FORW-RD Courses

WR 513: Ethical Impact and Communication in Robotics and AI Research – THIS IS A FORW-RD NRT REQUIRED COURSE
Faculty: Dr. Yunus Telliel
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Spring
Course Description: Engineers and other technologists are increasingly more aware of the ethical, legal, and social impacts of robotics and artificial intelligence. Some of them actively contribute to the creation and communication of new sets of ethical standards, such as the work done by IEEE’s Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. What are the ethical principles that underpin these new standards? Since robots and AI Systems are designed to work with or alongside humans, do people have a right to understand what autonomous systems are doing and why? How can roboticists and AI designers ensure that these systems are transparent and explainable? This course focuses on the communication of ethical and social impacts of scientific research and technology development. After learning about major debates in robot/AI/data ethics, students will cultivate skills to (1) conceptualize ethical inquiries in technology design and (2) articulate them in writing and other forms of scholarly communication. As part of this course, students will learn to apply the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) broader impacts framework to their writing projects (dissertation, thesis, journal publication, grant application, etc. ).

RBE 500 – Foundations of RoboticsTHIS IS A RECOMMENDED COURSE for non-RBE trainees
Faculty: Multiple faculty
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Fall and Spring
Course Description: Fundamentals of robotics engineering. Topics include forward and inverse kinematics, velocity kinematics, introduction to dynamics and control theory, sensors, actuators, basic probabilistic robotics concepts, fundamental of computer vision and robot ethics. In addition, modular robot programming will be covered, and the concepts learned will be applied using realistic simulators.
Prerequisites: Differential Equations (MA 2051 or equivalent), Linear Algebra (MA 2071 or equivalent) and the ability to program in a high-level language (C++, Python). NOTE – this course does not count as a FORW-RD course for trainees from RBE.

CS 525/NEU 505: Brain-Computer Interaction
Faculty: Dr. Erin Solovey 
Type: Semester long (3 credits) – Spring
Course Description: This course will explore the current state of brain sensing and its application to human-computer interaction research. We will read important research papers on relevant topics, including background on brain function, sensing technology, machine learning methods, and applications of brain-computer interfaces in various domains. Coursework will involve reading and critiquing research papers each week, as well as leading discussions of research papers, and writing general audience blog posts about a research paper. There will be a required project that you work on over the term, and the scope and focus of the project will vary, depending on the interests and backgrounds of the students in the class.

CS 546: Human Computer Interaction
Faculty: Dr. Erin Solovey and other Faculty 
Type: Semester long (3 credits) – Spring, Summer
Course Description: This course prepares graduate students for research in human-computer interaction. Topics include the design and evaluation of interactive computer systems, basic psychological consideration of interaction, interactive language design, interactive hardware design and special input/output techniques. Students are expected to present and review recent research results from the literature, and to complete several projects.

ME/RBE 530: Soft Robotics
Faculty: Dr. Cagdas Onal
Type:  Term-long (2 credits)
Course Description: Soft robotics studies ‘intelligent’ machines and devices that incorporate some form of compliance in their mechanics.  Elasticity is not a byproduct but an integral part of these systems, responsible for inherent safety, adaptation and part of the computation in this class of robots.  The course will cover a number of major topics of soft robotics including but not limited to design and fabrication of soft systems, elastic actuation, embedded intelligence, soft robotic modeling and control, and fluidic power.  Students will learn design and fabrication methodologies of soft robots, review and discuss articles in the field, and complete a literature survey to supplement the course material. 

ME 593/MTE 594: Printed Electronics & Sensors
Faculty: Dr. Pratap Rao 
Type: Term-long (2 credits)
Course Description: This course will serve as an introduction to printed electronics and sensors, including flexible and stretchable devices, those that are fully printed, and hybrid devices that consist of printed circuits and attached components such as microchips. Processes for printing circuits and functional components, including micro-dispense, aerosol jet, inkjet, screen, and gravure, will be explored with consideration of their respective advantages and disadvantages in terms of printing resolution, reliability, and speed. Printed materials including metals, polymers, and semiconductors in the form of nano-materials or reactive inks and pastes will be considered, as will flexible and stretchable plastic and elastomeric substrates. A number of printed sensor applications will be reviewed, including wearable physiological and medical sensors, automotive and aerospace sensors, and approaches to reduce size, weight, power, and cost will be considered. Energy storage and energy harvesting approaches will also be explored. The course will consist of lectures, reading journal articles, and a course project.

MIS 583: User Experience Applications 
Faculty: Dr. Soussan Djamasbi 
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Spring 
Course Description: The UX Applications course provides an introduction to using UX methods to study user experience. The course teaches students how to use the newest research tools, including eye tracking and emotion detection, to study user experiences of technological products and services. Students will learn how businesses can benefit from these techniques. Both theoretical concepts and practical skills will be addressed within the scope of the class through hands-on projects, class exercises, and assignments. 

