Rethink Robotics’ Rodney Brooks wins ‘highest honor in robotics industry’

Baxter and Dr. Rodney Brooks
Baxter and Dr. Rodney Brooks

Today, Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks will be among three robotics innovators to receive the prestigious Engelberger Robotics Award at the 45th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR 2014) which is also the 8th German Conference on Robotics (ROBOTIK 2014), in Munich, Germany.

The prize, which is the “highest honor” in the robotics industry, was named for Joseph F. Engelberger, the “father of robotics,” and is given by the Robotic Industries Association.

In a statement announcing the winners, Jeff Burnstein, the president of the Robotic Industries Association said, “We are privileged to continue the tradition of honoring Mr. Engelberger by adding three well deserving individuals to this illustrious list of people that have made a great impact on the robotics industry.” Since its inception in 1977, 119 robotics innovators from 17 countries have been selected for the award.

Along with Brooks, Dr. Rory Cooper of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Vijay Kumar from the University of Pennsylvania also won the Engelberger Award.

Dr. Cooper won the award for his application of robotics technologies to help improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. Dr. Kumar won for his research and role in educating aspiring robotics scientists and engineers on multi-robot systems and micro aerial vehicles.

Rethink Robotics’ Brooks was awarded the Engelberger Award for Leadership.

In his role as the founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of Rethink Robotics, Brooks, a former CTO of iRobot and director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, has been instrumental in the advancement of “safe” working robots, such as the company’s “Baxter.”

“Clearly the name Engelberger has enormous significance in robotics, so winning an award in Joe’s name is quite an honor,” Brooks said in a statement.

“And to win it for leadership in the industry is an even higher honor.”

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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