March 8 lecture to address robotics engineering, research

March 8 lecture to address robotics engineering, research

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 14:52
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The SUNYIT President's Lecture Series will feature Michael A. Gennert, Director of the Robotics Engineering Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass., on March 8, at noon, in the Student Center multipurpose room. The lecture is free and open to the public; a reception will follow in the Student Center pub.

GennertMichael.jpgGennert, Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at WPI, has worked at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, Mass.; the University of California/Riverside; General Electric Ordnance Systems, Pittsfield, Mass.; and PAR Technology Corporation, New Hartford. He holds doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in computer science, all from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The author or co-author of more than 100 academic publications, his research interests include computer vision, image processing, scientific databases, and programming languages, with ongoing projects in biomedical image processing, robotics, and stereo and motion vision. He is a member of Sigma Xi, NDIA Robotics Division, and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Robotics Cluster, and a senior member of IEEE and ACM.

In 2007 Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) launched a degree program in Robotics Engineering to educate young men and women in robotics. At that time, there were only a handful of universities in Asia, Europe, and Oceania offering undergraduate Robotics programs, although many universities in the United States and elsewhere included robotics within a discipline such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering. We took a decidedly different approach, introducing Robotics Engineering as a multi-disciplinary engineering discipline to meet the needs for a new kind of engineering. The curriculum, designed top-down, incorporates a number of best practices, including spiral curriculum, a unified set of core courses, multiple pathways, inclusion of social issues and entrepreneurship, emphasis on project-based learning, and capstone design projects. This talk provides a brief synopsis and multi-year retrospective on the program, including lessons learned as an educational entrepreneur. 

The talk will also survey some of the robotics research underway at WPI, such as biomedical robots, human-robot interaction, various modalities (ground, air, water, ice, trees), robot learning, and combined sensing and manipulation.