Maurizio Porfiri


Jonathan Blum - Animal Friends (Entertaining Birds)

NYU-Poly Mitsui USA STEM Learning: We are developing and conducting a hands-on educational program aimed at impacting middle school students from public schools in Brooklyn. Through exciting activities involving robots, and by attending lectures on robotics, biology, and bioinspiration, middle school students learn important lessons in science and engineering. To provide a real-world connection for the classroom experience, the program culminates with an end-of-year workshop at the New York Aquarium where students conduct their own science and engineering experiments by observing the locomotive patterns of various swimming fish in a guided Aquarium tour.
This project is performed at MS 88 and is supported by the Mitsui USA Foundation.


Kudu-Lah - Critters at the Diner

Causal relationships underlying the collective dynamic behavior of swarms: We are investigating directional information flow underlying collective animal behavior, through the integration of dynamical systems theory and behavioral studies on the zebrafish animal model. Toward this aim, a series of hypothesis-driven experiments on zebrafish will be conducted to emphasize unidirectional information transfer by controlling visual feedback between conspecifics and using independently controlled robotic replicas. Subsequently, the proposed model-free framework and established experimental paradigms will be used to investigate information flow in shoaling and schooling zebrafish along with the social implications of individual differences on their collective behavior. The implications of this research are potentially transformative in the area of behavioral brain research and neuropsychobiology, where zebrafish is rapidly emerging as a valid preclinical animal model.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Sachit Butail and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Paul Klee - The Golden Fish

CDS&E: Modeling the zebrafish model organism toward reducing, refining, and replacing animal experiments: We are advancing computational modeling of animal behavior toward improving animal welfare in preclinical research. This project seeks to establish a computational modeling framework of zebrafish behavior, through experimentally-informed modeling choices, model calibration via rigorous statistical techniques, and, ultimately, experimental validation against new experiments. The framework will be based on stochastic differential equations to enable the prediction of zebrafish locomotion in two and three dimensions, in larvae and adults, with a single individual and in groups, in the presence of external stimuli, and under the effect of psychoactive compounds. This novel computational tool will be used to assess the feasibility of: performing a priori power analysis on the basis of simulated data, selecting explanatory variables, analyzing the reproducibility in the face of biological confounds, and inferring experimental outcomes without the need for experiments.
This research is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Randy Dudley - Gowanus Canal from 2nd Street

EAGER: Dynamics of collaboration between humans and engineered systems: system design for collective expertise: We are establishing an experimental and theoretical framework to elucidate the dynamics of collaboration in human-engineered systems, through the integration of dynamical systems theory, robotics, and human-computer interactions. In a novel crowdsourcing infrastructure, online groups comprised of real humans and artificial experts will collaboratively perform aquatic environmental monitoring, by virtually patrolling mobile aquatic robots in a polluted canal in Brooklyn. A series of hypothesis-driven studies will explore the roles of human cognitive abilities, dispositional factors, and behavioral plasticity on technology-mediated social interactions and performance. A new data-driven mathematical framework based on signal processing, network science, and information theory will be formulated to uncover the interplay between personal attributes and plasticity of humans, their interactions with engineered systems, and how to better design a human-engineered system for collective expertise.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Oded Nov and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Sesshu - Landscape of fall and winter

PIRE: Advanced artificial muscles for international and globally competitive research and education in soft robotics: This international project addresses a technologically important issue: soft robotics. Soft robotics is an important emerging field in robotics, mechatronics, and automation. Soft robotic components and systems offer new features and advances over conventional robotic devices. This project focuses on the creation of advanced multifunctional artificial muscles based on new polymer-metal composites which can be used in soft robotic applications. Artificial muscles can be transformative for millions of people with disabilities. The development of artificial muscles will benefit biomimetic soft robotics, medical diagnostics and tools, and invasive surgical systems. The international partners are from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Graduate School of Ocean Systems Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Hybrid Actuator Group, Inorganic Functional Material Research Institute at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. The project supports fundamental, international research in soft robotics along with the mobility of US students and faculty.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Kwang J. Kim, Paul Y. Oh, Chulsung Bae, and Kam K. Leang and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Andrea Pazienza

Network-based modeling of infectious disease epidemics in a mobile population: strengthening preparedness and containment: We seek to advance the field of dynamical systems and complex networks toward tractable mathematical models of infectious disease epidemics. Specifically, this project will establish a theoretical framework for the study of the concurrent evolution of the dynamics of infectious diseases and the formation of the network of contacts through which they spread. The framework will be based on the notion of activity-driven networks toward predictive models of infectious disease spread. These models will aid in safeguarding uninfected populations and in mitigating impact on afflicted nations, even when, as in the case of Ebola Virus Disease, no therapeutic protocol is available. More broadly, the underlying theoretical advances are expected to transform the analysis, design, and control of dynamical systems on rapidly reconfiguring networks.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Alessandro Rizzo and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Pellizza da Volpedo - Il Quarto Stato

