Jonas is a third semester Master’s student in Robotics and Research Assistant at the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recent graduate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Jonas’s interests include mechatronic systems, machine perception, and innovative methods in localization and mapping in mobile robotics. After participation in the Rover Exploration Challenge last year, he is eager for the development of Envoy2.
Varsha is a second semester Master’s student, studying Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interests include machine learning, bio-inspired robotics, creative improvisation in robotics and their innovative use in day to day life. As a former employee of Yahoo! India, she has had major industry experience with technology. She is thrilled to be a part of ENVOY2 and can hardly wait to see it in action.
Michael is a second year Master student graduating this May in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in mechanical systems. He is originally from San Diego, California, but has spent much of his time since high school traveling the country. His first NASA project was the FIRST Robotics competition during his senior year in high school in 2004. He spent his undergraduate years at Morehouse College and Georgia Tech, where he completed the dual degree program, earning two bachelor degrees in Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering. He has spent two years at Georgia Tech working on undergraduate research with Dr. Ayanna Howard pertaining to mobile robots in extreme environments. Last summer, He interned with Robotic Research, LLC, where he designed some of the mechanical components for autonomous navigation vehicles and learned the art of path planning. His interests are generally aligned with anything mechatronics related and CAD modeling.
Mabel (Mengzi Zhang)
Mabel is a first-year PhD student in computer vision at the GRASP Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of California San Diego and was introduced to Artificial Intelligence during her study abroad at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. She had three years of undergraduate research experience in computer vision, machine learning, and virtual reality with computer graphics at UCSD and at the University of Washington. Her past computer vision research projects focused mainly on categorization, albeit some experience in visual servoing and IEEE MicroMouse; so she wishes to be more involved with robotics. In a scope of broader impact, she is interested in bringing more under-represented young population into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields; her efforts were awarded by the Google Anita Borg Scholarship US Finalist award in 2011. She now coordinates various robotics outreach events for the team.
Sanchit is a Masters student in Robotics. His areas of interest include machine learning and machine perception particularly visual odometry, localization and mapping. Originally from Delhi, India, he has stayed in various cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad in the past few years. He completed his Bachelor’s from IIT Delhi with a major in Computer Science and gained industry experience during his stints at Yahoo! and Microsoft. Robotics has been a hobby that he has pursued actively participating in various competitions. The ABU International Robocon, Vietnam where he represented Team India is the most notable achievement of his nascent robotics career. His hope is to use his knowledge and passion for robotics to contribute to the growth and sustenance of human life along with understanding it better.
Neel is a first year Master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Robotics. His primary interests lie in Mechatronic Systems, Controls, and Automation. Prior to studying at Penn, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Nirma University, India, where he studied Instrumentation and Controls. He is very excited to be a part of ENVOY2 and the USMART team and will be spearheading development of its power and controls systems.
Yedong Niu is a second semester Master’s student, studying Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Zhejiang University , China with a Bachelor’s degree in control science and engineering. His primary interests are robotics perception and control. He will be primarily developing the remote stereo vision system for global mapping in the RASCAL and WPI competition.
Vivian is a first-year Master’s student studying Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a concentration in embedded systems. Vivian discovered an interest in robotics during her senior year where she and a team of 4 other engineers built an autonomous helicopter for their final project. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, she postponed graduate studies for the opportunity to work at IBM Almaden Research Center where she focused on Natural Language Processing and Database Research. Since arriving at Penn, her latest research is learning language through object manipulation and tactile sensing in the Penn Haptics Lab. She is very excited to be on USMART and will be working on mechanical design and autonomous manipulation planning. Outside of school, Vivian’s interests include basketball, cooking, eating, and is an avid snowboarder.
Praveen is a 1st year Master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Robotics. He completed his Bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Visvesvaraya Technological University, in India. His interest in Robotics stems from having worked on building UGVs at the undergrad level. His team took part in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), 2010 and 2011, held in Michigan every year, where they placed 10th in the Design Competition in 2011. At the undergraduate level, he was involved in various activities with the Robotics Club which aimed at promoting Robotics throughout the University. He is keenly interest in computer vision, and perception along with robotic arm manipulation. He is currently working on the robotic manipulators on ENVOY2 and hopes to continue research along these lines at the GRASP Lab.
Rajeev is a first year graduate student pursuing Master’s in Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. Rajeev’s foray into the field of Robotics began during his undergraduate studies which he completed at the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli(NIT, Trichy), India majoring in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Since then he has been actively involved in Robotics participating in various projects and spearheading the Robotics and Machine Intelligence Club at NIT, Trichy. His areas of interest include computer vision, machine learning, perception, embedded systems and algorithms. As part of the ENVOY2, Rajeev is working on the robotic arm and Perception for autonomous navigation.
Keunho is a senior exchange student studying Mechaninal Engineering at the Drexel University. He came from Handong Global University, South Korea where he was majoring in Mechanical and Electrical Control Engineering. His interest in Robotics brought him to join this group and he is currently working on the robot’s wheel and overall stress analysis part of ENVOY2. He hopes to work enthusiastically and pleasantly with USMART group until he goes back to Korea.
Siddharth is a first year Masters student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Mechanical
Engineering. His primary interests lie in manufacturing, design and mechatronic systems. Before
joining Upenn, Siddharth completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nirma
University, India. Prior experience in Robotics is representing his undergraduate university at the
ABU National Robocon-2009 held in Pune,India. Soccer is his hobby and he is a die-hard fan of
Nicu first became interested in robotics through a class in middle school wherein he used LEGO Mindstorms to build small robots which achieved simple tasks. While working on his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), he became involved with the school’s student branch of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. As an active member in the club, he led efforts to build entries to various robotics competitions from regional to international. While at UT, he also conducted research on autonomous cars (particularly, autonomous intersection management) and robot soccer. For these efforts, he earned the distinction of Honorable Mention in the Computing Research Association’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award competition for 2011. He was also a member of the UT Austin Villa robot soccer team which won the 2011 world championship in the simulation league. Presently, Nicu is a PhD student in CIS at UPenn and is part of the IGERT Complex Scene Perception program. His research interests are primarily comprised of topics in computer vision such as texture detection, and object detection, recognition, and pose estimation. He is also interested in using GPUs to accelerate vision algorithms for use in robotics. In his spare time, Nicu enjoys playing board games and dancing.
Chris Thomas (Tyrone)
Chris Thomas is a graduating senior at the Wharton School where he studies Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Chris is responsible for leading U-SMART’s business development, marketing and funding initiatives. Chris is passionate about harvesting the power of technology and the Internet to transform industry. Chris has worked for companies like Goldman Sachs and is currently pursuing a career in business development in the e-commerce space. When Chris is not pursuing Internet innovation, you can find him at a Brazilian Samba or here.
Bennett is a senior/second semester Master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with 3 degrees at age 21. He is enrolled in the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, studying Entrepreneurship and Mechanical Engineering, while pursuing a Master’s degree in Robotics. Bennett’s interests include robotics, lacrosse, shooting, long boarding, and photography. His ultimate goal is to build defense and medical robotics companies in the future. He has started a non-profit in high school and done work for VC’s and Sandia National Laboratories. He will primarily be on the business the ENVOY2 project, procuring funding, and marketing the team, but is also open to getting his hands dirty on the technical side. more info
Shafag Idris is currently a freshman majoring in electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to sub-matriculate into a Master degree in Robotics. Shafag was born and raised in Tucson, AZ and misses her sunshine like crazy. Her interests include robotics, aerospace, astronomy, swimming, hiking and community service. Shafag assists with the hardware aspects of ENVOY2, mainly assembling the robot and its electronic components.