Charlie Kemp, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Healthcare Robotics
Assistant Professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Charles Kemp is an Assistant Professor in The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Center for Healthcare Robotics as part of the Health Systems Institute (HSI). He also directs the activities of the Healthcare Robotics Lab. Charlie joined HSI in September of 2006 and up to that time was a postdoctoral researcher working on robot manipulation in Rod Brooks' Humanoid Robotics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he worked on research to push robot manipulation out of the controlled factory setting into the dynamic and unstructured world we inhabit.
Relating to his research, Dr. Kemp has experience with autonomous mobile manipulation in human environments. He worked with a team of people from Rod Brooks' group on the mobile manipulation system Cardea. His primary responsibilities on the project related to the robot's vision system and visual behaviors. Cardea consisted of a single, custom robot arm placed on a Segway RMP mobile robot platform. The behavior-based robot was able to visually and tactilely navigate down a hall, find a door, orient to it, open it, and pass through it. He also developed a wearable system that learns from the visual and kinematic observation of people's everyday manipulation activities. This work included methods for real-time visual motion processing for the autonomous inference of a kinematic model for the wearer's body and the visual segmentation of everyday objects being manipulated by the wearer.
Dr. Kemp's research continues to focus on robot manipulation in human environments. He proposed and is currently leading a project involving an assistive robot that fetches everyday objects by reaching towards a subject and naturally cueing him or her to hand it the object. This project models prior work where Dr. Kemp collaborated on a robotics application that uses autonomous manipulation to assist a human sitting in a chair to place everyday objects on a shelf. A paper describing this work received the best paper award at the 2006 IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots.