Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center (RIM) Seminar-J. Sean Humbert

Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held in room 1116 in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building from 12-1 p.m. Seminars are open to the public.

J. Sean Humbert, Associate Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland-College Park, presents Principles of Sensorimotor Control at Insect Scales.  

Control architectures for nature’s small, agile flyers exhibit substantial differences from their engineered counterparts. For instance, latency is minimized by neurons that spatially weight across non-orthogonal arrays of sensors as opposed to traditional temporal filtering of small numbers of orthogonally arranged sensors to achieve signal to noise improvements. In this talk I will discuss several of these distinctions in the context of distillable solutions for small-scale engineered systems including: directionality and observability properties of insect sensory structures such as the compound eye; reduced order models of flapping flight dynamics and analysis of high speed videography of insects in free flight to understand controllability properties; implications for efficient coupling of sensing and actuation; and hardware implementations and demonstrations of insect-inspired sensorimotor architectures.


J. Sean Humbert holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, College Park and an affiliate faculty in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute for Systems Research. Dr. Humbert is the Director of the Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory at the University of Maryland, which conducts research in robotics, estimation, and control theory, with applications to biological sensing and locomotion (insects, aquatics), small scale Micro/Nano Air Vehicles (MAVs), and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Current efforts include sensing and estimation in small scale biological systems, and flight dynamics and control in insects and robotic aerial microsystems. Dr. Humbert is the recipient of the AIAA National Capital Section Hal Andrews Young Scientist/Engineer Award, and best overall paper awards at the American Control Conference and the AIAA Conference on Guidance, Navigation and Control. He is an ARO Young Investigator and currently Associate Director of the MAST-CTA on Microsystem Mechanics.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, October 17, 2012
    12:00 pm - Thursday, October 18, 2012
    12:59 pm
Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building
Phone: (404) 385-3300

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  • J. Sean Humbert

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Josie Giles
RIM Communications Officer