Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Robots and the Democratization of Quality"

Rich Mahoney, PhD

Engineering R&D Division

SRI International

September 13, 2011
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Rich Mahoney, Ph.D. will discuss the emergence of personal robots and the drivers that may lead to their evolution and wider adoption by society.

Robots play a fascinating and increasingly vital role in the world. Although they have contributed significantly to the manufacturing base that defines our modern existence, there is still some disappointment in society's collective expectation of what robots should be doing for us. To counter this skepticism, however, there is a nascent, promising trend to design robots able to perform services for human users in more personal settings. Some of the latest inroads include products like Roomba, the da Vinci surgical robot, and a variety of military robots used to defuse roadside bombs.

In contrast to the robots of destruction often featured in movies and literature, we are witnessing the rise of "good robots", designed to work closely with humans. Dr. Mahoney will explain how these robots can increase widespread access to quality services in healthcare and personal care, by augmenting human capabilities. This talk will include a sketch of SRI's technology roadmap for dexterous telemanipulation robotics, from the precursors of the da Vinci system to new non-medical applications, leading to robots of our future.

Dr. Mahoney will also provide some highlights on the current landscape in robotics and will offer his vision of how robotics technology will evolve to enable broad access to high quality in everyday services.

Rich has more than 20 years of experience in research, development, and commercialization of healthcare robotics technology, with a particular emphasis on assistive and therapeutic applications. At SRI, Dr. Mahoney leads a team working on cutting edge robotics projects, including advanced component technologies and telemanipulation, for healthcare, security, and consumer applications.

Prior to joining SRI, Dr. Mahoney was general manager of the U.S. operations of Motorika, Inc., an early-stage medical device company specializing in technology for neurorehabilitation. Previously, he was the director of business development for Applied Resources Corp., and co-director of the Robotics Laboratory of the Applied Science and Engineering Labs at the University of Delaware and A.I. DuPont Institute.

Dr. Mahoney has a B.S. and an M.S. from Drexel University in Pennsylvania. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, England, while attending on a Fulbright Scholarship.