Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group (RVSN)

Mosaic of Robotics images

NEW! Read our group-wide wiki! (Group members should use this link for write access.)

Active and Past Research Projects

A Self-Driving Passenger Car

This page describes some of our efforts as part of the DARPA Grand Challenge to develop a full-size autonomous passenger vehicle. Team MIT was one of only 6 teams (out of 89 original entrants) to complete the DARPA Challenge, which required the vehicle to drive itself (with nobody inside, and no remote control) through an urban-like area.

Spatially-Adaptive Learning Rates for Online Incremental SLAM

Non-linear optimization has traditionally been considered out-of-reach of most SLAM applications do to its computational cost. However, a family of iterative batch algorithms has recently demonstrated remarkably fast convergence. Because they are batch algorithms, however, they are not well-suited to online applications. In this work, we extend the reach of these algorithms to incremental applications by describing a way of maintaining spatially-adaptive learning rates, and a way of accelerating convergence by preferentially optimizing the least-converged parts of the pose graph.

Distributed Sensor Network Localization and Tracking

Given a wireless sensor network consisting of low-power devices, localization is the task of discovering the 2D or 3D positions of the sensor nodes. We have devised a robust distributed localization algorithm that makes use of distance estimates between nodes to compute 2D positions. In addition, the motion of mobile nodes can be reliably tracked. Our experimental testbed consists of the Cricket Location System designed by the Networks and Mobile Systems Group at MIT.

Estimating 6-DOF Pose from Omnidirectional Video and Known Crude Structure

We are developing robust methods for estimating 6-DOF pose in world coordinates from omnidirectional video, given a crude geometric model of the environment.

Fast optimization of Pose Graphs (a SLAM approach)

SLAM can be posed as a nonlinear optimization problem on a graph of poses. We propose a technique for rapidly optimizing these graphs given a set of constraints. As published in ICRA2006.

Fine-Grained Semantic, Topological, and Geometric Modeling of Campus Spaces

Our project aims to extract, model, and provide access to the semantic, topological, and geometric data of the entire MIT campus. Using nearly 1000 floor plans representing 37,000 spaces on the MIT campus, our software models the fine-grain geometry of the campus, and builds a graph network representing space connectivity within the campus. Lastly, we provide an API that allows for straightforward access to this data via the web.

Machine Understanding of Narrated Guided Tours

We are developing a sensor pack and associated algorithms to enable a robot, or hand-held device, to construct a map-like representation from a narrated, guided tour. The idea is that a human user would "show" the device around a space, associating spoken labels (names) with specific locations and objects within the space. The device could then produce names from (later observations of) locations or objects, and (routes to) locations or objects from supplied names.

Particle Video

Our primary goal is the ability to model complex motion and occlusion. We want the algorithm to handle general video, which may include close-ups of people talking, hand-held camera motion, multiple independently moving objects, textureless regions, narrow fields of view, and complicated geometry (e.g. trees or other clutter). A particle approach provides this kind of flexibility.

Single Cluster Graph Partitioning for Robotics Applications

We have developed a graph partitioning algorithm which can identify a cluster of maximally-consistent points, rejecting those points which do not belong to a consistent set. This is in contrast to typical graph partitioning methods which assume that all points belong to one of K clusters. There are numerous robotics applications, including outlier rejection, feature detection and estimation, and data association. As published in RSS2005.

Video Matching (with Applications to Change Detection)

This page describes a method for bringing two videos (recorded at different times, along similar but not identical camera paths) into spatiotemporal alignment, then comparing and combining corresponding pixels for applications such as background subtraction, compositing, and increasing dynamic range. We have also developed a prototype change detection system based on the method.

Ground-Truth, As-Built 3D CAD Model of Stata Center

We have gathered and combined several legacy "as-planned" CAD models of the Stata Center interior (2D) and exterior (3D), and combined them into a single 3D CAD model of the building. The model is "as-built;" it incorporates thousands of field measurements of the actual locations of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and interior and exterior windows. It contains 3D wall surfaces extruded from the 2D floorplans. Both vertical, non-vertical, planar and non-planar walls are represented. The students' reports, and the full model (in DXF format) can be found here.

Organic Indoor Location Discovery Service

We are developing an "organic" indoor location discovery service, in which each user in an extended community contributes a small amount of location-specific information (in our case, WiFi signature data) which can then be aggregated to support location discovery for other users moving through the same space. The students' progress reports, and example open-source code and data, will be archived here.

The Boston Home Connected Mobile Wheelchair

We are working with The Boston Home, a facility for people with MS, to develop an assistive wheelchair. The wheelchair will: provide communication between residents and staff; will localize within and around the facility; and will provide autonomous mobility under speech or other command mode. Our progress will be logged on our wiki.


