What is NEMS?

The theme of NEMS is robotic grasping and manipulation research, which includes perception, mechanics, and algorithms. The purpose of NEMS is to bring together researchers in the Northeast with these interests to talk about their work and to foster collaborations. Additionally, NEMS gives students a chance to present their work and discuss ideas. In 2015, NEMS had about 80 participants from 25 institutions.


8:30 — 9:00 Registration

9:00 — 9:10 Welcome and Introduction — Robert Platt, Peter Whitney

9:10 — 10:10 Session 1: Perception
9:10 — 9:30 SUM: Sequential Scene Understanding and Manipulation, Zhiqiang Sui, Zheming Zhou, Zhen Zeng, Odest Chadwicke Jenkins, University of Michigan
9:30 — 9:50 Scene-level Programming by Demonstration, Zhen Zeng, Zheming Zhou, Zhiqiang Sui, Odest Chadwicke Jenkins, University of Michigan
9:50 — 10:10 Reasoning about 3D Geometry with Touch and Vision, Jacob Varley, Chad DeChant, Adam Richardson, Joaquín Ruales, Peter Allen, Columbia

10:10 — 10:50 Coffee, Posters, Demos

10:50 — 12:10 Session 2: Contact
10:50 — 11:10 Empirical Evaluation of Common Contact Models for Planar Impact, Nima Fazeli, Evan Drumwright, and Alberto Rodriguez, MIT
11:10 — 11:30 Rigid Body Dynamic Simulation with Non-point Contact, Jiayin Xie and Nilanjan Chakraborty, SUNY Stony Brook
11:30 — 11:50 Realtime Tactile-aware Object Pose Estimation, Peter KT Yu, Alberto Rodriguez, MIT
11:50 — 12:10 The virtues of soft fingers that extract high resolution contact geometry., Edward Adelson, MIT

12:10 — 1:30 Lunch, Posters, Demos

1:30 — 2:50 Session 3: Mechanisms
1:30 — 1:50 Design of tendon-driven manipulators for contact control Neelima Sharma and Madhusudhan Venkadesan, Yale
1:50 — 2:10 Towards Robust, Whole-hand Caging Manipulation with
Underactuated Hands
, Raymond R. Ma, Walter G. Bircher, Aaron M. Dollar, Yale
2:10 — 2:30 Proprioception-Based Grasping using a Gripper with Series Elastic Actuation, Tianjian Chen and Matei Ciocarlie, Columbia
2:30 — 2:50 A soft robotic manipulator system for deep-sea biological sampling, Brennan T. Phillips, Daniel Vogt, Griffin Whittredge, Shunichi Kurumaya, Kaitlyn P. Becker, Clark Teeple, Kevin C. Galloway, David F. Gruber, Robert J. Wood, Harvard

2:50 — 3:30 Coffee, Posters, Demos

3:30 — 4:50 Session 4: Planning, HCI
3:30 — 3:50 Virtual Learning from Demonstration, Jun Dong, Jeff Trinkle, RPI
3:50 — 4:10 The Dual-Arm Capture of Simulated Space Objects, David S. Carabis, John T. Wen, RPI
4:10 — 4:30 Hierarchical System for BCI-enabled Shared Autonomy , Iretiayo Akinola, Boyuan Chen, Jonathan Koss, Aalhad Patankar, Jake Varley, Peter Allen, Columbia
4:30 — 4:50 Passive Reaction Analysis for Grasp Stability, Maximilian Haas-Heger, Matei Ciocarlie, Columbia

