What is NERC?

The Northeast Robotics Colloquium (NERC) brings together the roboticists in the northeastern United States and Canada, in an event that is simultaneously a research meeting, a networking event, a job-fair, and a showcase for established and up-and-coming robot companies. We hope to promote the kind of healthy and well-connected robotics community that will fuel the field's rapid growth in the coming decade!

Our Sponsors

Amazon Robotics NERVE Center


8:00 AM

Registration and Breakfast

8:50 AM

Opening remarks

9:00 AM

Marynel Vázquez: Design and Algorithmic Perspectives for Human-Robot Interaction

9:40 AM

Submitted Talk 1: Democratizing Robotic Caregiving: A Tale of Two Endeavors

Authors: Rajat Kumar Jenamani, Rishabh Madan, Ruolin Ye, Wenqiang Xu, Haoyuan Fu, Vy Thuy Nguyen, Ahmed Moustafa, Xuefeng Hu, Cewu Lu, Katherine Dimitropoulou, Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee

10:00 AM

Posters, NERVE center tour (sign-up required), Coffee

11:00 AM

Momotaz Begum: Robot Learning from Humans in the Wild: Challenges and Opportunities

11:40 AM

Submitted Talk 2: Leverage Temporal Task Specification for Planning

Authors: Jason Liu, Ankit Shah, Eric Rosen, Suchen Zheng, Tyler Edwards, George Konidaris, Stefanie Tellex



12:30 PM

Demos, NERVE center tour (sign-up required)

1:30 PM

Marc Raibert: Making robots smarter, in both body and mind.

2:10 PM

Berk Calli: Role of Robots in Recycling: Applications in Waste Sorting and Metal Scrap Recovery

2:50 PM

Posters, NERVE center tour (sign-up required), Coffee

3:50 PM

Tom Ryden: Trends in Commercialization of Robotics Research

4:30 PM

Submitted Talk 3: Discrete-Continuous Smoothing and Mapping

Authors: Kevin Doherty, Ziqi Lu, Kurran Singh and John Leonard

4:50 PM

Closing remarks and NERC 2023 announcement

Where will NERC be this year?

As we return to in-person events, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is proud to be hosting the Northeast Robotics Colloquium in 2022. NERC will be located at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center.

UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center

50 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852

Invited Speakers

Marc Raibert
Marc Raibert

Chairman and Founder · Boston Dynamics

Title: Making robots smarter, in both body and mind.

Abstract: Today's robots move dynamically, travel to places where previous robots couldn't go, handle larger payloads with smaller footprints, and move faster to work more quickly. Raibert will give a status report on the dynamic robots being developed at Boston Dynamics, including those focused on commercial applications as well as R&D robots that can lead to new capabilities and applications in the future. He will also talk about the new AI Institute that is aiming to make robots smarter.

Tom Ryden
Tom Ryden

Executive Director · MassRobotics

Title: Trends in Commercialization of Robotics Research

Abstract: New England has seen a tremendous growth in robotics companies over the last decade, driven in part by increasing investments in the space. Venture capital investments in robotics worldwide reached US$5.7 billion in 2021, a 38% year-on-year growth. While, like in the overall market, the rate of investments has been slowing but there continues to be strong interest in robotics. This talk will look at the recent trends and growth areas in robotics research commercialization.

Marynel Vázquez
Marynel Vázquez

Computer Science · Yale University

Title: Design and Algorithmic Perspectives for Human-Robot Interaction

Abstract: In this talk, I will describe my research in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), which integrates elements of design, behavioral science, and artificial intelligence. In particular, I will discuss three key insights that I believe are important for social robots. First, group human-robot interactions are not a trivial generalization of one-on-one interactions. Second, nonverbal robot behaviors, especially those involving gaze, must be designed jointly rather than independently of each other. Third, applying machine learning to modeling problems in HRI benefits from graph abstractions and relational models; however, an important open challenge to realize the impact of these approaches is scalable model supervision. Overall, my talk will emphasize the importance of studying multi-party social encounters in HRI and will show synergies between user-centered experimental research and technical developments. In my view, the latter integration is essential to create robots that effectively work with and in the service of users.

