Robotics experts gather for 25th anniversary of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute

10/05/04

PITTSBURGH--More than 40 experts in the field of robotics will be gathering at Carnegie Mellon University Oct. 11-14 to participate in the 25th-anniversary celebration of the university's famed Robotics Institute.

They will debate, demonstrate and ponder the future of the field during a four-day series of events that includes a symposium on the Grand Challenges of robotics, demonstrations of leading-edge robotics projects and a series of seminars on the commercialization of robotics research. There will also be tours of robotics laboratories on the university campus and at the National Robotics Engineering Consortium off campus in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. The celebration will conclude Thursday evening with a concert by Laurie Anderson, NASA's first artist in residence and a leader in the use of technology in her art and music.

See www.ri25.org for the complete schedule of events.

The celebration begins the evening of Oct. 11 with the second annual induction into the Robot Hall of Fame. Five distinguished robots, including Honda's ASIMO robot, Astro Boy, C-3PO, Robby the Robot and Shakey will be honored. Steve Wozniak, a founder of Apple Computer and one of the panel of judges who selected the robots, will explain how the panel chose this year's inductees. See www.robothalloffame.orgfor more information.

Tuesday, Oct. 12, begins with sessions that focus on robotics projects in various stages on the road to commercialization. At the same time, a daylong seminar marathon will feature a dozen Carnegie Mellon robotics researchers discussing topics ranging from nanotechnology to biometrics and intra-robot communication. In addition, there will be 10 demonstrations and competitions occurring simultaneously that include Segway soccer-playing robots competing against humans, search-and-rescue robots, a robotic bagpiper, robots that improve healthcare, social robots and personal exploration robots designed for science museums that will give users a chance to have the virtual experience of exploring the terrain on Mars.

October 13 features an international array of top scientists discussing the grand challenges of robotics. Among them are:

  • Vernor Vinge, professor emeritus, University of California, Davis, known for his science fiction, including True Names and Marooned in Realtime, speaking on "Robotics and the Technical Singularity."
  • Robin Murphy, professor, University of South Florida, an expert in search-and-rescue robotics, speaking on "Up from the Rubble."
  • Bob Full, Chancellor's Professor, University of California, Berkeley, speaking on "Bipedal Bugs, Galloping Ghosts and Gripping Geckos: BioInspiration in the Age of Integration."
  • Mitsuo Kawato, director of the Computational Neuroscience Laboratories of the Advanced Telecommunications Research International, whose approach is that "we construct a brain in order to understand the brain."
  • Marc Raibert, president, Boston Dynamics, speaking on "Twenty-five Years of Dynamic Legged Robots: What's Changed and What Hasn't?"
  • Takeo Kanade, U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor, Carnegie Mellon, speaking on "Computer Vision: AI Problem or non AI Problem."
  • Ray Kurzweil: founder and CEO, Kurzweil Industries, speaking on "The Web Within Us, When Minds and Machines Become One."

The symposium will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Robotics Institute founders: Raj Reddy, Carnegie Mellon's Herbert A. Simon University Professor; Angel Jordan, Carnegie Mellon emeritus professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Tom Murrin, Distinguished Service Professor and former dean of Duquesne University business school and former president of Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s Energy and Technology Group.

"The Robotics Institute was founded 25 years ago on the vision of these three gifted men and a $3 million gift from Westinghouse," said Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon. "Today the institute is a $50 million enterprise with some 300 faculty, students and staff working on more than 100 projects. Robotics Institute research breakthroughs are changing the fields of agriculture, medicine, mining, transportation, space exploration and national security, to name just a few. Our work has furthered the goals of government agencies, including NASA, DARPA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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