Alumni Naomi Leonard and Xiaobo Tan part of public lecture on underwater robotics

Alumni Naomi Leonard and Xiaobo Tan part of public lecture on underwater robotics

Two alumni recently were featured speakers at a public lecture on robotics sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Halcyon.

Naomi Leonard (EE Ph.D. 1994), the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University; and Xiaobo Tan (EE Ph.D. 2002), the MSU Foundation Professor Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan State University; spoke at AAAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 16.

At Maryland, Leonard was advised by Professor P. S. Krishnaprasad (ECE/ISR). Tan was co-advised by Krishnaprasad and Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR).

Their topic was “Pathfinders of the Abyss: Exploring the frontiers of marine science and autonomous systems through underwater robotics.” The abstract of the lecture noted:

Human beings evolved within a very specialized and narrow set of environmental conditions, meaning that parameters like temperature, atmospheric pressure, and the mix of gases dissolved in our bloodstream must remain within a very specific range of values for us to survive. This means that scientists operating in very different environments, such as the deep sea, require heavy and expensive life support systems designed specifically for humans. Robots, however, are already able to operate cost effectively and with high precision in extremely harsh conditions.

In recent years, rapid advances in machine intelligence have enabled significant advances in autonomy and multi-robot systems that promise to revolutionize both the way that robots interact with ourselves and each other, as well as enhance our ability to conduct research in one of the last unexplored frontiers on Earth. Join us to hear three leading researchers discuss their work on emerging scientific and technological developments associated with the exciting and dynamic field of marine robotics.

Leonard and Tan were joined by John Ryan, a senior research specialist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

The lecture was part of the 2016–2017 Halcyon Dialogues on Robotics, a series of events celebrating the new journal Science Robotics. The series examines the technical, educational, ethical and policy implications of the evolving robotics field, as well as the many ways that developments in different domains influence developments in robotics.

Related Articles:
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Alum Xiaobo Tan named 'Foundation Professor' at Michigan State
Naomi Leonard to be inducted into Innovation Hall of Fame
Alumnus Xiaobo Tan promoted to full professor at Michigan State
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October 20, 2017


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