Berk Calli
Berk Calli

Robotics Engineering · Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Title: Role of Robots in Recycling: Applications in Waste Sorting and Metal Scrap Recovery

Abstract: As robots get more capable, robust, and resilient, new possibilities emerge to use them in environment-focused applications. A major focus of Dr. Calli’s Laboratory is to identify these new roles and develop robotic systems to help solve environmental problems. In this talk, two environmental robotics projects will be covered: waste sorting for recycling and metal scrap recovery. In the waste sorting project, waste recognition and robotic picking strategies will be discussed along with how to best integrate robots and facilitate human-robot collaboration. In the metal scrap recovery project, piece exploration and vision-based cutting techniques will be presented. For both projects, the impact of robots on the recycling economy and workforce will be discussed.

Momotaz Begum
Momotaz Begum

Computer Science · University of New Hampshire

Title: Robot Learning from Humans in the Wild: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract: Learning from demonstration or imitation learning is not a new idea in robotics, yet the promises of LfD remain elusive. Learning a task from humans in the wild comes with a wide range of research challenges in perception, policy learning, algorithmic transparency, and human-robot interaction. Some of these challenges are being discussed in the contemporary LfD research but the scope remains in simulation or structured laboratory environments. In this talk I will be discussing the fundamental gaps in perception and policy learning research that are making LfD-powered robots elusive in our everyday lives. Along that line, I discuss some federally funded efforts in my lab to overcome these challenges.


Holly Yanco
Holly Yanco

Computer Science, Robotics · UML

Reza Ahmadzadeh
Reza Ahmadzadeh

Computer Science · UML

Maru Cabrera
Maru Cabrera

Computer Science · UML

Noah Jafferis
Noah Jafferis

Electrical and Computer Engineering · UML

Kshitij Jerath
Kshitij Jerath

Mechanical Engineering · UML

Paul Robinette
Paul Robinette

Electrical and Computer Engineering · UML

Kelilah Wolkowicz
Kelilah Wolkowicz

Mechanical Engineering · UML

Demos and Posters

Demo Number




Andy McLeod

Prototype ASV Panoramic Camera in an ABS 3D Print Housing


Matthew Stein

Sensorized Objects for Quantitative Performance Assessment of Machine Learning


Hossein Haeri, Kshitij Jerath and Reza Ahmadzadeh

Reward-Sharing Relational Networks in Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning as a Framework for Emergent Behavior


Ran Jing, Meredith Anderson, Miguel Ianus-Valdivia, Amsal Akber Ali, Carmel Majidi and Andrew P. Sabelhaus

Safe Balancing Control of a Soft Legged Robot

Poster Number




Tess B. Meier, Christopher J. Nycz and Gregory S. Fischer

PneuHOPE Hand exoskeleton for studying brain activity during hand movement using fMRI


Yu Meng Zhou, Cameron Hohimer, Harrison Young, Connor McCann, Haedo Cho, Yichu Jin, Pol Banzet, Patrick Murphy, Diana Wagner, Tazzy Cole, Tommaso Proietti and Conor Walsh

A Portable Inflatable Soft Wearable Robot for Supporting the Shoulder during Industrial Overhead Tasks


Connor McCann, Cameron Hohimer, Ciarán O'Neill, Harrison Young, Katia Bertoldi and Conor Walsh

In-Situ Measurement of Multi-Axis Torques Applied by Wearable Soft Robots for Shoulder Assistance


Savannah Macero, Connor Aikens-Kinney and Meghan Huber

Effect of audio stimulus on gait entrainment to torque pulses from a robotic ankle exoskeleton


