I'm a robotics software engineer and research scientist currently working at Ainstein on sensor fusion and sensor-based control; my work is highly multidisciplinary and involves using RADAR, LIDAR, cameras and other sensors for autonomous applications, including drones and self-driving vehicles. In 2018, I completed my PhD in Computer Science in the Computational Learning and Motor Control (CLMC) Lab at the University of Southern California, in collaboration with the Autonomous Motion Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. My research focused on solving a broad range of problems in humanoid robotics; you can read about it in my thesis, Estimation-Based Control for Humanoid Robots.
Prior to defending my thesis, I earned a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Intelligent Robotics from USC in 2014. My undergraduate studies earned me a B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on control systems from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2012. Having spent the summer of 2011 performing computational neuroscience research in the Joe Francis Lab at SUNY Downstate, I decided to pursue graduate studies in robotics as the field combined my interests in neuroscience and mechatronics.
I've worked with high-bandwith, torque-controlled humanoid robots to develop realtime-safe estimation, planning and control algorithms which were evaluated in simulation and tested on a 17 DOF humanoid. My work has involved everything from low-level embedded motor controller, device driver and networking programming to high-level optimization-based planning and whole body control; I strive to understand and interact with complex systems at every level.
While I did not have the opportunity to TA again during my PhD studies, I guest lectured on a number of occasions for the graduate-level course Introduction to Robotics (CSCI 545) as well as supported departmental outreach efforts including the well-attended USC Robotics Open House.
As a strong believer in open-access education, I also spent considerable effort compiling a collection of lecture notes on a variety of robotics-related topics, including mathematical fundamentals (calculus, linear algebra, statistics), control theory, kinematics and dynamics, and so on. I continue to draw from these in my current industrial work and add to them via blog posts on this site.
Since finishing my PhD, I have volunteered time as a TA for the TEALS K-12 computer science education program, served as a judge for the Greater KC Science and Engineering Fair as well as the PLTW KC Engineering Design Contest. I also currently serve as a mentor for FIRST robotics team 1939.
The Kalman Filter is something while completely alluded me and my peers during undergrad, and even took me some time in graduate school to really understand. I’ve since implemented variations of this estimator countless times for a variety of different problems. Despite having been formulated about half a century ago (!!), I feel it’s a tool tha... Read more 16 Nov 2019 - 13 minute read
PX4 Controllers and Tuning The PX4 documentation does a decent job of explaining the different flight controllers which are available. The documentation also has useful information on how to set and get flight control parameters, which is necessary for controller tuning (among other things). The documentation doesn’t take the next step and exp... Read more 29 Oct 2019 - 12 minute read
A long while back, I played around with a comma.ai Panda OBD-II Dongle which is an inexpensive vehicle CAN bus interface designed to perform basic self-driving functionality using only an RGB camera and lightweight processor, both mounted behind the rear view mirror. My goal was to understand comma.ai’s open-source “OpenPilot” codebase both as a... Read more 28 Oct 2019 - 10 minute read
PX4, along with others such as ArduPilot and the DJI SDK (which is only partially open-source), is one of the most popular full-stack solutions for UAV control. The goal of this post is to document some of the basic setup and use information, mostly for myself to refer to later on when digging deeper into the control architecture. Setting up P... Read more 15 Feb 2019 - 6 minute read
It’s quite a while since I last posted anything, so what better way to break the silence than by documenting one of my favorite Italian-American treats - struffoli, or as we southern Italians displaced a few thousand miles and several generations endearingly call them, honeyballs. It wasn’t my intent to use this blog for personal posts, however... Read more 19 Jan 2019 - 5 minute read