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Howie Choset - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Howie Choset

Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Howie Choset's research reduces complicated high-dimensional problems found in robotics to low-dimensional simpler ones.


Howie Choset is a Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University where he serves as the co-director of the Biorobotics Lab and as director of the Robotics Major. He received his undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Business from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. Choset received his Masters and PhD from Caltech in 1991 and 1996. Choset's research group reduces complicated high-dimensional problems found in robotics to low-dimensional simpler ones for design, analysis, and planning. Motivated by applications in confined spaces, Choset has created a comprehensive program in modular, high DOF, and multi- robot systems, which has led to basic research in mechanism design, path planning, motion planning, and estimation. This work has been supported by both industry and government; DOD support includes two MURIs, one of which Choset was the CO-PI, a young investigator award, and multi-PI awards for modular systems. Choset.s group has produced over 60 journal papers (including 2 in Science and one in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sceince), 180 conference papers and 15 patents. Choset.s work has also been recognized by several best paper awards and nominations at ICRA, IROS and other robotics meetings. Choset's research program has made contributions to challenging and strategically significant problems in diverse areas such as surgery, manufacturing, infrastructure inspection, and search and rescue. In addition to publications, this work has led to Choset, along with his students, to form several companies including Medrobotics, for surgical systems, Hebi Robotics, for modular robots, and Bito Robotics for autonomous guided vehicles. Recently, Choset.s surgical snake robot cleared the FDA and has been in use in the US and Europe since. Choset also leads multi-PI projects centered on manufacturing: (1) automating the programming of robots for auto-body painting; (2) the development of mobile manipulators for agile and flexible fixture-free manufacturing of large structures in aerospace, and (3) the creation of a data-robot ecosystem for rapid manufacturing in the commercial electronics industry. This year, Choset co-lead the formation of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, which is $250MM national institute advancing both technology development and education for robotics in manufacturing. Finally, Choset is a founding Editor of the journal .Science Robotics. and is currently serving on the editorial board of IJRR.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Field & Service Robotics

Applied Mathematics

Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles

Computer Science

Mechanical Systems

Media Appearances (5)

HEBI Robotics promotes Raida to CEO, Rollinson to CTO

The Robot Report Staff  online


HEBI Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based creator of a modular platform for robotics development, named Bob Raida its CEO and Dave Rollinson CTO. Howie Choset, who has been acting CEO, has been named chairman of the board. HEBI said this change in leadership reflects its transition from providing technology to researchers to providing solutions to end-users.

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CMU's Snakebot Goes for a Swim

Carnegie Mellon University News  online


"We can go places that other robots cannot," said Howie Choset, the Kavčić-Moura Professor of Computer Science. "It can snake around and squeeze into hard-to-reach underwater spaces." The project is led by Choset and Matt Travers, co-directors of the Biorobotics Lab.

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Robotics Leaders Choset, Morris to Receive 2019 Engelberger Awards

Robotics Business Review  online


The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) today announced the recipients of the 2019 Engelberger Robotics Awards. Howie Choset, the Kavčić-Moura Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, will receive the Engelberger Robotics Award for Education, and Catherine Morris, group leader and director of automotive sales at ATI Industrial Automation, will receive the Engleberger Award for Leadership.

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Interview with IJARS, with Howie Choset and Seth Hutchinson

ROBOTS Association  online


The IJARS team sat down at ICRA with two influential academics in robotics: Professor Howie Choset (Carnegie Mellon University) and Professor Seth Hutchinson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) to discuss some of the latest developments in robotics, what students of robotics should be focusing on, and what research they most hope to be remembered for.

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The Evolution of the Bioinspired Robot

NOVA  online


If you're not prepared for the sight of them, Howie Choset's robot snakes can make you jump. They slither between chairs and tables in his Carnegie Mellon lab, rear their heads to peer into crevices, and inch their way along pipes on the ceiling. When dropped into a pond, they switch over to sea serpent-mode, twisting tightly as they skim through the water. Like an ophidiophobe's worst nightmare, they will even wrap around your leg and inch their way up toward your groin, if given the chance. "The benefit of the snake is that it's able to reliably get to locations that people and machines can't," Choset says.

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Howie Choset Publication Howie Choset Publication



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Snakes in Space | Howie Choset | RoboLaunch Howie Choset Howie Choset : Biorobotics Lab, Medrobotics, Hebi & Bito Faculty Spotlight: Howie Choset, Robotics Institute, CMU School of Computer Science



Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Accomplishments (2)

Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (professional)


MIT Technology Review TR100 (professional)


Education (4)

University of Pennsylvania: B.S.Econ, Entrepreneurial Management 1990

California Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering 1996

California Institute of Technology: M.S., Mechanical Engineering 1991

University of Pennsylvania: B.S.Eng., Computer Science 1990

Affiliations (1)

  • IEEE

Patents (1)

Vision Sensing Device and Method



Provided is a vision sensing device including a housing, a camera, a laser pattern generator, an inertial measurement unit, and at least one processor configured to project a laser pattern within the field of view of the camera, capture inertial data from the inertial measurement unit as a user moves the housing, capture visual data from the field of view with the camera as the user moves the housing, capture depth data with the laser pattern generator as the user moves the housing, and generate an RGB-D point cloud based on the visual data, the inertial data, and the depth data.

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Articles (5)

Representation granularity enables time-efficient autonomous exploration in large, complex worlds

Science Robotics

2023 We propose a dual-resolution scheme to achieve time-efficient autonomous exploration with one or many robots. The scheme maintains a high-resolution local map of the robot’s immediate vicinity and a low-resolution global map of the remaining areas of the environment. We believe that the strength of our approach lies in this low- and high-resolution representation of the environment: The high-resolution local map ensures that the robots observe the entire region in detail, and because the local map is bounded, so is the computation burden to process it.

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Learning Modular Robot Control Policies

IEEE Transactions on Robotics

2023 Modular robots can be rearranged into a new design, perhaps each day, to handle a wide variety of tasks by forming a customized robot for each new task. However, reconfiguring just the mechanism is not sufficient: each design also requires its own unique control policy. One could craft a policy from scratch for each new design, but such an approach is not scalable, especially given the large number of designs that can be generated from even a small set of modules.

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A Curvature and Trajectory Optimization-based 3D Surface Reconstruction Pipeline for Ultrasound Trajectory Generation

2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

2023 Ultrasound scanning is an efficient imaging modality preferred for quick medical procedures. However, due to the lack of skilled sonographers, researchers have developed many Robotic Ultrasound System (RUS) prototypes for various procedures. Most of these systems have a human-in-the-loop and require an expert to point the robot to the region of the subject to be scanned. Only a few systems try to incorporate some knowledge from the exterior shape of the subject for ultrasound scanning.

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A Conflict-Based Search Framework for Multiobjective Multiagent Path Finding

IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering

2023 Conventional multi-agent path planners typically compute an ensemble of paths while optimizing a single objective, such as path length. However, many applications may require multiple objectives, say fuel consumption and completion time, to be simultaneously optimized during planning and these criteria may not be readily compared and sometimes lie in competition with each other. The goal of the problem is thus to find a Pareto-optimal set of solutions instead of a single optimal solution.

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GLSO: Grammar-guided Latent Space Optimization for Sample-efficient Robot Design Automation

Proceedings of The 6th Conference on Robot Learning

2023 Robots have been used in all sorts of automation, and yet the design of robots remains mainly a manual task. We seek to provide design tools to automate the design of robots themselves. An important challenge in robot design automation is the large and complex design search space which grows exponentially with the number of components, making optimization difficult and sample inefficient.

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