Louis Whitcomb


Research Interests

Control Systems: Adaptive and model-based control of linear and nonlinear systems, with focus on problems arising in mechanical systems, robots, and robotic vehicles. Underwater Robotics: Dynamics, control, instrumentation, and navigation of underwater vehicles and inhabited submersibles – with focus on deep submergence oceanographic vehicles. Industrial and Medical Robotics: Dynamics, control, instrumentation, and operation of precision robotics for novel medical and industrial applications.

  • Ph.D. 1992, Yale University
  • Other Master's Degree (M.Phil.) 1990, Yale University
  • M.S. 1988, Yale University
  • B.S. 1984, Yale University
  • 1995 - Present:  Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Professor and Chair, Johns Hopkins University
  • 1995 - Present:  Adjunct Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Research Areas
  • Adaptive identification and control.
  • Advanced Electro-Mechanical Design.
  • Dynamics and control of nonlinear systems.
  • Force Control.
  • Industrial Robotics.
  • Medical Robotics.
  • Nonlinear control.
  • Robotics.
  • Sensor and Actuator Design.
  • Underwater Robot Vehicles.
  • 2012:  Best Student Poster Award
  • 2011:  2011 William H. Huggins Excellence in Teaching Award. One of these awards if given in recognition of outstanding teaching in the JHU Whiting School
  • 2011:  Fellow - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) - for contributions to the theory and application of robotics for intervention in extreme environments
  • 2009:  Louis R. Sardella Faculty Scholar
  • 2008:  Nominated for 2008 William H. Huggins Excellence in Teaching Award.
  • 2004:  2004 University Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award - awarded in May 2004 by the JHU G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering. One of these awards is made each year by JHU's School of Engineering.
  • 2003:  IMarEST Prize for Best Paper by an Author Under 30 awarded to Ph.D. student James C. Kinsey at the 2003 IFAC Workshop on Guidance and Control of Underwater Vehicles - Newport - South Wales - April 2003. http://robotics.me.jhu.edu/~llw/ps/IFAC_prize_2003.j
  • 2002:  George E. Owen Teaching Award - awarded in May 2002 by the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2002. One of two awarded each year by the JHU undergraduate Senior Class.
  • 2002:  Senior Member - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
  • 2001:  Johns Hopkins University Student Council Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2000:  Best Student Paper Award awarded to Whitcomb’s Ph.D. student David Smallwood at the 11th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology - August 2000.
  • 2000:  Ph.D. student Jaydeep Roy selected as finalist for the Best Student Paper Award at the 2000 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation - April 2000.
  • 1997:  Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award
  • 1996:  National Science Foundation Career Award
  • 1993:  JSPS Post Doctoral Fellowship - awarded by the Japanese government and in cooperation with the U.S. National Science Foundation
  • 1992:  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Post Doctoral Scholarship
  • 1986:  Yale University Research Associate Fellowship for graduate research and teaching
  • 1984:  Master's Cup Award - Timothy Dwight College - Yale University
Journal Articles
  • Martin, S. C., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  Fully actuated model-based control with six-degree-of-freedom coupled dynamical plant models for underwater vehicles: Theory and experimental evaluation.  International Journal of Robotics Research.  35(10).  1164-1184.
  • Troni, G., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Advances in In Situ Alignment Calibration of Doppler and High/Low-end Attitude Sensors for Underwater Vehicle Navigation: Theory and Experimental Evaluation.  Journal of Field Robotics.  32(5).  655-674.
  • Martin, S. C., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Fully actuated model-based control with six-degree-of-freedom coupled dynamical plant models for underwater vehicles: Theory and experimental evaluation (In Press).  International Journal of Robotics Research.
  • Katlein, C., Arndt, S., Nicolaus, M., Perovich, D. K., Jakuba, M. V., Suman, S., Elliott, S., Whitcomb, L., McFarland, C. J., Gerdes, R., others. (2015).  Influence of ice thickness and surface properties on light transmission through Arctic sea ice.  Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.  120(9).  5932–5944.
  • Troni, G., Whitcomb, L. (2014).  Advances in In Situ Alignment Calibration of Doppler and High/Low-end Attitude Sensors for Underwater Vehicle Navigation: Theory and Experimental Evaluation.  J. Field Robotics.
  • Martin, S. C., Whitcomb, L. (2014).  Experimental Identification of Six-Degree-of-Freedom Coupled Dynamic Plant Models for Underwater Robot Vehicles.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  39(4).  662–671.
