Fuzzy logic is the focus of Mitchell’s research. She explains, “Fuzzy logic is programming robots to reason linguistically as humans do. In normal binary logic, things are either one or zero; ‘yes’ or ‘no’. As humans, we can easily recognize that this is not how nature really is, as there are numbers between one and zero and sometimes the answer is ‘maybe’. The world is fuzzy and we should accept this fact.”
As there is an increasing dependence on technology, there is a demand for more intelligent systems, like digital cameras that automatically adjust to light, motion and distance. Mitchell works to make these intelligent fuzzy systems able to collaborate with both each other and humans, which opens the door to incredible developments in robotics. These systems are called fuzzy collaborative robotics. The implications of fuzzy collaborative robotics range from personal, live-in robots that can aid the elderly to robots with applications in wide-scale areas such as disaster relief, homeland security, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), space applications and celestial body exploration.
Mitchell reflects, “This award is meaningful to me, as it is my first conference research award in college. It’s always great to feel like your hard work is noticed and it's very motivational for future endeavors.”
She plans to continue her research in the realm of fuzzy logic and fuzzy collaborative robotics. Mitchell will graduate from the aerospace engineering and ACCEND program with a BS and MS in aerospace engineering. Her next co-op rotation is with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. A PhD will likely follow, and perhaps, one day, Mitchell will go into space along with her mechanical marvels.