Mark Price, Banu Abdikadirova, Dominic Locurto, Jonaz Moreno Jaramillo, Wouter Hoogkamer and Meghan E. Huber

Portable Hip Exoskeleton Elicits Gait Adaptation


Dominic Locurto, Mark Price, Kyle O'Connell, Meghan E. Huber and Wouter Hoogkamer

Design of Variable Stiffness Treadmill for Gait Rehabilitation


Yuan Gao and Yan Gu

Invariant Filtering for Legged Humanoid Locomotion on a Dynamic Rigid Surface


Brian Plancher

GPU Acceleration for Real-time, Whole-body, Nonlinear Model Predictive Control


Yichu Jin, Yu Meng Zhou, Connor McCann, Tommaso Proietti, Chris Rycroft and Conor Walsh

Visualizing IMU Drift During Shoulder Kinematics Tracking


Sam Hibbard, Nathaniel Hanson and Taskin Padir

Conical Compliant Rolling Contact Mechanism for Precision Robotic Wrists


Tao Chen and Pulkit Agrawal

Visual Dexterity: In-hand Dexterous Manipulation from Depth


Rishiraj Bose, Adrian Carleton, Umang Patel, Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi and Frank Sup

Natural Power Transmission through Unconstrained Fluids for Robotic Manipulation


Rachel Holladay, Tomás Lozano-Pérez and Alberto Rodriguez

Constraints and Planning for Dexterous Multi-Step Manipulation


Tao Pang, Terry Suh, Lujie Yang and Russ Tedrake

Global Planning for Contact-Rich Manipulation via Local Smoothing of Quasi-dynamic Contact Models


Abhinav Gandhi, Sreejani Chatterjee and Berk Calli

Skeleton-based Adaptive Visual Servoing for Control of Robotic Manipulators in Configuration Space


Andrew Sabelhaus, Zach Patterson, Anthony Wertz and Carmel Majidi

Safe Supervisory Control of Soft Robot Actuators


Paul Gesel and Sebastian Jahr

Admittance Control for Safe Robotic Manipulation


Moses Nah and Neville Hogan

Dynamic manipulation of soft, flexible, deformable objects using Dynamic Motor Primitives


Yinsen Jia, Jingxi Xu, Dinesh Jayaraman and Shuran Song

Learning a Meta Controller for Dynamic Grasping


Gagan Khandate, Siqi Shang and Matei Ciocarlie

Reset Distribution Engineering for Learning Unstable Dexterous Manipulation and Locomotion Tasks


Andrew Spielberg

Learning and Optimization Methods For Robot Co-Design


Monish Reddy Kotturu and Reza Ahmadzadeh

Towards Improving Team Performance in Multi-Agent Multi-Armed Bandits


Brendan Hertel and Reza Ahmadzadeh

Learning from Successful and Failed Demonstrations via Optimization


Hai Nguyen, Andrea Baisero, Dian Wang, Christopher Amato and Robert Platt

Leveraging Fully Observable Policies for Learning under Partial Observability


Tom Silver

Neuro-Symbolic Learning for Bilevel Planning


Achyuthan Unni Krishnan, Tsung-Chi Lin and Zhi Li

Design Interface Mapping for Efficient Free-form Tele-manipulation


Mela Coffey and Alyssa Pierson

Collaborative Teleoperation with Haptic Feedback for Collision-Free Navigation of Ground Robots


Wenxi Chen, Jingxi Xu and Matei Ciocarlie

Shift-invariant Intent Detection with an EMG Armband


Gina Georgadarellis, Seonhun Lee, Joshua Zelikman, Karen Giuliano, Tracey Cobb and Frank Sup

Collaborative Robots for Nursing


Ernest Pellgrino and Paul Robinette

Virtual Evaluations of Robots Onboard Ships


Zahra Rezaeikhavas, Kalvin McCallum and Paul Robinette

Modeling Human-Robot Trust Using Physiological Measurements


Maitry Ronakbhai Trivedi, Saniya Vahedian Movahed, Russell Perkins, Paul Robinette, Reza Ahmadzadeh and Maria E. Cabrera

