Personal Website: http://webpages.uncc.edu/sakella
Degree Institution: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Degree: Ph.D. Robotics
Year Graduated: 1996
Research Areas: Robotics
Research Description: My current research focuses on algorithms for coordinating the collision-free motions of multiple robots. By designing algorithms that consider the complex dynamics of industrial robots, I can coordinate the motions of robots in automotive workcells. In a related effort, I am developing algorithms for coordinating microdroplets in lab-on-a-chip digital microfluidics systems so they can perform biochemical analyses. I am also developing algorithms for robotics systems that can automatically fold objects for packaging applications, as well for identifying protein folding pathways.
I am also interested in developing robotic systems that can automatically perform manipulation tasks. By designing efficient algorithms and planners that use the underlying task mechanics and geometry to generate solutions automatically, I have developed robots that are mechanically simple, yet very flexible. To demonstrate this approach, I have implemented robotic systems to feed and fold objects for flexible assembly and packaging. Since these systems do not require specialized effectors or sensors, they can be implemented quickly and inexpensively to shorten the time to market of new products and to reduce manufacturing costs.