Imagine a human-like robot with skin and clothes embedded with sensors that could help machine accurately perceive the environment and better assist human owners.
Such "smart" robots are at the heart of a new $1.35 million National Science Foundation project led by Dan Popa, a UT Arlington associate professor of electrical engineering. Popa is the principal investigator of a collaborative effort to advance robots and robotic devices, improve prosthetics and enable those devices to perform tasks that people can no longer do themselves.
"Our goal is to make robots and robotic technology more human-like and more human-friendly," said Popa, who leads UT Arlington's Next Gen Systems group within the College of Engineering. "Robotic devices need to be safe and better able to detect human intent.
"When someone is wearing a prosthetic, we want that prosthetic to be able to determine when a baseball is being thrown at it, then catch the ball."
The four-year project is part of the NSF's National Robotics Initiative, which is aimed at accelerating the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or cooperatively with people. The UT Arlington team's grant was the largest among the initiative's 37 awards this fall.
Co-principal investigators are Zeynep Celik-Butler, professor of electrical engineering and director of UT Arlington's Nanotechnology Research and Education Center; Donald Butler, professor of nanotechnology and electrical engineering; Frank Lewis, professor of electrical engineering and the Moncrief-O'Donnell Endowed Chair; and Nicoleta Bugnariu, associate professor of physical therapy and neuroscience at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
Much of research will take place at the UT Arlington Research Institute in Fort Worth, which specializes in the advancement and commercialization of technology and advanced manufacturing.
The NSF says its robotics initiative can address a
|Contact: Herb Booth|
University of Texas at Arlington