4:50 — 5:00 Closing Remarks — Robert Platt, Peter Whitney


Francois R. Hogan Hybrid Controller Design for Planar Manipulation Tasks, Toronto
Qian Wan, Robert Howe Tactile Resolution and Grasp Stability Prediction, Harvard
Michael W. Lanighan, Takeshi Takahashi, Rod Grupen Robust Simple Assembly via Hierarchical Belief Space Planning, UMass Amherst
Gregory Izatt, Russ Tedrake Robust Object Pose Estimation with Point Clouds from Vision and Touch, MIT
Karthik Desingh, Kevin French, Odest Chadwicke Jenkins A Nonparametric Approach to Scene Estimation with object-object interactions towards Goal-directed Manipulation, Michigan
Zhe Xu, Sayan Saha, Agung Julius Advisory Temporal Logic Inference and Controller Design for Performance improvement, RPI
Maira Saboia da Silva, Vivek Thangavelu, Nils Napp Robotic system for autonomous construction using irregular found objects, SUNY Buffalo
Ashwin Deshpande, Leslie Kaelbling, Tomas Lozano-Perez Decidability of Manipulation Planning, MIT
David Watkins, Chaiwen Chou, Caroline Weinberg, Jacob Varley, Lynne Weber, Kenneth Lyons, Sanjay Joshi, Peter Allen, Joel Stein Human Robot Interface for Assistive Grasping, Columbia
Marcus Gualtieri, Andreas ten Pas, Robert Platt Pick and Place Without Geometric Object Models, Northeastern
Ulrich Viereck, Andreas ten Pas, Robert Platt Learning a visuomotor controller for real world robotic grasping using easily simulated depth images, Northeastern
Andreas ten Pas Grasp Pose Detection, a Tutorial, Northeastern
Murphy Wonsick, Velin Dimitrov, Xianchao Long, Maozhen Wang, Taskin Padir Developing Autonomous Behaviors for NASA’s Valkyrie Humanoid Robot, Northeastern
Philip Long, Aykut Onol, Xianchao Long, Taskin Padir Cooperative Control of Humanoid Robots for Remote Operations in Nuclear Environments, Northeastern
Pauline Maurice, Salah Bazzi, Fei Ye, Neville Hogan, Dagmar Sternad Predictability, Effort and (Anti-)Resonance in Complex Object Control, Northeastern


Amazon Robotics A Kiva for Carrying Drinks
MIT GelSight Tactile Sensor
Northeastern Prosthetic Hand
Northeastern NASA-JSC Valkyrie Hand
Northeastern Toyota HSR Robot
Northeastern Grasping in Clutter
Northeastern A Transmission for Low Impedance Actuation
RightHand Robotics Hands and Algorithms for Piece Picking

Where will it be this year?

the interior of the ISEC
The interior of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The 12th annual New England Manipulation Symposium (NEMS) will be held at Northeastern University on June 9th, 2017.

How do I register?

Attendance (Deadline June 1): There is no registration fee to attend NEMS. If you plan to attend, please send an email to kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu with the subject “Attending NEMS 2017” and a message containing your name and affiliation. Please indicate whether you will need a parking pass. Lunch will be provided.

Presentation (Deadline May 15): If you are interested in giving a presentation on your work at the symposium, please register and email an informative title, the names and affiliations of the authors, and an abstract to kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu with the subject “Presenting at NEMS 2017”. Topics should be related to robotic manipulation, but can otherwise span any range of sub-topics. We expect each speaker to have approximately a 20min slot.

Poster (Deadline May 15): If you are interested in presenting your work in the poster session, please register and email an informative title, the names and affiliations of the authors, and an abstract to kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu with the subject “Poster at NEMS 2017”. The scope of the posters can lie outside of the scope of the conference, but should be on a topic that will likely be of interest to the attendees. All posters should be “A0” size (33in x 46in). They can be either horizontal or vertical. We are providing cardboard backing and easels.

Demo (Deadline May 15): If you are interested in presenting your work as a demo, please register and email an informative description of the demo to kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu with the subject “Demo at NEMS 2017”.


NEMS 2017 will be held in the new Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC) at Northeastern University, Boston MA. ISEC is marked by the gold star surrounded by the red circle on the map below.

To get to Northeastern using public transportation, take the orange (subway) line to Ruggles station or the green E (subway) line to Northeastern University station. Ruggles is also a commuter rail station, and there are a number of buses that stop there. The map below shows subway MBTA stations marked with a “T” logo and West Village H is marked by a red circle and white graduation cap.

If you’re driving, then you should park in the Renaissance parking garage on Northeastern University’s campus (shown in black on the map below). At the event we will hand out parking passes so that you can exit the garage without having to pay the fee. If you need a parking pass but haven’t requested one yet, please email kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu so that we request the correct number of passes.


NEMS 2017 is co-organized this year by Rob Platt and Peter Whitney. For registration and other administrative issues, please contact Colin Kohler, kohler.c(at)husky.neu.edu.



Past Conferences