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Project Portfolios

Our students don't just tell people what they can do — they show them

Project Portfolios

Showcasing Hands-on Work

From speaking with leaders in industry and academia, we know that our students are hired by companies and invited to join prestigious labs based on the strength of their portfolios. Therefore, instead of writing a typical master's thesis, one requirement of the Master of Science in Robotics program, is to develop an online project portfolio. Students benefit from ample guidance throughout the program to ensure their portfolios feature their most relevant experience, capabilities, and knowledge. Graduates leave the program with a valuable tool to present to prospective employers and PhD programs alike that showcases their comprehensive abilities.

The types of projects included in our students' portfolios are:

Independent Projects

As part of the degree curriculum, each student completes an independent project that is tailored to the student's interests.

Final Research Project

At the end of the program, all students complete a final research project while working in a faculty member’s lab.

Group and Individual Class Projects

As part of other coursework within the degree program, students complete group and individual projects.

External Projects

Students often pursue their own projects and ideas outside the scope of program coursework.

Sample Student Projects

Detecting Human Emotion Through Robotics


Musheng He (MSR ’20)

Robotics & Controls Engineer, Johnson & Johnson

Portfolio Focus: Machine learning, robotic manipulation, human-robot interaction, rehabilitation robotics

Project Highlight: Musheng used machine learning and manipulation to train a two-armed robot to detect human emotion and play the piano to alleviate perceived stress.

View Musheng's portfolio

Creating Safer and More Productive Work Environments


Aamir Husain (MSR ’18)

Robotics Architect, Verizon

Portfolio Focus: Swarm robotics, machine learning, mechatronics, design

Project Highlight: Aamir created a simultaneous operation of three omni-directional robots used for mapping the environment and manipulating large objects.

View Aamir's Portfolio

Pushing the Future of Autonomous Driving


Nate Kaiser (MSR ’17)

Robotic Software Development Engineer, Zoox

Portfolio Focus: Navigation, SLAM, machine learning, computer vision, manipulation, soft robotics

Project Highlight: Nate programmed a Jackal robot to autonomously navigate around the Northwestern University Robotics Lab, and also used machine learning for computer vision to detect cancer in medical images.

View Nate's Portfolio

Making Wheelchairs Smarter


Mahdieh Nejati (MSR '15)

PhD Student, Northwestern University; Research Assistant, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Portfolio Focus: Rehabilitation robotics, machine learning, computer vision, mechatronics

Project Highlight: Mahdieh Nejati developed a ramp detection algorithm to help powered wheelchairs safely navigate urban environments.

View Mahdieh's Portfolio

Machine Learning for Quadrupedal Walking


Maurice Rahme (MSR ‘20)

Software Engineer, Boston Dynamics

Portfolio Focus: Machine learning, SLAM, navigation, legged locomotion

Project Highlight: Maurice Rahme used machine learning to train a spot-micro quadruped to walk, built the spot-micro robot, deployed his algorithm, and submitted a paper to the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). 

View Maurice's Portfolio

SLAM from Stereo Vision


Shangzhou Ye (MSR ‘20)

Computer Vision Engineer, Rivian

Portfolio Focus: Computer vision, SLAM, machine learning

Project Highlight: Shangzhou Ye built a stereo visual SLAM system and is working on fusing point-cloud data from multiple sensors to navigate inside an office environment. He used machine learning to detect desks, chairs, and people.

View Shangzhou's Portfolio