U-M Robotics Day to Focus on Health Care, Transportation, Supply Chain


The third annual University of Michigan Robotics Day on Thursday will showcase leading autonomous systems and robotics research, with a focus on how the technologies can improve health care, transportation, and the supply chain industries.

“A lot of research in health care is about improving care (and) rehabilitation as well as robots for surgery,” says Dawn Tilbury, associate dean for research and graduate education at U-M’s College of Engineering.

Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Robotics Day includes Matt Smith, program manager of intelligent transportation systems at the Michigan Department of Transportation, who will speak about how autonomous technology will transform state businesses.

The daylong event will also include robotic demonstrations of research prototypes that can walk, fly, and swim. In the afternoon, Cindy Chestek, an assistant professor of biomedical engineer at U-M, will lead a presentation about utilizing brain-machine interfaces that enable paralyzed people to control their limbs.

In addition to various University of Michigan R&D activities, speakers from University of Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Technological University in Southfield will share their robotics program offerings.

“University students get to network with other companies, and speak about their career paths into different areas,” says Kenn Oldham, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at U-M. “There are definitely some opportunities for research collaborations between universities. I, personally, will be looking more at the experiences of these other colleges and universities about what they implement and can accomplish.”

While Oldham says his research in micro robotics is far removed from what industry professionals are looking for, he plans to bring along a microscope to show off the minute robots. While the robots are very fragile, students get a kick out of it, Oldham says.

Overall, Tilbury says the event aims to celebrate the state’s developing robotics market while also reminding attendees Michigan schools and organizations don’t only develop —they can build as well.

For more information about the event, which will also go behind the scenes of Amazon’s robotic order fulfillment technology, click here