Jake Ware Student 
Markus Achtelik  Alumni 
Jessi Ambrose  Alumni 
Matthew 'Matt' Antone  Collaborating researcher 
Amelia Arbisser  Alumni 
Arthur "Troy" Astorino troyastorino@gmail.coAlumni 
Abe Bachrach Student 
Alexander Bahr  Alumni 
Eric Bakan ebakan@mit.edUndergraduate Student 
Ashis Banerjee  Alumni 
Patrick Barragan  Alumni 
Daniel Barsky  Visitor 
Kathryn Bartel  Undergraduate Student 
Jonathan Yoni Battat  Alumni 
Greg Belote  Alumni 
Michael Benjamin  Research Scientist 
Mitch Berger mitchb@mit.edDGC Sysadmin 
Radu Berinde radu.berinde@gmail.coAlumni 
Meghana Bhat  Undergraduate Student 
Yves Boussemart  Postdoctoral Associate 
Bryt Bradley Staff (Teller) 
Oliver Brock  Collaborating researcher 
Jonathan Brookshire  PhD Student 
Emma Brunskill  Alumni 
Katie Byl  Alumni 
Stefan Campbell 
Javier Castro  Alumni 
Jian-Hung Chen  Postdoctoral associate 
Yuanyu Chen  Undergraduate Student 
Vanessa Hsu Chen  Alumni 
Han-Lim Choi  Alumni 
Rick Cory  Alumni 
Joe Curcio staff 
Dorothy Curtis  Research Scientist 
Darrel Deo  MSRP Intern 
Steven R. Dickerson  Alumni 
Sophie Diehl  Undergraduate Student 
David Diel  Alumni 
Christopher Dolan cdolan@mit.edUndergraduate Student 
Kenneth M. Donahue  Alumni 
Finale Doshi  PhD Student 
Will Drevo  Undergraduate Student 
Danny Eads  Alumni 
Donald Eng  Alumni 
Brady J Enstad  Undergraduate Student 
Ugur M. Erdem  Collaborating researcher 
Isaac N Evans  Undergraduate Student 
Maurice Fallon  Research Scientist 
Xue Feng  PhD Student 
Ross Finman  PhD Student 
Chelsea Finn  Undergraduate Student 
Ryan Fish  Undergraduate Student 
Mike Flaxman  Collaborating researcher 
Mike Fleder  MEng Student 
Luke Fletcher  Postdoctoral Associate 
John Folkesson 
Liz Fong  Undergraduate Student 
Maria Frendberg mfrend@mit.edAlumni 
Ricky Galvao  Alumni 
Alborz Geramifard  PhD Student 
Grayson Giovine  Alumni 
Ross Glashan  Alumni 
Jared Glover  Alumni 
Valerie Gordeski  Alumni 
Priscilla Graeff  Alumni 
Forrest Green fgreen@mit.edAlumni 
William Nicholas Greene  Collaborating researcher 
Lee Gross  Undergraduate Student 
Riad I. Hammoud  Collaborating researcher 
Li Haoyi  Undergraduate Student 
Sophia M. Hasenfus shasen@mit.edSupport Staff (Roy) 
David S. Hayden  PhD Student 
Ruijie 'RJ' He ruijie@mit.edAlumni 
Jonathan Hechtbauer jonathan.hechtbauer@googlemail.coVisitor 
Sachithra M. Hemachandra  PhD Student 
Garrett Hemann  Alumni 
Ted Hilk  Undergraduate Student 
Katherine Hobbs khobbs@mit.edAlumni 
Kyle Holmes klh554@mit.edAlumni 
Bianca S. Homberg  Alumni 
Doug Horner  Visitor 
Thomas 'Tom' Howard Associate 
Andy Huang  Undergraduate Student 
Hank HsinHan Huang  Alumni 
Albert Huang  Alumni 
Karl Iagnemma  Collaborating researcher 
Peter Iannucci  Alumni 
Paul Ilardi paul.ilardi@baesystems.coCollaborating researcher 
Richard T. Ivey  Collaborating researcher 
Gregory Izatt gizatt@caltech.edUndergraduate Student 
Allison 'Allie' Jacobs  Undergraduate Student 
Jeong hwan Jeon  PhD Student 
Zijun Jia  Visitor 
Hordur Johannsson  PhD Student 
Collin Johnson  Alumni 
Troy B. Jones  Alumni 
Steven Jens Jorgensen  Undergraduate Student 
Josh Joseph Student 
Michael Kaess  Research Scientist 
Akari Kameyama  Alumni 
Arash Kani  Undergraduate Student 
James 'Jamie' Karraker jamesk@mit.edMEng Student 
Sisir Karumanchi  Collaborating researcher 
Jonathan S. Kelly  Postdoctoral Associate 
Steven Keyes  Undergraduate Student 
Been 'Beenie' Kim  Alumni 
Robert H. Klein  PhD Student 
Ara Knaian  Alumni 
Olivier Koch 
Michael 'Mike' Kokko kokkom@mit.edAlumni 
Thomas Kollar  Alumni 
Jaguar Kristeller  Undergraduate Student 
Maithilee Kunda mkunda@mit.edAlumni 
Clayton 'Clay' Kunz 
David Lambeth  Alumni 
