Robotics Innovators Honored
TOKYO-Engelberger Robotics Awards were presented to four industry leaders at last week's 36th International Symposium on Robotics.
The awards honor significant achievements in the areas of application, technology development, education and leadership. They are named in honor of the "father of robotics," Joseph F. Engelberger, who presented the awards to each of the recipients, along with Donald Vincent, executive vice president of the Robotic Industries Association (RIA, Ann Arbor, MI).
In the leadership category, the winner was Craig S. Jennings, president of Motoman Inc. (West Carrollton, OH). According to the award's selection committee, Jennings was honored for having built his company into an "industrial robot powerhouse," in part due to his foresight to move Motoman into applications in medical robots, including more than 100 robots dispensing prescriptions and manipulating cancer patients in front of proton treatment machines.
A former RIA president and a member of the board for nearly a decade, Jennings has long been an advocate for the industry, giving numerous industry presentations, writing articles and helping reduce the tariffs levied on industrial robots by the U.S. Customs Department, a move that has saved the industry millions of dollars.
In the application category, the award went to Arturo Baroncelli, market and business coordinator at Comau (TURIN, Italy), for developing "an impressive number of innovative applications in areas such as arc and spot welding, press tending and material handling." Baroncelli also has been a strong voice for robotics as a member of the board of the Italian Society of Industrial Robotics since 1997, helping encourage robot use throughout Italy and Europe.
In the area of education, the award went to Delbert Tesar, Ph.D. director of the Robotics Research Group at the University of Texas at Austin. Active in robotics for some 40 years, Tesar leads the largest university-based robotics research group in mechanical engineering in the United States. To date, the program has graduated 53 Ph.Ds and 129 Masters of Science. Tesar has written 90 position papers, 215 refereed conference and journal papers and given more than 500 invited lectures. He also holds several U.S. patents.
In the technology development category, the award went to Masakazu Ejiri, the former senior chief research scientist for corporate technology at Hitachi Ltd. (Tokyo). Before Ejiri retired in 2003 after 40 years in the robotics industry, he made many significant contributions in the areas of control engineering, robotics, pattern recognition, machine vision and artificial intelligence. Ejiri's most famous achievement was the development of the world's first computer-controlled fully automatic transistor assembly system using innovative machine vision technology in 1973. Ejiri also pioneered work on an intelligent robot that assembles objects from plan drawings. His work has generated more than 200 patent applications.
The Engelberger Robotics Awards are presented annually by the Robotic Industries Association. Each award winner receives a $4,000 honorarium and a commemorative medallion. Since its inception in 1977, the award has been presented to 97 individuals from 15 countries.
RIA is now accepting nominations for the 2006 Engelberger Robotics Awards, to be presented in Munich, Germany, during the 37th International Symposium on Robotics in May 2006. For more details on the award or to submit a nomination, call 734-994-6088 or visit www.roboticsonline.com.