Faculty Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Robotics Institute


October 15, 2004

More than 40 robotics experts gathered at the Carnegie Mellon University campus in Pittsburgh from October 11-14 for "Robotics and Thought," an interactive event that commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Robotics Institute. Included among the presenters were ECE affiliated faculty Howie Choset, Metin Sitti, Gary Fedder, Takeo Kanade, and Angel Jordan.

Howie Choset spoke on "Robots that Crawl, Cover, and Climb" and "Hyper-Redundant Robots." His Introduction to Mobile Robots class demonstrated Snakebot, a serpentine robot with applications for search and rescue, bridge and tank inspection, surgical tasks, and bomb disarming.

Metin Sitti's Robotics Institute-to-Business presentations focused on "Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesives Technology" and "Robotics at the Micro- and Nano-Scales," while Gary Fedder addressed "Integrated Microelectromechanical Systems." Takeo Kanade's talk explored "Computer Vision, AI Problem or Non-AI Problem?"

In 1979, Carnegie Mellon Professors Raj Reddy and Angel Jordan and Westinghouse Electric Corporation President Tom Murrin started the Robotics Institute. Jordan was ECE's fifth department head and was also the dean of engineering. The three founders discussed the evolution of the Institute and robotics over the last 25 years in a panel with opening remarks from Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon and closing statements from Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, State Representative Daniel Frankel and Congressmen Michael Doyle.

Among the exhibits at the conference were the Red Team's unmanned humvee, Sandstorm, which made headlines around the world racing last year in the Mojave Desert as part of the $1 million DARPA Grand Challenge. ECE students and alumni are among the team's array of collaborators.