Georgia Tech adds institute for robotics, intelligent machines

By its nature, robotics is a discipline that crosses academic boundaries; it can involve engineering, computer science, aeronautics, biology and more. Recognizing this, Georgia Tech has created a new interdisciplinary organization called the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, which is designed to coordinate the university’s various colleges, departments and labs to promote advancement in robotics.

It’s the latest of ten such Interdisciplinary Research Institutes at the school, and Georgia Tech predicts it will create additional faculty collaboration, strengthen industry and government partnerships, and generally maximize the robotics research being conducted.

“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,” Henrik Christensen, the founding executive director of the institute, said in a statement. “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.”

The institute will draw from the Georgia Tech Research Institute as well as the robotics resources of the Colleges of Computing, Engineering, Science, Architecture and the school’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

“The newest IRI at Georgia Tech leverages growing expertise in robotics across the Institute,” Robert McGrath, director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute, said in a statement. “By collaborating through the newly-established IRIM, it will be easier for our research sponsors, both private industry and government, to work with us and access that expertise. I’m confident that IRIM will make us more proficient in working together for the benefit of our students, researchers and sponsors.”

Prior to the development of the institute, Georgia Tech’s various robotics research initiatives had already borne considerable fruit. In September, the National Science Foundation awarded the school more than $2 million to fund four robotics projects. Overall, robotics initiatives attract about $35 million annually to the university.

[ photo courtesy of the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines ]