I am currently the Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center. You can read about some of my work in NASA Tech Briefs (Dec 2007).

From 2001-2004, I was the Deputy Director of the Virtual Reality and Active Interfaces Group at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and a joint Post-Doctoral Fellow with the CMU Robotics Institute.

Before that, I was a Co-Founder and Vice-President of development for Fourth Planet Inc., a start-up company that created interactive, 3D visualization software.


I have worked in a broad range of areas:

I was co-program chair of the 2007 Human-Robot Interaction Conference and the co-general chair of the 2008 Human-Robot Interaction Conference.

I have extensive experience in communication protocols (including TCP, UDP, HTTP and SMS), interprocess communication toolkits, and network management. I am an experienced Web designer and administrator and have been responsible for Web/database integration, multi-media production, and multi-site deployment.

I have led numerous academic, government and industrial collaborations involving ActivMedia Robotics, the CMU Robotics Institute, K-Team SA, NASA (Glenn Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Johnson Space Center), Lockheed Martin, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In addition, I have founded and run three international user groups: iWarp (Intel parallel processor), WorldToolKit (virtual reality authoring software), and Pioneer (mobile robots).

Current work
[Site Survey] Human-Robot Site Survey
The Human-Robot Site Survey project is studying how multiple robots and humans operating in a variety of team configurations can perform survey tasks such as terrain mapping, resource prospecting and communication coverage assessment.
[Global Connection] Global Connection
The Global Connection Project develops software tools to connect, inform and inspire global communities through spatial images. The project is a partnership between NASA Ames, CMU, Google, and the National Geographic Society. Global Connection is using gigabit imagery, hypermedia, and Google Earth to support disaster response, education, science, and tourism.

In recognition of its disaster response work, Global Connection received a 2006 Tech Museum Award. Learn more: podcast (4MB).

Previous projects
[2006 CFD] Coordinated Field Test at Meteor Crater
The Coordinated Field Test at Meteor Crater was a NASA project involving robots from NASA Ames, JPL and JSC. The field test demonstrated representative operations that might occur after astronauts return from a "typical" extra-vehicular (EVA) sortie on an unpressurized human rover. The NASA Ames K10 robot performed an camera-based inspection ("walkaround") of the NASA JSC Scout rover, collecting high-resolution and high-dynamic range panoramas.
[P2P-HRI] Peer-to-Peer Human-Robot Interaction
The "Peer-to-Peer Human-Robot Interaction" project studied how humans and robots performing well-defined tasks could work as partners. A key part of the project was enabling robots to ask questions of humans and to be more human "compatible". The Peer-to-Peer HRI project developed an interaction architecture, computational cognitive models of spatial language, and quantitative HRI metrics.

Learn more: podcast (6.6MB, from Talking Robots), and video (48MB).
[PdaDriver] PdaDriver
PdaDriver is a user interface for vehicle teleoperation based on a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). PdaDriver enables remote driving with WindowsCE PDA's and a variety of communication links. PdaDriver was originally developed as part of my Ph.D. research and has been used in field demonstrations with the Swiss army.
[NCCR] Sensor Fusion, Visual and Active Interfaces (Swiss NCCR)
Deputy project leader of a ten-member team developing software tools for minimally invasive surgery. Our goal is to enable surgeons to benefit from pre- and intra- operative data throughout the surgical process. My work focuses on vision-based gesture recognition for a non-contact medical computer interface.
[Collaborative Control] Collaborative Control
For my Ph.D. thesis , I created a new system model for teleoperation called collaborative control, which allows the human to serve as an information resource for the robot. As part of this work, I developed a safeguarded robot controller, a PDA-based user interface, and a human-robot dialogue system.
[CO-ME] CO-ME Research Networking Workshop
Co-chair of the first CO-ME RNW. The CO-ME (COmputer Aided and Image Guided MEdical Interventions) program was established in June 2001 to investigate the use of information technology for medical interventions. This workshop provided a forum for information exchange, discussion, and the establishment of collaboration between researchers.
[FPC] Fourth Planet Communicator (FPC)
Product manager and lead software developer for Fourth Planet Communicator. FPC is an interprocess communication toolkit that uses publish and subscribe with centralized caching for efficient, scalable data distribution. FPC provides multiple language API's (C/C++, Java, Perl, TCL) and supports multiple operating systems.
[FPLM] Fourth Planet License Manager (FPLM)
Lead software developer for Fourth Planet License Manager. FPLM is a flexible software licensing system that supports a variety of run-time licenses (nodelock, floating, demo) for time-locked or permanent use. FPLM supports multiple operating systems (HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, Solaris, Windows).
[iWarp] iWarp Parallel Processor Evaluation
The iWarp was an experimental parallel computer designed by Carnegie Mellon University and Intel. The iWarp integrated a VLIW processor and sophisticated communications on a single chip. I led NASA Ames's iWarp evaluation: porting and testing high-performance applications on 64-node systems.
[Ames rover] NASA-Ames Planetary Rover Development
From 1990 to 1993, I was responsible for mobile robot development at NASA Ames. The Ames Telepresence ROV (TROV) was used in a benthic ecology study in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The Mobile Exploration Landrover was a laboratory vehicle for investigating vehicle control and robot perception concepts.
[Navlab] Navlab
The Navlab group builds autonomous vehicles. Applications have included off-road scouting, automated highways, run-off-road collision prevention, and driver assistance. My work focused on vehicle control and localization (IMU and dGPS) for Navlab II, a modified HMMWV.
[Perceptor] Perception for Off-road Robotics (PerceptOR)
Tools for remote driving (vehicle teleoperation) and human-robot interaction. This project involves the development of a handheld user interface (using WinCE, Java, and wireless networking) and a collaborative control dialogue model.
[Social Robots] Robot as Partner: An Exploration of Social Robots
Organizer and co-chair of a full-day technical workshop on social robots (held as part of the IEEE/RSJ IROS-2002 conference. Social robots are robots that can interact on human terms, instead of serving as mere tools. This workshop provides an international forum to examine and explore the state-of-the-art in social robots.
[Web Interfaces] Web Driving Interfaces
As part of my work on Advanced Teleoperation Interfaces, I developed two Web interfaces. The WebPioneer was created for entertainment and education (joint work with ActivMedia Robotics). The WebDriver was designed to make remote robot driving effective, even with novice users and poor network communications.
[VR Teleoperation] Virtual Reality Teleoperation Experiments
While at NASA Ames, I conducted several field teleoperation experiments. My work included testing virtual reality operator interfaces with mobile robots including air-bearing free flyers (Stanford University), the Ames Telepresence ROV (McMurdo Sound, Antarctica), and the CMU Dante II (Mt. Spurr, Alaska).
[VEVI] Virtual Environment Vehicle Interface (VEVI)
VEVI is a visualization tool for quick and easy creation of dynamic 3D simulations. It was used during several high-profile NASA missions and received the NASA Software of Year runner-up award in 1996. I worked as a lead developer on VEVI, from its creation at NASA through commercialization by Fourth Planet.

Contact information

The best way to contact me is via e-mail. Otherwise:
The office +1 (650) 604-1349
The fax +1 (650) 604-4036
Mail Terry Fong
NASA Ames Research Center
M/S 269-3
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

Last modified: Sat Apr 19 15:53:48 2008