  • Blank, A. A., Okamura, A. M., Whitcomb, L. (2014).  Task-dependent impedance and implications for upper-limb prosthesis control.  Intl. J. Robotics Research.  33(6).  827–846.
  • Xu, H., Lasso, A., Guion, P., Krieger, A., Kaushal, A., Singh, A. K., Pinto, P. A., Coleman, J., Grubb, III, R. L., Lattouf, J., Ménard, C., Whitcomb, L., Fichtinger, G. (2013).  Accuracy analysis in MRI-guided robotic prostate biopsy.  International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery.  8(6).  937–944.
  • Webster, S. E., Walls, J. M., Whitcomb, L., Eustice, R. M. (2013).  Decentralized Extended Information Filter for Single-Beacon Cooperative Acoustic Navigation: Theory and Experiments.  IEEE Trans. Robot..  29(4).  957–974.
  • Krieger, A., Song, S., Cho, N. B., Iordachita, I., Guion, P., Fichtinger, G., Whitcomb, L. (2013).  Development and Evaluation of an Actuated MRI-Compatible Robotic System for MRI-Guided Prostate Intervention.  IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng..  18(1).  273–284.
  • Camilli, R., Di Iorio, D., Bowen, A., Reddy, C. M., Techet, A. H., Yoerger, D. R., Whitcomb, L., Seewald, J. S., Sylva, S. P., Fenwick, J. (2012).  Acoustic measurement of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well flow rate.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  109(50).  20235–20239.
  • Webster, S. E., Eustice, R. M., Singh, H., Whitcomb, L. L. (2012).  Advances in Single-Beacon One-Way-Travel-Time Acoustic Navigation for Underwater Vehicles.  Intl. J. Robotics Research.   31 ( 8 ).   935–950 .
  • Song, S., Cho, N., Iordachita, I., Guion, P., Fichtinger, G., Kaushal, A., Camphausen, K., Whitcomb, L. (2012).  Biopsy Needle Artifact Localization in MRI-Guided Robotic Transrectal Prostate Intervention.  IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng..  59(7).  1902–1911.
  • Kanderian, S. S., deLateur, B. J., Shore, W. S., Rose, J. G., Carson, K. A., Whitcomb, L. (2011).  A portable device for quantification of forearm muscle tone.  Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  3(11).  1075–1076.
  • Krieger, A., Iordachita, I., Guion, P., Singh, A. K., Kaushal, A., Ménard, C., Pinto, P. A., Camphausen, K., Fichtinger, G., Whitcomb, L. (2011).  An MRI-Compatible Robotic System With Hybrid Tracking for MRI-Guided Prostate Intervention.  IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng..  58(11).  3049–3060.
  • Eustice, R. M., Singh, H., Whitcomb, L. (2011).  Synchronous-clock, one-way-travel-time acoustic navigation for underwater vehicles.  J. Field Robotics.  28(1).  121–136.
  • German, C. R., Bowen, A., Coleman, M. L., Honig, D., Huber, J. A., Jakuba, M. i., Kinsey, J. C., Kurz, M. D., Leroy, S., McDermott, J. M., de Lépinay, B. M., Nakamura, K., Seewald, J. S., Smith, J. L., Sylva, S. P., Van Dover, C., Whitcomb, L., Yoerger, D. R. (2010).  Diverse styles of submarine venting on the ultraslow spreading Mid-Cayman Rise.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  107(32).  14020–14025.
  • Fletcher, B., Bowen, A., Yoerger, D. R., Whitcomb, L. (2009).  Journey to the Challenger Deep: 50 years later with the Nereus hybrid remotely operated vehicle.  Marine Tech. Soc. Jour..  43(5).  65–76.
  • Bowen, A. D., Yoerger, D. R., Taylor, C., McCabe, R. D., Howland, J. C., Gomez-Ibanez, D., Kinsey, J. C., Heintz, M., McDonald, G., Peters, D., Young, C., Buescher, J., Fletcher, B., Whitcomb, L., Martin, S. C., Webster, S. E., Jakuba, M. V. (2009).  The Nereus hybrid underwater robotic vehicle.  Underwater Technology: International Journal of the Society for Underwater Technology.  28(3).  79–89.
  • Hager, G., Okamura, A. M., Kazanzides, P., Whitcomb, L., Fichtinger, G., Taylor, R. (2008).  Surgical and interventional robotics: Part III: Surgical Assistance Systems.  IEEE Robot. Automat. Mag..  15(4).  84–93.
