The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | Nov 16 2007

Robotics Institute Seminar, Nov 16, 2007
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

“Athletic Walking”



Vytas Sunspiral

ArmLab, Intelligent Robotics Group
NASA Ames 


Time and Place


Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305 )

Talk 3:30 pm




Going to the moon and establishing long term research stations is a task many times more complex then the original Apollo missions.   One challenge is that, for safety reasons, the landing site will be many kilometers away from the moon base itself.  Thus, an efficient means must be devised for transporting large infrastructure, such as habitat modules, across long distances and potentially difficult and steep terrain.  This talk will focus on the work Vytas SunSpiral is leading to develop decision support tools to enable Athlete, a 6 legged 54 DOF robot, to walk over rough terrain.   This effort will also highlight a path for bridging the gap between pure teleoperation and fully autonomous robotics, which will be of interest to anyone looking to infuse autonomy into future NASA missions.


Speaker Biography



Vytas SunSpiral is currently the Principal Investigator for the ArmLab, within the Intelligent Robotics Group, Intelligent Systems Division (Code TI), at NASA Ames Research Center; the Project Lead for the ESAS-12 Athlete Foot Fall Planning Project; and a Project Scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.

Prior to starting work at NASA, Vytas was the Robot Personality Engineer and Technical Manager at Mobot Inc. (1998-2000), a Pittsburgh, PA based robotics company which built unsupervised fully autonomous socially interactive robotic tour guides for museums.  The robots built by Mobot achieved unprecedented records of long term autonomous deployment as they operated autonomously on a daily basis in public spaces for multiple years with no direct human supervision.


Speaker Appointments


For appointments, please contact John Dolan (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.