MIS 585: User Experience Design  
Faculty: Dr. Soussan Djamasbi 
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Fall 
Course Description: Designing positive user experiences is becoming increasingly important in staying competitive in the marketplace. This UX Design course offers students hands-on experiences, through the use of real-world projects, that provide them with a strong portfolio of work that showcases their skills in UX/UI, visual, service, experience, and product design. Throughout this course, students will create innovative experiences that enrich their technical fluency in both web and interactive development. The course provides a foundation in art and design in order to help students articulate their work to stakeholders and translate outcomes as business value. 

MIS 586: User Experience (UX) Research Methods
Faculty: Dr. Soussan Djamasbi 
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Fall 
Course Description: In today’s digital economy, understanding how people use and experience technology is crucial to designing successful technological products and services. The UX research methods course covers tools and techniques for identifying, defining, designing, and testing innovative user-centered technologies. Students learn to design and conduct various types of user studies, from unstructured and structured interview studies to usability and user experience experiments. The course also covers advance topics in UX research such as eye-tracking for the objective measurement of user attention, engagement, and information processing behavior.

RBE 450X: Vision-based Robotic Manipulation 
Faculty: Dr. Berk Calli
Type: Term-long (2 credits)
Course Description: This course focuses on the role of visual sensing in robotic manipulation. It covers fundamental manipulation concepts such as grasp matrix, grasp taxonomies and grasp stability metrics. Various grasp planning strategies in the literature is studied. 2D and 3D vision-based control algorithms are covered. Point cloud processing techniques that allow object detection, segmentation and feature extraction are studied and utilized. Integrating all these aspects, the whole vision-based robotic manipulation pipeline is designed. 

RBE 460X – Human Factors and Human-Robot Interface  
Faculty: Dr. Jane Li 
Type: Term-long, (2 credits)
Course Description: This is an introductory course on human-robot interaction, offered to first year graduate students and senior undergraduate students. It will introduce (1) the behavior and preference of human motor control and motor learning, and (2) how they influence the design of human-robot interface and the dynamics of human-robot interaction. Students will also learn how to conduct human movement studies and social science studies for the design and evaluation of human-robot interfaces. Students in this course will work on interdisciplinary projects, with the experts in robotics, social science, nursing, and education.

RBE/CS 526 – Human-Robot Interaction 
Faculty: Dr. Jane Li 
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Fall 
Course Description: This course will introduce the fundamental concepts and theories of human-robot interaction, as well as research methodologies. The lecture topics include: (1) framework of human-robot teaming; (2) level of autonomy; (3) human-robot interfaces for direct and supervisory control; (4) methods and metrics for evaluating interface usability; and (5) user study design. It will refer to the recent research papers to exemplify the design of human-robot interfaces and robot autonomy for cognitive and physical assistance, as well as the interfaces and approaches for robot learning from human demonstrations. Students in this course will work on (1) Individual Paper Reading and Team Literature review; (2) Algorithm implementation; and (3) Courses Projects of design and/or evaluation human-robot interfaces

RBE 595: Haptic and Robotic Interaction 
Faculty: Dr. Jing Xiao
Type: Term-long (2 credits)
Course Description: The course is focused on studying how to detect and simulate physical interaction between two entities (for example, between a robot and an object, or between two objects) in a virtual environment, motivated by applications in haptics, where a human operator interacts with virtual objects via a haptic display device. Applications range from virtual training for a wide range of tasks that require physical interaction with objects, such as dental and surgical operations, to teleoperation of robotic manipulation tasks through haptics, and dynamic simulation. Multi-region collisions and contacts involve both rigid and deformable objects will be addressed. Prerequisite: Not determined yet, but background in data structure and programming is needed.  

RBE 595/CS 525: Swarm Intelligence
Faculty: Dr. Carlo Pinciroli
Type: Semester-long (3 credits) – Spring
Course Description: This course will cover a wide range of topics in swarm intelligence, including mathematical, computational, and biological aspects. The course is organized in four parts. In the first part, the students will learn about complex systems and the basic concepts of self-organization, such as positive and negative feedback, symmetry breaking, and emergence. The second part concerns several types of network models, such as information cascades, epidemics, and voting. The instructor will illustrate a diverse collection of self-organized systems in nature, finance, and technology that concretize these concepts. The third part is dedicated to swarm robotics, and will cover common swarm algorithms for task allocation, collective motion, and collective decision-making. The fourth and final part covers optimization algorithms inspired by swarm intelligence, namely ant colony optimization and particle swarm optimization. The course will blend theory and practice, challenging the students to learn by implementing the algorithms discussed in class. The final project will involve working on a research problem in swarm robotics, and the final deliverable will include a demo and a research paper.