about research publications
I am broadly interested in all areas of computational and algorithmic robotics with a particular emphasis on motion planning. I am passionate about enabling robots to integrate seamlessly in human environments. My work aims at providing representations, algorithms and experimental insights towards the development of the next generation of socially aware robotics technology. I have experience from a number of different areas of robotics including navigation, grasping, manipulation and mechanism design. This page contains a brief summary of the projects I have worked to date.

Social Navigation

My PhD thesis focused on the design of planning algorithms for socially competent robot navigation. I proposed a series of mathematical representations that model the joint navigation behavior of multiple navigating agents, towards enabling an artificial agent to infer the unfolding multi-agent dynamics and act in a socially compliant fashion, by taking into consideration the preferences of others. [PhD Thesis]

Braids-based Navigation Planning

Planning with braids We make use of topological braids as symbols describing distinct classes of multi-agent navigation behavior. This representation allows a robot to infer the unfolding multi-agent dynamics and act legibly towards simplifying inference for others. Our framework results in accelerated implicit coordination among agents which leads to high time efficiency. [WAFR '16][IROS '17][IJRR '19]

Social Momentum

Social Momentum To overcome the high computational load of reasoning about multi-agent navigation strategies, we developed a motion planner (the Social Momentum) that only looks at the pairwise collision avoidance intentions between the robot and other agents. Our planner is inspired by the physical quantity of Angular Momentum, which we use as a heuristic to label pairwise avoidance intentions. An online, video-based user study revealed evidence that our framework results in legible behaviors in multi-agent environments with multiple non-communicating navigating agents. [HRI '18][journal in preparation]

Topologically Robust Prediction

Hamiltonians We found that the topological foundation of Social Momentum is the topological invariant of the winding number. We used this understanding to construct dynamic models that generate multi-agent trajectories from topological specification. We built a planner that makes use of this mechanism to generate topologically robust predictions online. Our planner was shown to allow for rapid adaptation to heterogeneous agents and agents with changing intentions. [WAFR '18][invited journal under review]

Robot Navigation in the Presence of Humans

experiment We conducted an in-lab experimental study in which 105 participants navigated next to a robot following 3 different navigation strategies. We collected participants' trajectories and their impressions of the robot's behavior through questionnaires. Highlights of our analysis include the low-acceleration paths that humans follow next to a robot running Social Momentum and the lack of evidence to support our expectation that humans would find teleoperation as more intelligent and humanlike. [HRI '19]

Autonomous Driving

Autonomous Driving Understanding the topological properties of multi-agent collision avoidance may have significant benefits for the decision-making of autonomous cars. We are in the process of employing our braids-based planning architecture in a multi-agent scenario on unsignalized intersections. [Work in Progress]

Implicit Communication

Implicit Communication We explored the fundamental mathematical mechanisms underlying implicit communication in a series of different applications, including conversational implicature, legible collaborative manipulation and social navigation. We showed that by performing an unexpected action, an actor may achieve effective communication of its goal to non-explicitly-communicating observers. [HRI '17]

Grasp Planning

Grasp Planning My Diploma thesis focused on the design of grasp planning optimization schemes for multi-fingered robot hands. Taking as input the location and the physical properties of an object, as well as a series of different grasp quality criteria, my schemes generated optimal grasps (force distribution and hand posture). [ICRA '13][ICRA '14]

Robot Design

Robot Design I have been involved in a series of projects on the design of robot hands and arms. I have looked at the mechanical and computational aspects of design towards producing affordable, highly-functional, anthropomorphic robotic and prosthetic hands and robot manipulators [IROS '14][IROS '15][IROS '15]

© 2019 by Chris Mavrogiannis