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Project Title: NRI Large: Collaborative Research: Complementary Situational Awareness for Human-Robot Partnerships

NSF award number: IIS-1327566



Proposed framework for robot-human
complimentary situational awareness (CSA)

This is a new 5-year collaborative project involving three collborative teams at Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon, and Johns Hopkins University. The Principal investigators on this grant are Dr. Nabil Simaan (Vanderbilt), Dr. Howie Choset (CMU) and Dr. Russell H. Taylor (JHU).


The grant consists of three partner institutions contributing to laying the foundations to a new concept in robotics that we call Complementary Situational Awareness. Robots have been primarily used to augment human skill during manipulation tasks (e.g. for surgical applications, telemanipulation in hazardous environments) and in some cases to augment sensory presence (e.g. by providing force feedback to surgeons in cases where forces are below humanly perceptible thresholds). In our new approach robots will augment the human user not only in manipulation but also in understanding of the task and in action planning and execution. The idea is that the robots in some cases can sense things beyond human perception and this information may be used by the robot controller to create a model of the environment shape and the interaction characteristics. This robot situational awareness is then used to augment user/surgeon skill and situational awareness for carrying out complex tasks.


More details about this research will be disseminated through our shared project website. Additional details are available on NSF website.


In the coming years we will be updating this page with a list of publications and excerpts of research progress. Please check this page again in the future.

Poster of the planned reserach was presented in 2013 NRI Awardee Conference. A copy of the PDF poster is available here.



  • Ayvali, E., Srivatsan, A., Wang, L., Roy, R., Simaan, N. & Choset, H (2016). Using Bayesian Optimization to Guide Probing of a Flexible Environment for Simultaneous Registration and Stiffness Mapping. In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’2016), pages 931 - 936.
  • Bajo, A. & Simaan, N. (2016). Hybrid Motion/Force Control ofMulti-Backbone Continuum Robots. International Journal of Robotics Research, 35(4), 422-434.
  • Chalasani, P., Wang, L., Roy, R., Simaan, N. & Taylor, R. H (2016). Concurrent Nonparametric Estimation of Organ Geometry and Tissue Stiffness Using Continuous Adaptive Palpation. In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’2016), pages 4164-4171.
  • Roy, R., Wang, L. & Simaan, N. (2016a). Modeling and Estimation of Friction, Extension and Coupling Effects in Multi-Segment Continuum Robots. IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, In press.
  • Roy, R., Wang, L. & Simaan, N (2016b). Investigation of effects of dynamics on intrinsic wrench sensing in continuum robots. In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’2016), pages 2052-2059.
  • Simaan, N., Taylor, R. H. & Choset, H. (2015). Intelligent Surgical Robots with Situational Awareness: from Good to Great Surgeons. ASME Dynamic Systems Magazine(3), 2.
  • Srivatsan, A. & Choset, H. (2014). Using Lie algebra for shape estimation of medical snake robots. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014), 2014, 3483-3488.
  • Srivatsan, A. & Choset, H. (2016). Multiple Start Branch and Prune Filtering Algorithm for Nonconvex Optimization. accepted to the Workshop on the Algorithmic Fundamentals of Robotics.
  • Srivatsan, A., Ayvali, E., Wang, L., Roy, R., Simaan, N. & Choset, H (2016). Complementary model update: A method for simultaneous registration and stiffness mapping in flexible environments. In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’2016), pages 924-930.
  • Srivatsan, A., Rosen, G. T., Ismail, F. N. & Choset, H. (2016). Estimating SE(3) elements using a dual quaternion based linear Kalman filter. Robotics: Science and Systems, July, 2016.
  • Srivatsan, A., Wang, L., Ayvali, E., Simaan, N. & Choset, H. (2016). Simultaneous Registration and Stiffness mapping of a Flexible Environment using Stiffness and Geometric Prior. The Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics (2016), July, 2016.
  • Wang, L. & Simaan, N (2014). Investigation of Error Propagation in Multi-Backbone Continuum Robots. In Advances in Robot Kinematics, pages 385-394. Springer International Publishing.
  • Wang, L., Chen, Z., Chalasani, P., Pile, J., Kazanzides, P., Taylor, R. H. et al (2016a). Updating Virtual Fixtures From Exploration Data in Force-controlled Model-based Telemanipulation. In ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, pages V05AT07A031-V05AT07A. Charlotte,NC,USA.
  • Wang, L., Chen, Z., Chalasani, P., Yasin, R. M., Kazanzides, P., Taylor, R. H. et al. (2016b). Force-Controlled Exploration for Updating Virtual Fixture Geometry In Model-Mediated Telemanipulation. Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, In press.