Skip to content

Northeastern researchers help establish new institute to advance robotics in manufacturing

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity researchers led by robotics expert Taskin Padir have been selected to partner with a con­sor­tium of uni­ver­si­ties, non­profit insti­tu­tions, local gov­ern­ments, and industry to launch a new inde­pen­dent robotics insti­tute as part of the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense’s Man­u­fac­turing USA, a national net­work for bringing inno­va­tion to manufacturing.

Called the Advanced Robotics Man­u­fac­turing Insti­tute, or ARM, the project will bring together man­u­fac­turing com­pa­nies and researchers to expand the com­pa­nies’ robotics capa­bil­i­ties, including the devel­op­ment of next-​​generation robots, edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties, and work­force training. North­eastern is one of just 40 aca­d­emic insti­tu­tions selected to be founding mem­bers of the institute.

Northeastern’s track record on industry engage­ment and co- op makes us a great con­trib­utor to this bold, forward- looking effort aimed at trans­forming U.S. man­u­fac­turing.

Taskin Padir asso­ciate professor

Our goal is to expand the applic­a­bility of robots in man­u­fac­turing in com­pa­nies of all sizes,” says Padir, asso­ciate pro­fessor of elec­trical and com­puter engi­neering. “A pri­mary ques­tion we want to answer is: How can we pro­vide robotics and automa­tion in a novel way so that these busi­nesses can thrive?”

We are delighted that our fac­ulty are part of the Advanced Robotics Man­u­fac­turing Insti­tute, and look for­ward to working with industry and insti­tu­tional part­ners on state-​​of-​​the-​​art research in robotics and other autonomous tech­nolo­gies,” says Nadine Aubry, dean of the Col­lege of Engi­neering and Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor at North­eastern. “I am con­fi­dent the team will develop inno­v­a­tive robotics sys­tems with human­like dex­terity and adapt­ability, as well as safe and intu­itive human-​​robot inter­ac­tion capa­bility for the next gen­er­a­tion of U.S. man­u­fac­turing operations.”

Strength in humanoid robotics

At North­eastern, Padir leads an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary team of fac­ulty and stu­dents researching and devel­oping the humanoid robot pro­to­type Valkyrie, which was designed by NASA for future mis­sions into deep space. In November 2015, North­eastern was one of two research groups selected by NASA to work on an indi­vidual pro­to­type of the robot.

Researching humanoid robotics is one of our strengths,” says Padir. “Our inter­dis­ci­pli­nary team of researchers also works on dex­terous manip­u­la­tion, sensing, and per­cep­tion, as well as next-​​generation robot design. The projects we plan to work on within the insti­tute will enable us to pro­vide holistic solu­tions to man­u­fac­turing businesses.”

Asso­ciate pro­fessor Taskin Padir, left, in the Robotics Lab at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

ARM will be based in Pitts­burgh and led by an inde­pen­dent non­profit founded by Carnegie Mellon Uni­ver­sity called Amer­ican Robotics. In addi­tion to the aca­d­emic part­ners, the con­sor­tium includes 123 indus­trial and 64 gov­ern­ment enti­ties. The funding, which comes from the var­ious par­ties as well as the DOD, totals more than $250 million.

To start, the insti­tute will focus on four industry sec­tors: elec­tronics, auto­mo­tive, aero­space, and tex­tiles. Among its 10-​​year goals are to increase worker pro­duc­tivity by 30 per­cent and to create 510,000 new man­u­fac­turing jobs, all in an effort to boost U.S. man­u­fac­turing competitiveness.

North­eastern, says Padir, is par­tic­u­larly well suited to par­tic­i­pate. “Given our co-​​op pro­gram, we have a great deal of expe­ri­ence in building industry part­ner­ships,” he says. “This is an industry-​​driven insti­tute. The aca­d­emic part­ners will define the scope of the projects, but the prob­lems will come from industry. Northeastern’s track record on industry engage­ment and co-​​op makes us a great con­trib­utor to this bold, forward-​​looking effort aimed at trans­forming U.S. manufacturing.”

Cookies on Northeastern sites

This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand your use of our website and give you a better experience. By continuing to use the site or closing this banner without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies and other technologies. To find out more about our use of cookies and how to change your settings, please go to our Privacy Statement.

Like what you see? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the latest stories right in your inbox.