Robotics center merges academics and industry


Mar 18, 2010

Dr. Jacques Penders and Noel Sharkey

Dr. Jacques Penders (left), head of the Centre for
Automation and Robotics Research, and Sheffield
Professor Noel Sharkey kneel amidst Guardian and
View-Finder robots.

The Centre for Automation and Robotics Research (CARR) opened at Sheffield Hallam University ( in Sheffield, U.K. The facility is led by Dr. Jacques Penders, creator of Sheffield Hallam's firefighting Guardian and View-Finder robots, which were funded by the European Union (EU).

The robots carry laser-range, radio-signal and ultrasound sensors and can be used to assist search and rescue during large-scale incidents, for example warehouse fires and chemical spills.

"There are approximately 1.5 million robots working in industries across the planet at the moment, but Britain is the lowest user of robots in industrialized Europe," said University of Sheffield Professor Noel Sharkey.

The center will provide consultation services for the region's businesses and run research programs alongside teaching, with closer interaction between students and researchers.

"The robotics center has strong links with engineering and mathematics, but we are cooperating with other departments, as well," said Penders. "Human-robot interaction is essential and requires a multidisciplinary approach."

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