Behavior Modeling for Robot Theory of Mind


Ifrah Idrees, Tian Yun, Naveen Sharma, Yunxin Deng, George Konidaris and Stefanie Tellex

Improving Inference of Human's Plan by Modelling Language Feedback


Chloe Ho and Brian Plancher

Gender Diversity in Robotics Research


Ryan Donald

Contextual Autonomy Evaluation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Subterranean Environments


Alden Daniels, Fernando Mazzoni and Kshitij Jerath

Understanding Agent Competency: Effects of Environment Complexity on Area Coverage Time


Hamid Osooli and Reza Ahmadzadeh

A Game Theory Framework for Multi Agent Search and Rescue


Seth Pate and Lawson Wong

Hide and Seek with Robots: Navigation with Image-Language Similarity Models


Bernadette Bucher, Georgios Georgakis, Karl Schmeckpeper, Siddharth Singh and Kostas Daniilidis

Learning to Map for Active Semantic Goal Navigation


Devin Thomas, Wheeler Ruml, Eyal Shimony and Tianyi Gu

Situated Pathfinding Among Moving Obstacles


Val Schmidt

A Solution to The Traveling Salesman Problem in Line Segments for Robotic Survey Vessels


Troi Williams and Pratap Tokekar

Dynamically Finding Optimal Observer States to Minimize Localization Error with Complex State-Dependent Noise


Tsung-Chi Lin, Achyuthan Unni Krishnan and Zhi Li

Impact of Unreliable Assistive Autonomy on Shared and Supervisory Control for Remote Robot Manipulation


Alexandre Amice, Hongkai Dai, Peter Werner and Russ Tedrake

Deterministic Certificates of Non-Collision For RRTs in Milliseconds


Mingi Jeong and Alberto Quattrini Li

Towards Robust Collision Avoidance Algorithms under High-Traffic Scenarios in the Aquatic Domain


Robin Hall, Michael Da Silva and Cagdas Onal

Design and Testing of a Soft Robotic Wave Spring Fish


Samuel Lensgraf, Devin Balkcom and Alberto Quattrini Li

Buoyancy enabled autonomous underwater construction with cement blocks


Aniket Dhole, Adarsh Salagame and Alireza Ramezani

A Letter on Progress Made on Husky Carbon: A Legged-Aerial, Multi-modal Platform


Chenghao Wang, Evan Emanue, Kaushik Krishnamurthy, Eric Sihite and Alireza Ramezani

Introducing Husky Beta: A morpho-functional quadruped with aerial capabilities


Avery Munoz

Bag_manager for the Efficient use of ROS Logs


Luyang Zhao, Yijia Wu and Devin Balkcom

Starbots: Soft, Self-reconfigurable Lattice Robots that Deform and Locomote

How do I register?

On-Site Registration

On-Site Registration


Choose plan

Who's this for

  • K-12
  • Undergraduate students
  • High school teachers
  • Family members above 12
  • MS and PhD students
  • Post-docs
  • Faculty members
  • Industrial participants


Please direct all communication to nerc.uml@gmail.com.

Hotels Nearby

UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center

50 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852

(978) 934-6920

Sonesta Select

30 Industrial Ave E, Lowell, MA 01852

(978) 458-7575

Holiday Inn Express

8 Independence Dr., Chelmsford, MA 01854

(978) 710-3151

Fairfield Inn by Marriot

1695 Andover St., Tewksbury, MA 01876

(978) 640-0700

Local Attractions

Tsongas Center

Tsongas Center

This multi-purpose arena is home to the NCAA Division I UMass Lowell River Hawks ice hockey team and hosts multiple events such as concerts, family events, sporting events, etc.

300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way