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Advanced robotics researcher wins prestigious Early Career Award

Italian Institute of Technology senior scientist Arash Ajoudani has received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) Early Career Award 2021. He’s the first researcher in Italy to win this award.

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Arash Ajoudani, a tenured senior scientist at Genoa’s scientific research centre Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), has won the Early Career Award 2021 bestowed by the Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). As reported on the IEEE website, Ajoudani received this award for his “contributions to the theory and technology of (ergonomic) human-robot collaboration and telerobotics.” This is the first time a researcher based in Italy has won this award. At the IIT, Ajoudani leads the Human-Robot Interfaces and Physical Interaction (HRI2) laboratory, whose research activities involve human physical interaction behaviour modelling and analysis, as well as human-in-the-loop robot planning and control. The scientist has received a European Research Council Starting Grant for the Ergo-Lean project. In addition, he’s the coordinator of the EU-funded SOPHIA project and principal investigator of technology transfer initiatives such as JOiiNT lab. In addition to the most recent award, his work in the field of collaborative industrial robotics has also earned him the Italian manufacturing industry fair MECSPE’s 2019 Solution Award, the 2018 Amazon Research Award and the 2018 KUKA Innovation Award. Ajoudani is also the author of the book ‘Transferring Human Impedance Regulation Skills to Robots’ on robotic manipulation control published in 2016.

About the Early Career Award

The IEEE RAS Early Career Award is given to scientists who are in the early stage of their career and whose contribution or contributions have had a significant impact on the robotics and/or automation fields. Established in 1999, the award can be granted to current members of the IEEE RAS who have been working in this field for less than 7 years after being granted their highest academic degree. “The IEEE RAS Early Career Award 2021 means a lot to me, not only because it deals with my current studies but because it is also related to the challenges that our society is facing to become more prosperous, in terms of productivity and workers’ well-being and job satisfaction,” stated Ajoudani in a news item posted on the IIT website. “I believe that industrial collaborative robots represent the future for factories, contributing to creating both agile manufacturing and safer workplaces,” he concluded. Ergo-Lean (Rethinking Human Ergonomics in Lean Manufacturing and Service Industry: Towards Adaptive Robots with Anticipatory Behaviors) is investigating human ergonomics during human-robot environment interactions and ways to anticipate workers’ actions in the workplace. The project intends to explore the potential of collaborative robotics technology as a means to anticipate human behaviour, leading to interventions that will help improve working conditions. SOPHIA (Socio-physical Interaction Skills for Cooperative Human-Robot Systems in Agile Production) is creating a new generation of core robotic technologies for socially cooperative human-robot systems. In addition to realising reconfigurable and resource-efficient production, the project also aims to help humans become more comfortable with and increase their trust in hybrid human-plus-robot manufacturing environments. For more information, please see: Ergo-Lean project website SOPHIA project website

Keywords

Ergo-Lean, SOPHIA, human-robot, IEEE RAS, Early Career Award

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