  • Fichtinger, G., Kazanzides, P., Okamura, A. M., Hager, G., Whitcomb, L., Taylor, R. (2008).  Surgical and Interventional Robotics: Part II: Surgical CAD-CAM systems.  IEEE Robot. Automat. Mag..  15(3).  94–102.
  • Kazanzides, P., Fichtinger, G., Hager, G., Okamura, A. M., Whitcomb, L., Taylor, R. (2008).  Surgical and Interventional Robotics: Part I: Core concepts, technology, and design.  IEEE Robot. Automat. Mag..  15(2).  122–130.
  • Ferrini, V. L., Fornari, D. J., Shank, T. M., Kinsey, J. C., Soule, S. A., Carbotte, S. M., Tivey, M. A., Whitcomb, L., Yoerger, D. R., Howland, J. C. (2007).  Geochemisty, Geophysics, Geosystems.  8.
  • Kinsey, J. C., Whitcomb, L. (2007).  In Situ Alignment Calibration of Attitude and Doppler Sensors for Precision Underwater Vehicle Navigation: Theory and Experiment.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  32(2).  286–299.
  • Kinsey, J. C., Whitcomb, L. (2007).  Adaptive Identification on the Group of Rigid Body Rotations and its Application to Precision Underwater Robot Navigation.  IEEE Trans. Robot..  23(1).  124–136.
  • Chowning, S. L., Susil, R. C., Krieger, A., Fichtinger, G., Whitcomb, L., Atalar, E. (2006).  A preliminary analysis and model of prostate injection distributions.  The Prostate.  66(4).  344–357.
  • Fichtinger, G., Burdette, E. C., Tanacs, A., Patriciu, A., Mazilu, D., Whitcomb, L., Stoianovici, D. (2006).  Robotically assisted prostate brachytherapy with transrectal ultrasound guidance—Phantom experiments.  Brachytherapy.  5(1).  14–26.
  • Susil, R. C., Ménard, C., Krieger, A., Coleman, J. A., Camphausen, K., Choyke, P., Fichtinger, G., Whitcomb, L., Coleman, C. N., Atalar, E. (2006).  Transrectal prostate biopsy and fiducial marker placement in a standard 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner.  The Journal of urology.  175(1).  113–120.
  • Ménard, C., Susil, R. C., Choyke, P., Coleman, J., Grubb, R., Gharib, A., Krieger, A., Guion, P., Thomasson, D., Ullman, K., Gupta, S., Espina, V., Liotta, L., Petricoin, E., Whitcomb, L., Fitchtinger, G., Atalar, E., Coleman, C. N., Camphausen, K. (2005).  An Interventional MRI Technique for the Molecular Characterization of Intra-Prostatic Dynamic Contrast Enhancement.  Molecular Imaging.  4(1).  3–66.
  • Krieger, A., Susil, R. C., Ménard, C., Coleman, J. A., Fichtinger, G., Atalar, E., Whitcomb, L. (2005).  Design of a novel MRI compatible manipulator for image guided prostate interventions.  IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng..  52(2).  306–313.
  • Bowen, A. D., Yoerger, D. R., Whitcomb, L., Fornari, D. J. (2004).  Exploring the Deepest Depths: Preliminary Design of a Novel Light-Tethered Hybrid ROV for Global Science in Extreme Environments.  Marine Tech. Soc. Jour..  38(2).  92–101.
  • Smallwood, D. A., Whitcomb, L. (2004).  Model-Based Dynamic Positioning of Underwater Robotic Vehicles: Theory and Experiment.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..   29( 1).  169–186.
  • Kinsey, J. C., Whitcomb, L. (2004).  Preliminary field experience with the DVLNAV integrated navigation system for oceanographic submersibles.  Control Engineering Practice.  12(12).  1541–1549.
  • Roy, J., Goldberg, R. P., Whitcomb, L. (2004).  Structural design, analysis, and performance evaluation of a new semi-direct drive robot arm: Theory and experiment.  IEEE ASME Trans. Mechatron..  9(1).  10–19.
  • Berkelman, P. J., Whitcomb, L., Taylor, R., Jensen, P. (2003).  A miniature microsurgical instrument tip force sensor for enhanced force feedback during robot-assisted manipulation.  IEEE Trans. Robot. Autom..  19(5).  917–921.
  • Smallwood, D. A., Whitcomb, L. (2003).  Adaptive identification of dynamically positioned underwater robotic vehicles.  IEEE Trans. Contr. Syst. Technol..  11(4).  505–515.