Mitch Leammukda  Collaborating researcher 
Jonathan Ledlie  Research Affiliate 
John Leonard  Faculty 
Rui Li  PhD Student 
Jennifer Li  Alumni 
William Li  PhD Student 
Karim Liman-Tinguiri  Undergraduate Student 
Mark D. Van de Loo  Alumni 
Cristina Lozano  Undergraduate Student 
Keoni Mahelona kkm2635@draper.coAlumni 
Kenny Mandel  Undergraduate Student 
Pat Marion  Collaborating researcher 
Benjamin I Mattinson  Undergraduate Student 
Daniel Maturana  Visitor 
David McCoy  Collaborating researcher 
Bernard J Michini  Collaborating researcher 
David Moore  Alumni 
Battushig Myanganbayar  Undergraduate Student 
Rahul Kumar Namdev  PhD Student 
Shirish Nilekar  Collaborating researcher 
Sebastian Nowak snowak77@gmail.coVisitor 
Edwin Olson eolson@mit.edAlumni 
Paruku 'Faruh' Paerhati  Undergraduate Student 
Junfeng 'Jeff' Pan  Alumni 
Georgios Papadopoulos  PhD Student 
Leonid 'Lenny' Paritsky  Alumni 
Jun-geun Park  PhD Student 
Sooho Park  Alumni 
Alex Patrikalakis  Alumni 
Alejandro Perez  Visitor 
Plamena Petrova  Collaborating researcher 
Thao K. Phan tkphan@mit.edUndergraduate Student 
Sudeep Pillai  PhD Student 
Christian Plagemann  Alumni 
Alec J Poitzsch  Undergraduate Student 
Ingmar Posner 
Pallavi Powale  MEng Student 
Sam Prentice sam.prentice@gmail.coPhD Student 
Javier L. Prieto  Collaborating researcher 
Akhil Raju  Undergraduate Student 
Brooks Reed  Undergraduate Student 
Dwayne Reeves  Undergraduate Student 
Bryan Reimer reimer@mit.edCollaborating researcher 
Dane Richter  Alumni 
Charlie Richter  PhD Student 
Khashayar Rohanimanesh  Alumni 
Andres Romero  Undergraduate Student 
Nicholas Roy  Faculty 
Carlos R. Rubio  Undergraduate Student 
Peter Sand  Alumni 
Chris Sanders  Alumni 
Ashutosh Saxena asaxena@cs.cornell.edCollaborating researcher 
Marcello Scarnecchia  Alumni 
Toby E. Schneider  Postdoctoral Associate 
Benjamin Shaya  Undergraduate Student 
Sabrina Q. Shemet  Undergraduate Student 
Alec Shkolnik Affiliate 
Dimitar Simeonov  Alumni 
Raj R. Singh  Visitor 
Manohar B Srikanth  PhD Student 
Harvey Tang  Alumni 
Seth Teller  Faculty 
Stefanie Tellex stefie10@fefie.coAlumni 
Pratiksha R Thaker  Undergraduate Student 
Eric M Timmons  Alumni 
John 'Mofe' Uku  Alumni 
Prithvi Undavalli  Undergraduate Student 
William R Vega-Brown  PhD Student 
Javier Velez  PhD Student 
Hon Fai Vuong  Alumni 
Anna Waldo awaldo@mit.edUndergraduate Student 
Matthew Walter  Research Scientist 
Amanda Wang amwang@mit.edUndergraduate Student 
Hsueh-Cheng 'Nick' Wang  Postdoctoral Associate 
Andrew Wang wangaj@mit.edAlumni 
Daniel 'Dan' Weber  Undergraduate Student 
Yuan Wei  Undergraduate Student 
Wu Weilun wuweilun@gmail.coUndergraduate Student 
Emily Whiting  Alumni 
James Wiken  Undergraduate Student 
Evan Wilson  Undergraduate Student 
Jennifer L. Wong  Undergraduate Student 
Geoffrey Peter Wright gpwright@gmail.coUndergraduate Student 
Christina Wright  Alumni 
Brian Xiuken Wu  PhD Student 
Xiao Xiao  Alumni 
Yang Yang  Alumni 
Ryan Young  Alumni 
Kuan-Ting 'Peter' Yu peterkty@gmail.coPhD Student 

Publications, Reports, Supplemental Materials

Online list of RVSN publications as available.

Older Research Projects

Robust Range-Only Beacon Localization

Most autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) rely on fixed navigational beacons whose locations are known in advance. We show how AUVs can build maps dynamically without any prior knowledge, using only range data. As published in AUV2004.

Robotics, Vision, and Sensor Networks Group
32 Vassar Street, 32-33x
Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel: 617-253-6583
Fax: 617-258-7413
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