Here are the robots I have worked on or with in the past. A description of my current research can be found elsewhere.


Before it became an underwater sensor network project, AMOUR was envisioned by Iuliu and me as an underwater self-replicating robot. We designed a cylinder-based stacking architecture of modules, each of which would carry a specific function: the motor unit, extra batteries, extra computational power, sensors etc. The complete robot was to collect and dock to these units scattered underwater until a second robot was formed and could separate. AMOUR v.1 was our first prototype which demonstrated all the required abilities including underwater navigation and docking in a single, non-modular design.

I. Vasilescu, P. Varshavskaya, K. Kotay and D. Rus. Autonomous Modular Optical Underwater Robot (AMOUR): Design, Prototype and Feasibility Study. International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Barcelona, Spain, April 2005. [ pdf ]

I am particularly proud of the AMOUR acronym.

Cardea was a mobile manipulation robot that opened doors. It was a large team effort by the Humanoid Robotics Group led by Rod Brooks, that involved integration of a behavior-based architecture, visual and sonar-based navigation and reaching, all atop the dynamically stable Segway RMP platform. My contributions to the project included an early version of the vision system, sensor-mounting hardware, and developing and testing the overall navigation architecture.

R.A. Brooks, L. Aryananda, A. Edsinger, P. Fitzpatrick, C.C. Kemp, U.-M. O'Reilly, E. Torres-Jara, P. Varshavskaya, and J. Weber, Sensing and manipulating built-for-human environments, International Journal of Humanoid Robotics 1:1 (March 2004), pp.1-28 [ pdf ]

WormBot started as a summer project at the Telluride Workshop for Neuromorphic Engineering. Together with Joerg Conradt of ETH Zurich we received a grant from INE to build a large serpentine robot. The third and final version of WormBot had 60 identical segments and ran a neurologically plausible CPG-based distributed control algorithm. The robot was manually reconfigurable and the segments could be rotated with respect to the connection axis to yield worm-like or snake-like gaits with the same controller.

J. Conradt, R.J. Douglas, P. Varshavskaya, and K. Preuschoff, A CPG-driven Autonomous Robot, Seventeenth Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (demo track), Vancouver, BC, Canada, December 2003 [ pdf ]

J. Conradt, P. Varshavskaya, Distrubuted Central Pattern Generator Control for a Serpentine Robot, International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2003 [ pdf ]

P. Varshavskaya, J. Conradt, WormBot - A Mobile Robotic Worm, INE Progress Report, January 2003 [ pdf ]

This expressive humanoid head robot was developed by Cynthia Breazeal with the help of others in the Humanoid Robotics Group, then at the AI Lab. My Master's thesis project was a proto-word acquisition system for Kismet.

Kismet is now on display at the MIT Museum.

P. Varshavskaya (Varchavskaia), Behavior-Based Early Language Development on a Humanoid Robot, Second International Workshop on Epigenetic Robotics, Edinburgh, UK, August 2002 [ pdf ]