We demonstrate the VHM is capable of generating clinically-relevant response to intrinsic (i.e. premature stimuli) and external (i.e. artificial pacemaker) signals for a variety of common arrhythmias. By connecting the VHM with a pacemaker model, we are able to pace and synchronize the heart during the onset of irregular heart rhythms. The VHM has also been implemented on a hardware platform for closed-loop experimentation with existing and virtual medical devices. The VHM allows for exploratory electrophysiology studies for physicians to evaluate their diagnosis and determine the appropriate device therapy. This integrated functional and formal device design approach will potentially help expedite medical device certification for safer operation.
  • Publication
    Computer Aided Clinical Trials for Implantable Cardiac Devices
    (2016-08-19) Abbas, Houssam; Jiang, Zhihao; Jang, Kuk Jin; Beccani, Marco; Liang, Jackson; Dixit, Sanjay; Mangharam, Rahul
    In this effort we investigate the design and use of physiological and device models to conduct pre-clinical trials to provide early insight in the design and execution of the actual clinical trial. Computer models of physiological phenomena like cardiac electrical activity can be extremely complex. However, when the purpose of the model is to interact with a medical device, then it becomes sufficient to model the measurements that the device makes, e.g. the intra-cardiac electrograms (EGMs) that an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) measures. We present a probabilistic generative model of EGMs, capable of generating exemplars of various arrhythmias. The model uses deformable shape templates, or motifs, to capture the variability in EGM shapes within one EGM channel, and a cycle length parameter to capture the variability in cycle length in one EGM channel. The relation between EGM channels, which is essential for determining whether the current arrhythmia is potentially fatal, is captured by a time-delayed Markov chain, whose states model the various combinations of (learned) motifs. The heart model is minimally parameterized and is learned from real patient data. Thus the statistics of key features reflect the statistics of a real cohort, but the model can also generate rare cases and new combinations from the inferred probabilities. On the device end, algorithms for signal sensing, detection and discrimination for major ICD manufacturers have been implemented both in simulation and on hardware platforms. The generated arrhythmia episodes are used as input to both the modeled ICD algorithms and real ICDs as part of a Computer Aided Clinical Trial (CACT). In a CACT, a computer model simulates the inputs to the device (such as a new, investigational ICD), and the device’s performance is evaluated. By incorporating these results into the appropriate statistical framework, the Computer Aided Clinical Trial results can serve as regulatory evidence when planning and executing an actual clinical trial. We demonstrate this by conducting a mock trial similar to the 2005-2010 RIGHT trial which compared the discrimination algorithms from two major ICD manufacturers. The results of the CACT clearly demonstrate that the failed outcome of the RIGHT trial could have been predicted and provides statistical support for deeper results that could have been captured prior to the trial.