NCRN Seminar with Senior Fellow Katja Mombaur


Virtual seminar titled “Endowing Human-Centered Robots with Motion Intelligence” by Prof. Katja Mombaur from University of Waterloo and NCRN Senior Fellow to take place on November 11th at 1:00pm (ET). Registration link sent via email. Please register in advance. Email if you have questions.

Seminar abstract:

Earlier this year I have joined the University of Waterloo as Canada Excellence Chair for Human-Centered Robotics & Machine Intelligence. The goal of this chair is to develop human-centered robotic technology, i.e. robots that directly collaborate with the human or act on the human body and thus need real motion intelligence. The research program integrates theory, computation, and experiments and connect engineering and mathematics to applied health sciences and the humanities – to develop robotic technologies that address the needs of everyone. In this talk I will give an overview of our research fields and hope to explore possibilities of collaborations with other Canadian researchers in Robotics and other disciplines. 
The research fields presented include: 

·  The study of human movement in different situations to get fundamental insights for robot developments and for motion improvement 

·  The development and control of humanoid robots that can move in an efficient, robust and versatile way and are able to assist humans in many areas

·  The development and control of exoskeletons, orthoses, prostheses, and external assistive devices that will greatly improve the lives of persons with restricted mobility or that will prevent injuries in healthy persons

·   As a fundamental ingredient to the three fields above, the development of efficient computational models and algorithms for motion prediction, optimization and control.


Dr. Katja Mombaur joined the University of Waterloo in March 2020 as Full Professor and Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) for Human-Centred Robotics & Machine Intelligence. Her research focuses on understanding human movement by a combined approach of model-based optimization and experiments and using this knowledge to improve motions of humanoid robots and the interactions of humans with exoskeletons, prostheses and external assistive devices. Her goal is to endow humanoid and wearable robots with motion intelligence that allow them to operate safely in a complex human world. Katja has been working in optimal control for more than 20 years, and is one of the pioneers in inverse optimal control and its applications in biomechanics and robotics. She and her team also have a large experience in efficient mechanical modeling of humans and robots and their interactions.

Prior to coming to Canada, Katja has been a full professor at the Institute of Computer Engineering of Heidelberg University and head of the Optimization, Robotics & Biomechanics Chair, as well as coordinator of the Heidelberg Center for Motion Research. She holds a diploma degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Stuttgart and a Ph.D. degree in Mathematics from Heidelberg University and has worked as a researcher at Seoul National University, and at LAAS-CNRS in Toulouse. She has directed the European project KoroiBot (on humanoid robots) and has been part of several other European projects such as Spexor (spinal exoskeletons), MOBOT (assistive devices), and ECHORD (motion planning & optimization), and still is a partner in the ongoing European projects Eurobench (benchmarking bipedal locomotion)  and Agilis (functional electrical stimulation), and one of the directors of the HeiAge project (digital technology for aging) in Heidelberg.