Meet This Year’s Thesis Students!

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Continuum Robotics Lab will be hosting three 4th year students as they embark on research for their undergraduate thesis. Here are our ambitious thesis students!

Hanna

Hanna is a 4th Year student at the St. George Campus (UTSG). She is in the Engineering Science program and is majoring in Robotics Engineering with a minor in Bioengineering.

Her passion for Continuum Robotics first developed after attending a research talk by Dr. Burgner Kahrs. Having an interest in medicine, the ability for these robots to operate in constrained and very small workspaces stood out to her and she was fascinated by their potential applications in medicine – particularly in minimally invasive surgery. She loves that because this is a relatively new field of robotics, make more meaningful contributions on its trajectory than she would have had in another field.

This year isn’t Hanna’s first time at the lab… In February of 2020, she participated as a volunteer, and then later that year, in the summer, she undertook a research position. This position was made possible by an award obtained from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

This year she is working on her undergraduate thesis, which is focussed on advancing robust and automatic control systems for dual-arm concentric tube continuum robots. She sees the people in the lab as mentor figures who inspire her, especially Dr. Burgner Kahrs whom she can see herself becoming like in the future.

Michael

Michael is also a Robotics Engineering major in the Engineering Science program at UTSG.

The 2020 academic year is the first time that Michael will be a member of the CRL as he aims to complete his final year thesis at this lab.

Last year he was part of a co-op centered around the development of semi-autonomous driving systems at General Motors. He is also a member of aUToronto, the University of Toronto’s self-driving car team.  Now, Michael is hoping to use the knowledge gained from his previous experiences to excel at his work at the continuum robotics lab.

His research will involve the development of an algorithm that will aid operators of tendon actuated continuum robots to better control the shapes of those robots.

Michael is fascinated by this field as it is so different from anything that he’s seen before; he especially enjoys the unique possibilities of continuum robots and the versatility that this field has that other robotics lack.

After he completes his undergraduate studies, he’s thinking of seeking out a graduate position at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). He’s also considering seeking out robotics jobs outside of school, potentially even abroad.

In his (limited) free time, he enjoys reading books — especially those with complex world-building, with realistic fictional maps and languages.

Jeremy

Jeremy is also in his 4th year of studies at UTSG. Enrolled in the Engineering Program, he is pursuing a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Jeremy has also had experience working in this lab as he spent the last winter semester creating a simulator for tendon actuated continuum robots. This is work that has already proven useful especially in a time of limited access to the lab due to COVID-19. His fellow thesis student, Michael, has been able to use this model to get acquainted with the design of these types of continuum robots while working remotely.

Jeremy will continue his research in this academic year by designing a velocity kinematics model for the METAbot, the lab’s in-house tendon actuated continuum robot. His research will also involve writing a control algorithm that makes this model more generally applicable for use with similar continuum robots. Finally, he will then work on the creation of a teleoperation system for the control of this robot.

One of his favourite parts of working at the CRL is the guidance that he has received at the lab and how it has helped him progress with his work and the understanding of the field.

In his spare time, Jeremy is a member of the University Of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). When he’s not solving complex robotics problems, he enjoys playing Assassin’s Creed and reading fiction detective stories.

We’re very excited to see the great things that these students come up with.

Stay tuned!

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