John “Peter” Whitney

Assistant Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Contact

Social Media

Office

  • 519 ISEC
  • 617.373.3427

Lab

  • 560B ISEC

Research Focus

Human-safe robots, medical robotics, soft robotics and soft material manufacturing, MEMS, microrobotics, bio-inspired design, flapping aerodynamics and insect flight

About

Joins the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering department in January 2016.

Education

  • PhD Engineering Sciences, Harvard University, 2012
  • SM Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, 2006

Honors & Awards

  • Best paper award finalist, International Conference on Robotics and Automation

Research Overview

Human-safe robots, medical robotics, soft robotics and soft material manufacturing, MEMS, microrobotics, bio-inspired design, flapping aerodynamics and insect flight

Selected Research Projects

  • NRI: FND: Controllable Compliance: A New Robotic Arm for Contact-Rich Manipulation
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation
  • Remote-Direct-Drive Haptic Manipulators for Learning Augmented Explosive Ordinance Disposal In Unstable and Visually-Denied Environments
    • – Principal Investigator, Office of Naval Research
  • CHS: Small: Collaborative: Teleoperation with Passive, Transparent Force Feedback for MR-Guided Interventions
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation

Research Centers and Institutes

Selected Publications

  • E. Schwarm, K. Gravesmill, J.P. Whitney, A Floating-Piston Hydrostatic Linear Actuator and Remote-Direct-Drive 2-DOF Gripper, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2019
  • E. Mendoza, J.P. Whitney, A Testbed for Haptic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging- Guided Percutaneous Needle Biopsy, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 4(4), 2019, 3177-3183
  • N. Burkhard, S. Frishman, A. Gruebele, J.P. Whitney, R. Goldman, B.L. Daniel, M.R. Cutkosky, A Rolling-Diaphragm Hydrostatic Transmission for Remote MR-Guided Needle Insertion, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2017
  • J.P. Whitney, T. Chen, J. Mars, J.K. Hodgins, A Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human- Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2016
  • N.O. Perez-Arancibia, J.P. Whitney, R.J. Wood, Lift Force Control of Flapping-Wing Microrobots Using Adaptive Feedforward Cancellation Schemes, IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, 18, 2013, 1-14
  • P.S. Sreetharan, H. Tanaka, J.P. Whitney, et al., Progress on “Pico” Air Vehicles, International Journal of Robotics Research, 31(11), 2012, 1292-1302

In the Media

Nov 03, 2021

Northeastern University Team Working to Create Robotic Avatar in Multi-year Competition

Northeastern team advised by ECE Associate Professor Taskin Padir and MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney featured in WCVB article “Northeastern University team working to create robotic avatar in multi-year competition.”

Competitions

Oct 22, 2021

Northeastern Team Advances to Finals of ANA Avatar XPRIZE

Team Northeastern is one of 15 teams selected as finalists in the ANA Avatar XPRIZE. Finalist teams will equally share a milestone prize purse of $2M and move on to Finals Testing in Fall 2022 for their chance to win part of the $8M Finals prize purse.

Computer engineering graduate student Rui Luo operates the robot that will be entered into the September 2021 semifinals of a $10 million global robotics competition.

Faculty

Sep 10, 2021

Creating a Human Avatar in Remote Locations

A group of Northeastern University students led by MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney, has made it to the semifinals of the global Avatar XPrize competition which aims to create an avatar system that can transport human presence to a remote location in real-time.

Peter Whitney, professor of engineering, demonstrates robotic teleoperation with haptic feedback.

Faculty

Jul 28, 2021

Northeastern Engineers Developing Nimble Robotic Arms

MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney was featured in the Robotics & Innovation article “Northeastern engineers developing nimble robotic arms.”

Robotic arm attached to Peter Whitney's arm.

Faculty

Jul 28, 2021

Advancing Remote Robotic Technology

MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney has been working to design lightweight nimble robotic arms that could be capable of remote surgery or other situations where safety might be a factor. Nimble robotic arms that perform delicate surgery may be one step closer to reality Main photo: Robotics researchers at Northeastern are advancing a technology to […]

two students working on competition project on laptops

Student Groups

Jun 10, 2021

Northeastern Team Selected as a Finalist in the 2021 RASC-AL Competition

The Northeastern University team has been selected as a finalist in NASA’s 2021 RASC-AL Competition, which stands for Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage. They will showcase their aerospace concepts via a virtual platform during the 2021 RASC-AL Forum, scheduled June 15 – 17, 2021. Specifically, the Northeastern team will present to NASA and aerospace industry […]

In the Media

Jul 31, 2020

Remotely Operated Robot Takes Straight Razor to Face of Brave Roboticist

MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney had his face shaved with a straight razor by a remotely controlled robotic device.

Faculty

Sep 25, 2018

Creating Robots for Safer Human Interactions

MIE Assistant Professor John Whitney and Khoury/MIE Affiliated Faculty Robert Platt were awarded $750K NSF grant for creating “A New Robotic Arm for Contact-Rich Manipulation”. Abstract Source: NSF People with disabilities, the infirm, and the elderly would benefit from capable service robots in the home that could assist with daily living tasks. Robots with arms […]

Faculty

Apr 24, 2018

The Rise of Northeastern Robotics

MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney, ECE/MIE Professor Hanumant Singh, and MIE Affiliated Faculty Robert Platt were hand-selected to attend Amazon’s MARS conference which brings together leaders in AI, automation, robotics, and space exploration.

Faculty

Feb 23, 2018

Working Alongside Robots

MIE Assistant Professor Peter Whitney is developing a mechanical system for robots which combines precision with the gentleness needed to work with humans. Source: News @ Northeastern It’s the Holy Grail in robotics: an android that can perform complex tasks beside humans in a real-world environment. The problem is that when robots are asked to […]

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