  • Bachmayer, R., Whitcomb, L. (2003).  Adaptive parameter identification of an accurate nonlinear dynamical model for marine thrusters.  ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control.   125( 3).  491–494.
  • Susil, R. C., Krieger, A., Tanacs, A., Whitcomb, L., Atalar, E. (2003).  Prostate biopsy and local therapy inside conventional closed MRI with robotic assistance-animal studies.  Academic Radiology.  10(8).  955.
  • Susil, R. C., Krieger, A., Derbyshire, J. A., Tanacs, A., Whitcomb, L., Fichtinger, G., Atalar, E. (2003).  System for MR Image–guided Prostate Interventions: Canine Study 1.  Radiology.  228(3).  886–894.
  • Rothbaum, D. L., Roy, J., Hager, G., Taylor, R., Whitcomb, L., Francis, H. W., Niparko, J. K. (2003).  Task performance in stapedotomy: Comparison between surgeons of different experience levels.  Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.  128(1).  71–77.
  • Rothbaum, D. L., Roy, J., Stoianovici, D., Berkelman, P., Hager, G., Taylor, R., Whitcomb, L., Francis, H. W., Niparko, J. K. (2002).  Robot-assisted stapedotomy: Micropick fenestration of the stapes footplate.  Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.  127(5).  417–426.
  • Ballard, R. D., Stager, L. E., Master, D., Yoerger, D. R., Mindell, D., Whitcomb, L., Singh, H., Piechota, D. (2002).  Iron Age Shipwrecks in Deep Water off Ashkelon, Israel.  American Journal of Archaeology: The Journal of the Archaeological Institute of America.  106(2).  151–168.
  • Roy, J., Whitcomb, L. (2002).  Adaptive force control of position/velocity controlled robots: Theory and Experiment.  IEEE Trans. Robot. Autom..  17(2).
  • Bachmayer, R., Whitcomb, L., Grosenbaugh, M. A. (2000).  Accurate four-quadrant nonlinear dynamical model for marine thrusters: Theory and experimental validation.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  25( 1).  146–159.
  • Ballard, R. D., McCann, A. M., Yoerger, D. R., Whitcomb, L., Mindell, D. A., Oleson, J., Singh, H., Foley, B., Adams, J., Picheota, D. (2000).  The discovery of ancient history in the deep sea using advanced deep submergence technology.  Deep Sea Research Part 1.  47(9).  1591–1620.
  • Singh, H., Whitcomb, L., Yoergar, D., Pizarro, O. (2000).  Microbathymetric Mapping from Underwater Vehicles in the Deep Ocean.  Computer Vision and Image Understanding.  79(1).  143-161.
  • Taylor, R., Jensen, P., Whitcomb, L., Barnes, A., Kumar, R., Stoianovici, D., Gupta, P., Wang, Z., Dejuan, E., Kavoussi, L. (1999).  A steady-hand robotic system for microsurgical augmentation.  Intl. J. Robotics Research.  18(12).  1201–1210.
  • Whitcomb, L., Yoerger, D. R. (1999).  Development, Comparison, and Preliminary Experimental Validation of Non-Linear Dynamic Thruster Models.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  24(4).  481–494.
  • Whitcomb, L., Yoerger, D. R. (1999).  Preliminary Experiments in Model-Based Thruster Control for Underwater Vehicle Positioning.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  24(4).  494–506.
  • Roy, J., Whitcomb, L. (1999).  Comparative structural analysis of 2-DOF semi-direct-drive linkages for robot arms.  IEEE ASME Trans. Mechatron..  4(1).  82–86.
  • Bachmayer, R., Humphris, S., Fornari, D., Van Dover, C., Howland, J., Bowen, A., Elder, R., Crook, T., Gleason, D., Sellers, W., Lerner, S. (1998).  Marine Tech. Soc. Jour..  32(3).  37–47.
  • Nakamura, M., Bachmayer, R., Whitcomb, L., Grosenbaugh, M. (1998).  Control of Marine Thruster.  Trans. of the West-Japan Soc. of Naval Arch..  96.  93–109.
  • Sayers, C. P., Paul, R. P., Catipovic, J., Whitcomb, L., Yoerger, D. (1998).  Teleprogramming for Subsea Teleoperation using Acoustic Communication.  IEEE J. Oceanic Eng..  23(1).  60–71.
