Georgia Tech launches new institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines

by Ada Hatzios | Nov 07, 2013
Institute to Support National Robotics Initiatives for Next-generation Robotics

The Georgia Institute of Technology has announced the launch of its Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM), the newest of Georgia Tech’s ten Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRIs). IRIM brings together robotics researchers from across campus—spanning colleges, departments and individual labs—to support and connect research initiatives, enhance educational programs and foster advances for the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), first announced by President Obama in 2011, and officially established in 2012.

Georgia Tech is one of the nation’s premier robotics research universities with more than 60 faculty members and researchers developing innovative solutions for manufacturing, healthcare and first responder security, as well as for a variety of other critical areas including defense and service applications. Georgia Tech also offers the first fully integrated multidisciplinary Ph.D. program in robotics to students enrolled in a participating home school in the College of Computing or the College of Engineering.

In September, the National Science Foundation awarded more than $2 million to fund projects led by Georgia Tech researchers as part of the NRI program. Robotics initiatives across campus attract approximately $35 million annually in sponsored research from government agencies and industry partners. 

IRIM will create new collaborative opportunities for faculty, strengthen partnerships with industry and government and maximize the societal impact of the transformative robotics research being conducted at Georgia Tech.

As part of its core vision and mission, IRIM enables the assembly of strong, innovative, multi-disciplinary teams to solve contemporary and future societal grand challenges.

“Georgia Tech has been making breakthrough discoveries in robotics for more than a decade, and our early successes may be attributed to the grassroots efforts of our dynamic faculty and researchers,” said KUKA Chair of Robotics Henrik I. Christensen, a Distinguished Professor in the College of Computing and the founding executive director of IRIM. “As an Interdisciplinary Research Institute, robotics research at Georgia Tech will be invigorated and supported through our continued work as a unified group of robotics leaders.”

IRIM engages the strengths of other IRIs and centers, including the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), for collaborations on projects where robotics and autonomous systems have applicability in manufacturing, health care, and national security.

Through collaborations with faculty across campus and industry partnerships, IRIM leverages Georgia Tech’s resources to address evolving societal needs, such as improving surgical precision and enabling aging in place. The National Robotics Initiative identifies many of these needs as critical, including increasing manufacturing productivity and improving food safety.

Click here to read the full story and learn how human-robot interaction is helping develop new applications for learning.

MAC's staff recently visited one of the robotics labs on Georgia Tech's campus to learn about some of the robotics research and how robots play an important role in metro Atlanta's supply chain and advanced manufacturing network:
The KUKA robot shown here can palletize (stack, or transport goods on a pallet, or wooden frame) up to 1,000 packages per hour, which increases the number of shipments per day and can help companies ship more products more quickly to more customers.

Dr. Henrik Christensen describes how the robotic arm helps with palletizing and depalletizing materials such as boxes or trays of packaged beverages.

One of Dr. Christensen's graduate students demonstrates the capabilities of a smaller-size robotic arm that fits on a desk.