EAGER: Reliable data from heterogeneous groups of citizen scientists: We seek to demonstrate a novel methodology to cogently distribute tasks among volunteers in citizen science projects toward more reliable data. Similar to many self-organized natural systems, such as ant colonies, this project posits that heterogeneity may strengthen citizen science projects. This hypothesis will be tested in our Brooklyn Atlantis platform, developed to enable volunteers to monitor the environmental health of the Gowanus Canal, by analyzing images taken through an aquatic robot. A series of studies will be performed to: elucidate the relationship between data reliability and individual attributes; quantify the potential of data fusion to enhance quality and accuracy of contributions; and understand the role of group heterogeneity on data reliability.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Oded Nov and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Wassily Kandinsky - Yellow-Red-Blue

Transforming robot-mediated telerehabilitation: Citizen science for rehabilitation: We seek to open new directions for transforming robot-mediated telerehabilitation through the integration of low-cost haptic devices and interactive citizen science online projects. Specifically, this project will advance the use of robot-mediated telerehabilitation through a low-cost system that leverages citizen science to engage patients in rehabilitation exercises, while contributing to scientific research. The envisioned system comprises a low-cost haptic joystick interfaced to a PC, which affords internet-mediated social interactions in an authentic research project. Patients will contribute to citizen science by using a haptic joystick, which provides a force-feedback and records salient rehabilitation performance indices for upper limb rehabilitation. The system will be tested on both healthy subjects and patients undergoing rehabilitation for post-stroke hemiparesis through a series of studies that focus on elucidating combined effects of force feedback, competition, and cooperation on subjectís performance and satisfaction.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Oded Nov and Preeti Raghavan and is supported by the National Science Foundation.


Pablo Picasso - Absinthe Drinker

Robotics may help unravel the biological determinants of substance use disorders: studies in zebrafish: We seek to demonstrate an innovative robotics-enabled platform, coupled with a three-dimensional tracking system to automatically investigate zebrafish individual and social behavior in the study of substance use disorders. Understanding the factors mitigating or favoring the transition from use to abuse constitutes a fundamental challenge in biomedical sciences. This study will pioneer the use of robotics to implement high-throughput experiments relevant to the field of substance use disorders. The proposed platform will permit the execution of hypothesis-driven studies investigating the fundamental determinants of substance use disorders at an unprecedented pace. The limited costs and ready availability of our platform are expected to ultimately result in an effective and purposeful approach to the study of substance use disorders, which can be easily transferred to independent laboratories.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Sachit Butail and Simone Macri and is supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Anselm Kiefer - Winter Landscape

Fluid-structure interactions during water impact: We seek to develop physically-based modeling tools and scientifically-principled experimental methods to study fluid-structure interactions elicited by dynamic loading is essential for the design of safe and high-performance marine composites. This focused effort attempts at laying the foundations for laboratory studies on ice loading during water entry, shed light on the physics of low-velocity impact of water-backed panels, and tackle hydroelasticity of air-backed marine panels from water impact.
This research is supported by the Office of Naval Research.


Hieronymus Bosch - The Last Judgement

Completed projects:
Dynamics and control of switching dynamical networks (2015-2018) - supported by the Army Research Office.
Particle Image Baro-Velocimetry (PIBV): simultaneous measurement of pressure and velocity in fluids (2013-2018) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
A low-cost and sustainable technology for water monitoring (2016-2017) - supported by Power Bridge New York.
Systems science approaches to understanding variation in state alcohol and traffic policies (2013-2017) - supported by the New York University.
Shock and vibration modeling of marine composites (2011-2017) - supported by the Office of Naval Research.
Applying Mechatronics to Promote Science (AMPS) (2008-2016) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
Citizen Science uncovers Brooklyn Atlantis: An inter-disciplinary exploration of the dynamics of networks of humans and machines in peer production settings (2011-2016) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
BRUCE and ROSA go to Coney Island - interactive robotic fish join the New York Aquarium (2012-2016) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
Can systems science explain variations in state alcohol and traffic policies? (2013-2016) - supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Collaborative research: Geometry of group behaviors with application to fish schooling (2011-2015) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
CAREER: Guidance and control of fish shoals using bio-mimetic robots (2008-2015) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
Little eddies and small vibrations: untapped sources for energy harvesting in aquatic environments (2009-2014) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
Smart material-based experimental platform for studies of free locomotion in fluids (2009-2012) - supported by the New York University.
Modeling, design and testing of syntactic foam core sandwich structures for marine applications (2007-2011) - supported by the Office of Naval Research.
Development of a novel functionally gradient composite material (2007-2011) - supported by the National Science Foundation.
Alternative methods for feeding sea animals (2007-2009) - supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society.