  • Whitcomb, L., Arimoto, S., Naniwa, T., Ozaki, F. (1997).  Adaptive Model-Based Hybrid Control of Geometrically Constrained Robot Arms..  IEEE Trans. Robot. Autom..  13(1).  105-116.
  • Whitcomb, L., Arimoto, S., Naniwa, T., Ozaki, F. (1996).  Experiments in Adaptive Model-Based Robot Force Control.  IEEE Control Syst. Mag..  16(1).  49-57.
  • Naniwa, T., Arimoto, S., Whitcomb, L., Liu, Y. (1995).  Model-Based Adaptive Control for Geometrically Constrained Manipulators.  Trans. of the Soc. of Inst. and Cont. Eng..  31(1).  22–30.
  • Whitcomb, L., Rizzi, A. A., Koditschek, D. E. (1993).  Comparative experiments with a new adaptive controller for robot arms.  IEEE Trans. Robot. Autom..  9(1).  59–70.
  • Rizzi, A. A., Whitcomb, L., Koditschek, D. E. (1992).  Distributed Real-Time Control of a Spatial Robot Juggler.  IEEE Computer.  25(5).  12–24.
  • Levin, F., Bühler, M., Whitcomb, L., Koditschek, D. E. (1989).  Transputer Computer Juggles Real-Time Robotics.  Elec. Sys. Design.  19(2).  77–82.
Book Chapters
  • Martin, S. C., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  Experimental Identification of Fully-Coupled Three Degree-of-Freedom Coupled Dynamic Plant Models for Underwater Vehicle.  Sensing and Control for Autonomous Vehicles: Applications to Land, Water and Air Vehicles, Lecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences.  Springer.
  • Roy, J., Rothbaum, D. L., Whitcomb, L. (2006).  Haptic feedback enhancement through adaptive force scaling: Theory and experiment.  Advances in Robot Control: From Everyday Physics to Human-Like Movements.  Springer-Verlag.  293–316.
  • Martin, S. C., Whitcomb, L., Arsenault, R., Plumlee, M., Ware, C. (2005).  Advances in Real-Time Spatio-Temporal 3-D Data Visualization for Underwater Robotic Exploration. .  Advances in Unmanned Marine Vehicles.  IEE Press.  293–310.
Conference Proceedings
  • Barker, L. D., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  A preliminary survey of underwater robotic vehicle design and navigation for under-ice operations.  Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on.  2028–2035.
  • Barker, L. D., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  Preliminary simulation of a deployable GPS navigation system for ice-relative dead reckoning of underwater vehicles under moving sea ice.  OCEANS 2016 MTS/IEEE Monterey.  1–4.
  • Harris, Z. J., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  Preliminary study of cooperative navigation of underwater vehicles without a DVL utilizing range and range-rate observations.  Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016 IEEE International Conference on.  2618–2624.
  • Bohren, J., Paxton, C., Howarth, R., Hager, G., Whitcomb, L. (2016).  Semi-autonomous telerobotic assembly over high-latency networks.  The Eleventh ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction.  149–156.
  • Vozar, S., Leonard, S., Kazanzides, P., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Experimental evaluation of force control for virtual-fixture-assisted teleoperation for on-orbit manipulation of satellite thermal blanket insulation.  Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015 IEEE International Conference on.  4424–4431.
  • Harris, Z. J., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Preliminary feasibility study of cooperative navigation of underwater vehicles with range and range-rate observations.  OCEANS’15 MTS/IEEE Washington.  1–6.
  • Spielvogel, A. R., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Preliminary results with a low-cost fiber-optic gyrocompass system.  OCEANS’15 MTS/IEEE Washington.  1–5.
  • Vozar, S., Chen, Z., Kazanzides, P., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Preliminary study of virtual nonholonomic constraints for time-delayed teleoperation.  Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on.  4244–4250.
  • McFarland, C. J., Jakuba, M. V., Suman, S., Kinsey, J. C., Whitcomb, L. (2015).  Toward ice-relative navigation of underwater robotic vehicles under moving sea ice: Experimental evaluation in the Arctic sea.  Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015 IEEE International Conference on.  1527–1534.
  • Fernández-Méndez, M., Laney, S. R., Katlein, C., Whitcomb, L., Elliott, S., Jakuba, M. V., Boetius, A., German, C. R. (2015).  Monitoring under ice phyto- and zooplankton blooms with the Nereid Under Ice remotely operated vehicle.  Gordon Research Conference on Polar Marine Science.
Back to top