Campus News in Brief

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Granted $7 Million by National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has awarded Carnegie Mellon researchers more than $7 million for various robot projects. The grant money is expected to be used towards projects that build and develop robots that can optimize and assist human tasks.

“The great promise of robots is to extend human skills and enhance human lives,” said Matt Mason, director of the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, according to a university press release. “The National Robotics Initiative is helping researchers here at Carnegie Mellon and across the country make that promise a reality.”

One of the new projects is expected to be a multiple-university, interdisciplinary scheme using robots to better assess the status of decrepit bridges.

Various groups will be in charge of the bridge project, including Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and civil and environmental engineering departments, as well as Northeastern University.

Another project will look to develop robots that can aid in low-risk surgeries by using sensory information to guide them.

Researchers hope to have compensated for surgeons not being able to see organs during surgeries.

Other projects include using robots and creating 3-D maps of internal organs to help the visually impaired travel, assist stroke survivors with their mobility, respond to underground mine accidents, and more.

Ilic’s Team Awarded $1.2 Million Grant

Marija D. Ilic, professor of electrical and computer engineering and engineering and public policy, has been chosen to lead a multidisciplinary research team aiming to prove that it is feasible to economically and dependably provide electric power.

According to a university press release, Ilic plans on executing her research project “with careful design of IT-enabled, data-driven protocols and the introduction of more interactive binding protocols between traditional utilities and new technologies.”

Using a $1.2 million grant that is spread over three years, Ilic will test the intelligent Dynamic Monitoring and Decision Systems (iDyMonDS) to prove that a more dependable, cost effective smart grid technology system can be created.

“This hybrid setup has the potential to realistically mimic a large electric energy system with data collected from real-world instrumentation that would ultimately be able to help determine the value of new technologies and their impact on the quality and cost of electricity services, sustainability and potential for reducing pollution,” Ilic said.

Her team has already created a database for electric power grids in two volcanic islands, Flores and San Miguel, and used the data to determine how community members can best utilize cheaper, more eco-friendly energy from wind.

According to a university press release, Ilic has recently been recognized by Carnegie Mellon with a Philip L. Dowd Fellowship Award. She has also established the Electrical Energy Systems Group.