Seminar: Augmenting Humans in Design Fabrication, Robotics, and Workflows Through Spatially Aware Interfaces

by | Oct 28, 2020

Karthik Ramani
Donald W. Feddersen Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
November 6, 2020 1PM – 2PM (CDT)
Seminar will be presented via Zoom (

Augmenting Humans in Design Fabrication, Robotics and Workflows Through Spatially Aware Interfaces

The convergence of many factors such as low-cost sensors, electronics, computing, fabrication, and more recently machine learning, aided by new designs for human interactive interfaces, has created the potential to redesign our physical ecosystem. I will describe three themes in our research. First is redesigning intuitive design tools to enable easy access to manufacturing for non-experts. I will provide examples of mixed dimensional suggestive modeling and creating objects directly for use in the physical world. Second, I will show construction of reconfigurable modular robots and mixed reality interactions with new forms of distributed intelligence and spatial-visual programming system for robot-IoT workflows. Such interfaces can give rise to vastly new forms of smart machines, robotic structures, and functions. Third, I will demonstrate new forms of location-aware collaborative intelligence and information exchange between humans-robots and contexts. I will describe two augmented reality constructs: (a) GhostAR, a time-space editor for authoring and embodied acting for Human-Robot-Collaborative (HRC) tasks in-situ, and (b) CAPturAR, an in-situ programming tool that supports users to rapidly author context-aware applications by referring to their previous activities. With such possibilities, human work can be more productive and agile by using cognitively intuitive and spatially aware interfaces that can increase human capacity and aid the human(s)-robot(s)-machine(s) to work together.

For additional details, please contact Dr. P.K. Raju at or Dr. Jeff Suhling at

Karthik Ramani

Karthik Ramani

Karthik Ramani is the Donald W. Feddersen Professor of School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, with courtesy appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering and College of Education. He earned his B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1985, an MS from Ohio State University, in 1987, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1991, all in Mechanical Engineering. He has received many awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations. He has served in the editorial board of Elsevier Journal of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design (JMD). In 2008 he was a visiting Professor at Stanford University (computer sciences), research fellow at PARC (formerly Xerox PARC). In 2016 summer he was visiting professor Oxford University Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He also serves on the Engineering Advisory sub-committee for SBIR/STTR for the NSF. In 2006 and 2007, he won the Most Cited Journal Paper award from CAD and the Research Excellence award in the College of Engineering at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the Outstanding Commercialization award from Purdue University. He was the co-founder of the world’s first commercial shape-based parts search engine (VizSeek) and more recently co-founded ZeroUI whose product (Ziro) won the Best of Consumer Electronics Show Finalist (CES 2016). His research interests are in the internet-of-things, augmented reality, modular and flexible robotic platforms, and human-machine interactions. His current projects include computer vision for object detection and grasp planning, modular robotic platform design, shape recognition using geometric deep learning, and physical reality simulation platform. His current research emphasis is to develop a Physical-Simulation Platform that will allow one to realistically simulate interactions between workers, robots, and machines in future workplaces such as factories and warehouses.