May 2018
08:30 am

Pre-Work Talk Munich Human-machine interaction. The next frontier

IXDS Munich, Ganghoferstraße 68b, 80339
Venturing where no man can safely go, stepping into uncharted territory to help save the planet and (if that fails) relocate civilization to Mars. This may sound like science fiction, but this is the kind of work our May 17 Pre-Work Talk speakers Firas Abi-Farraj and Oliver Porges from The German Aerospace Center (DLR) are focusing on. We have managed to catch Firas while he’s in Munich for a short time only, so don’t miss the chance to hear about his and Oliver’s insanely interesting work into robotic teleoperation, and new human-machine interactions that are allowing us to explore dangerous terrain and solve major environmental problems such as nuclear waste.

The pair's projects are actually out of this world! At DLR, they are part of a team that’s looking into the requirements and boundary conditions for a human operated space station and colony on Mars. A habitat that will be built by humanoid bots, which are already being groomed and tested for a possible mission. (Read about it in WIRED here)

We won't be stopping there. While we have Firas with us, we are getting him to tell us about his wider research and development of interfaces that enable humans to control these types of robots in a fluid and precise way, as well as the use cases for robotic exploration. For instance, the RoMaNS project where robots are used to solve industrial nuclear waste problems. As the project brief states: “Cleaning up the past half century of nuclear waste, in the UK alone, represents the largest environmental remediation project in the whole of Europe.” 

We can’t wait! See you at 8:30am for coffee and networking, then the talk kicks off at 9am. Tell your friends! You don’t want to miss this one.

More about Firas

Firas graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Lebanese University in 2011, then went on to study a masters studies in Mechanical Engineering at the American University of Beirut.

In April 2013, alongside his masters, he began a career as a production chain consultant at Murex Syetems (Financial Softwares). He spent a couple of years in industry, but decided to switch back to academia for something more technical, and joined CNRS for a Ph.D. in robotics.

Currently he’s a Ph.D. candidate in the Rainbow (previously Lagadic) group at IRISA / INRIA in Rennes, France. His research has been mainly on human-machine interfaces and robotics teleoperation for the decommissioning of nuclear sites and handling legacy nuclear waste. He recently moved to DLR, Munich, for a short research stay where he’s working on space robotics (i.e., planetary exploration, and in-orbit servicing) and robotics for industrial applications.

More about Oliver

Oliver studied electrical and control engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University and Tecnologico de Monterrey. He continued his education in a Joint European Master in Space Science and Technology at the University of Wurzburg and Lulea Technical University in Sweden. He joined the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (Institut fur geiles Zeug) at the German Aerospace Centerduring his master thesis and stayed ever since.

While greatly disappointed at the quality of output of academia, he still likes to research on perception-action loop closure (motion planning based on image processing). At the DLR-RMC, he is mainly involved with the project of humanoid robot Toro and several other projects for Earth and Space.