Media, Arts, Science, and Technology

RPI faculty, students building cost-effective robot

RPI faculty and students are working to build a cost-effective robotic caregiver. Robotic caregivers can offer assistance to the elderly and physically disabled individuals, but many cost $400,000 and are not affordable. But now faculty and students at RPI are hoping to make them less expensive. The team has started down a path of industrial assembly line designed robotics. They believe they have found the answer in Jamster: a dual-arm mobile assistive robot.

STEM gives an 'arm' and a 'leg' to those who really need it

Robots can do all sorts of things. They work on assembly lines helping build cars and also on high tech jobs. “The robots stay away from humans or humans stay away from robots because robots can hurt humans. They're very rigid, very strong and very fast,” said John Wen, an RPI professor. With that in mind, professors at the RPI robotics lab wanted to take it one step further. “We should have robots that work alongside humans in a friendly way,” Wen explained.

RPI Showcases Helper Robots

RPI students are getting involved as well. "We're building projects to help people. Other research I've done, it stayed in the lab, so it's amazing to me that I can take people's feedback and then use my technical expertise to design and help people and it's just a really satisfying line of work,” RPI senior Andrew Cunningham said.

Arts Center at Ground Zero Shelves Gehry Design

The board of the performing arts center planned for ground zero has scuttled the design for the building by Frank Gehry, the project’s original architect, and will instead select a design from a field of three finalists ... Center officials say they have been studying successful institutions — including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center and the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, N.Y. — to refine their own plans. 

Baxter the robot brings his gentle touch to novel jobs

But Baxter is now stepping out of the factory and into quirkier projects. The robot isn't opening peanut butter jars for kicks, but at the behest of David Whalen, who was left quadriplegic as a young man following a skiing accident in 1981. Whalen is working with John Wen of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, to turn Baxter into a mobile assistive robot.

Virtual reality Beijing speeds language class

A video game that helps university students learn Mandarin by taking an entire class on a virtual adventure to the Summer Palace in Beijing is to be launched next year.

The game, which was created by Lee Sheldon, a former Star Trek producer, is to be offered as a three-month course to students at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Professor Sheldon said that the concepts of the game could easily be applied to language classes in Britain.

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.