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Christopher  Assad's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 198-219
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Member of:
Robotic Actuation and Sensing Group

Christopher Assad
Research Technologist
(Short description>>)

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, May 1997. Thesis: Electric field maps and boundary element simulations of electrolocation in weakly electric fish.
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, June 1987. Graduated with honors.
SUNY/Buffalo, Sep 1982-June 1984 (transferred to Caltech after sophomore year)
High School: Kenmore East, Town of Tonawanda, New York, Class of 1982

2009-present: PI on JPL DRDF, "Dynamic Stability for Efficient Legged Locomotion." Co-Is: B. Kennedy (JPL), Prof. M. Hartmann (Northwestern University)
2006-present: Co-I on “An Exploratory Study of Bio-Inspired Pedestrian Detection and Driver Health Monitor Systems,” funded by DENSO Automotive. Goals: Detect pedestrians with a UWB pulsed radar sensor; monitor heartbeat and breathing of driver with remote sensing. PI: Prof. Joel Burdick (Caltech)
2007-2008: Support for "Mars Celestial Navigator," funded by the Mars Technology Program. Goal: develop a combined IMU/camera sensor for autonomous position determination of an aerial vehicle at Mars. PI: J. Alexander (JPL)
2007-2008: JPL PI on SURP/DRDF "Mission Contingencies for Team (Astronaut-Robot-Mission Control) Interactions." Co-Is: W. Burleson, K. Hodges (ASU), D. Newman, S. Dubowsky (MIT)
2007-2008: Support for EMOS "Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor" protoflight project, funded by the NASA Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control program. Goal: Mini mass spectrometer/ gas chromatograph instrument to monitor air quality on the International Space Station.
2007: Support for JPL Strategic Initiative R&TD, “Optical Transceivers for High-Rate Mars Links.” Goal: High throughput laser communications from surface to orbit. PI: A. Biswas (JPL)
2006: Task lead on JPL Spontaneous R&TD, “Multi-Electrode EMG Sleeve Human-Machine Interface." Goal: Integrate EMG array into sleeve to track finger forces, for application to power-assisted EVA gloves and telerobotic interfaces.
2004-2006: Co-I on JPL DRDF, "Real-Time Landmark Tracking." Goals: Design neural network for visual landmark tracking, implement in parallel FPGA hardware, demonstrate in rover navigation application. Co-Is: Chao (JPL), Huntsberger (JPL), Hanan (U Oklahoma), Perona (Caltech)
2005-2006: Co-I on "Elasmobranch Brain-Machine Interface," funded by DARPA Bio-Inspired Undersea Sensors program. Goal: Brain implants in freely swimming sharks. PIs: Andersen, Burdick (Caltech)
2000-2005: Task lead on "Biological Computing," sponsored by JPL CISM and NASA CICT/ITSR Revolutionary Computing program area. Goals: Model sensory-motor control algorithms in vertebrate nervous systems, to help develop more intelligent and autonomous robotic explorers. Projects included modelling cerebellum to perform dynamic state estimation, models of fish electrosensory systems and rat vibrissal systems for biomorphic sensing, spiking neuron information coding and networks, and biomorphic robotics. Collaborators: Hartmann (Northwestern University), Paulin (University of Otago)
2004-2005: Task lead on "Fault Detection Signal Analysis for Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Control," sponsored by NASAs AEMC Program. Goal: Develop advanced signal analysis methods to monitor sensor data from life support systems.
2003-2004: Task lead on "Multi-Media Human Computer Interface for Mission-Critical Systems," sponsored by NASA Intelligent Systems NRA, HCC area. Goal: Improve interface design and training for mission operators. Co-I: Kellman (UCLA)
2001-2003: Co-I on "Biological computing for robot navigation and control," funded by NASA Intelligent Systems NRA. PI: Jabri (Oregon Graduate Institute), Co-I: Sejnowski (Salk Institute)

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Research Tasks:
Bioelectric Sensor Arrays for Reliable Prosthetic Interface
Biosleeve: Multi-electrode EMG Sleeve Human-Machine Interface
Elasmobranch Brain-Machine Interface
Real-time Landmark Tracking
Wearable Interface for Natural Gesture Control and Tele-Operation of Robotic Systems

* Human-Machine Interfaces
* Human-Robot Interaction
* Bio-inspired computing
* Biomorphic Robotics
* Landmark tracking for visual navigation
* Cerebellar models for dynamic state estimation and predictive control
* Legged locomotion
* Spiking neuron information coding and networks
* Neuromorphic VLSI design
* Electroreception in electric fish

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