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Alyssa Batula

Alyssa Batula

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Honorable Mention 2011, 2010

Electrical Engineering PhD Candidate

I am in my first year as a graduate student working in the MET-lab with Dr. Youngmoo Kim. Currently, I am working on a project to make robots musical by programming them to react to different aspects of music. Some of our short-term goals are to teach robots to dance in time with live music and to play the piano. We currently have a small robot that can find the beat in a piece of music and dance along with it. It can also play single notes on a keyboard and identify any note that it hears. This small robot serves as a prototype for the life-sized Hubo. The ultimate goal of this project is to make Hubo capable of musical interaction, whether through dance or playing an instrument.

Shortly after I arrived at Drexel, I applied for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The focus of my application was getting Hubo to play the piano. While I did not win the fellowship itself, I felt honored to receive an honorable mention, and excited to find that the NSF felt my research was as promising and exciting as I do.