DIAG Robotics Lab - Thesis topics

Many theoretical and/or experimental activities are available at the DIAG Robotics Lab as master theses. Typically, they are related to on-going research activities, especially in the context of european and italian projects in which we are involved. Occasionally, we propose theses to be done at companies, or at universities and research centers around the world. Self-proposed thesis arguments are also welcome.

Each thesis at the DIAG Robotics Lab is supervised by one of the faculty members. To apply for a thesis, contact the contact person in advance. It is better to sign up when you have yet 3 or 4 exams to take. It is also desirable to have at least one control or robotics course in your curriculum.

A tentatively up-to-date list of theses is given below. Consider however that this is just a selection of the available topics; for further information check our research webpages.

Mixed reality for drone swarms (added February 2023; contact: Oriolo)

swarm of crazyfliesThe project aims at building a Mixed Reality environment for a swarm of Crazyflies, small drones developed for indoor experimentation (https://www.bitcraze.io/products/crazyflie-2-1). First of all, a virtual environment is built (e.g., around an existing simulator) and a digital twin of the drones is created. Exploiting the global position information, it is possible to link real drones to the virtual environment and create any sort of virtual sensor (e.g., gas plume detection, cameras and so forth). The sensor readings corresponding to the robot position are then communicated to the drones through the radio channel, so that the drones can take the necessary control decisions. Eventually, tests with up to 20 real Crazyflies will be conducted.

As a possible extension, the mixed reality system can be connected with an existing mixed reality environment for kilobot robots, creating the conditions for research in heterogeneous robot swarms. The project is conducted at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council in Rome (https://www.istc.cnr.it) under the supervision of Dr. Vito Trianni. Good programming skills (C++, Python) are required.

Professional camera support (added July 2022; contact: De Luca)

Robot arm on
          satellite Cartoni is an international leader in designing, manufacturing, and marketing professional camera supports for motion picture and television industries.
Based in Roma (Via di Portonaccio) since 1935, the company has an history of mechanical innovation that ensured its success (and multiple awards). Cartoni owns and uses in its products 33 different patents on fluid action counterbalance systems and tripods. More recently, it started a research line on automation of the camera usage with its multi-dof systems of support (see the video). Possible topics of interest for a master thesis in Control Engineering or in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics include (in order of temporal immediacy):
- Optimal tuning of PID laws and general improvement of the remote control system of the single driving axes (up to 5) supporting the camera motion.
- Position vs. velocity control schemes, with associated programming, acquisition and accurate repetion of desired sequences of camera motions.
- Study and design of an integrated control system that coordinates the motion of the individual axes, driven by image features extracted and tracked in the camera frame (visual servoing).
- Feasibility analysis of a system that tracks in real time the pose (position and orientation) of the camera, based on infrared sensing (or similar technology) and passive targets in the environnment and on the mobile subject (indoor and outdoor).

Real-time estimation of human-body pose with IMU wearable sensors (added May 2021; contact: De Luca)

Body IMUs The objective of this master thesis is to investigate the use of wearable sensors in order to identify in real time the pose of the human body during a workout. The study aims at testing the technology of IMU sensors, both in static and dynamic conditions. The main technical topics concern:
- calibration process for the body baseline setting;
- body movements estimation from the output of five wearable IMU sensors.
The thesis will be conducted in the Lab, with sensors provided by a partner in North Italy.

Task control of a robot manipulator mounted on a satellite (added Dec 2019; contact: De Luca)

Robot arm on satelliteThis project will take place at the Thales Alenia Space Italia (TASI) site in Roma. The work is based on previous results on the analysis of the dynamic couplings between a floating satellite and a robot arm mounted on it, on the disturbances produced by the robot motion on the satellite attitude, and on the design of control laws minimizing these effects. The new objective is the design, study and implementation of control laws for the composite system by considering: i) more complex operational tasks; ii) cases in which the robot manipulator is connected to a second satellite (with the associated kinematic and dynamic constraints); iii) a new view on the singularity of system configurations as a function of changes in the satellite attitude (actuation constraints).

The ideal candidate should be enrolled in Master studies in Robotics or Control Engineering and have a solid background in robotics, in particular on dynamics and control, a good command of Simulink/Matlab and/or of other simulation packages, and programming skills in C/C++.

Attitude disturbance rejection for a 2-dof mechanical system (added Dec 2019; contact: De Luca)

Omega simulationThis project takes place at the Seastema site in Roma. Seastema, a company of the Fincantieri group, is a global supplier of integrated marine automation technologies. The work consists in designing, simulating, and implementing a control scheme within a real-time sensing/actuation architecture for a mechanical platform carrying a radar, so as to compensate through quick and accurate pitch and roll motions any disturbance acting on the attitude of the radar system.

The ideal candidate should be enrolled in the Master in Control Engineering, have a solid background in kinematics, dynamics and control aspects, a good command of Simulink/Matlab or of other simulation packages, and real-time programming skills.

 Topics on humanoids and human-centered mechatronics (added Nov 2019; contact: Oriolo or De Luca)

CENTAURO robot at IITA number of topics for master theses is available in the Humanoids & Human Centered Mechatronics (HHCM) group of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genova, under the supervision of Dr. Nikos Tsakaragis and Dr. Enrico Mingo. Typically, internships are for about 6 months and living expenses can be partly covered. The topics deal with motion planning and balancing or locomotion control of biped and quadruped robots in manipulation tasks and interacting with the environment. The experimental validation will be based on the CENTAURO and COMAN+ robots. More details are available in this document.

Ideal candidates should be enrolled in Master studies in Robotics or Control Engineering, must have solid background in robotics, in particular about dynamic and control aspects, and programming skills in C/C++.

Sensor-based supervision of robotic manufacturing tasks (added Nov 2019; contact: De Luca)

UR3 at Konica Minolta LabSelected topics for a master thesis are available occasionally in the Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe located in Roma, under the local supervision of Francesco Puja and his team. One such topic deals with a Gazebo simulated environment for robotics manufacturing and focuses on learning methods for robot grasping, as described in detail in this document. Another topic explores the use of depth sensing information to guarantee safe coexistence of a human sharing the workspace with a Universal Robots UR3.

Ideal candidates should be enrolled in Master studies in Robotics or Control Engineering, must have a solid background in robotics, in particular on human-robot interaction and visual-based control, good command of dynamic simulation packages and programming skills in C/C++.

Human-robot interaction and sensor-based programming (added Oct 2019; contact: De Luca)

ABB Yumi bimanual robotA number of projects for master thesis is available at the Robotics and Motion Division of ABB Italia in Sesto S. Giovanni (Milano), under the local supervision of Beatrice Procoli. The current topics deal with robot programming by camera integration or by voice commands, object recognition with the ABB Yumi robot, or avoiding collisions during robot task execution with a camera sensor. More details are available in this document.

Ideal candidates should be enrolled in Master studies in Robotics or Control Engineering, must have a solid background in robotics, in particular on physical/cognitive human-robot interaction and sensor-based control, and programming skills in C/C++.

DIAG Robotics Lab