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2012 Media Releases

University of Denver Professor Presents to Congressional Robotics Leaders

Sept. 13, 2012—A University of Denver professor serving as Program Director of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) will present results from the program's first year of work to a Congressional panel on Friday, Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C.

The bi-partisan Congressional Robotics Caucus will hear about progress made by the NRI as it sifts through more than a billion dollars in grant requests and awards more than $40 million in grants to researchers nationwide, including Colorado.

The Robotics Caucus formed in 2007 to focus on issues facing the nation's robotics industry and related emerging technology. The caucus is chaired by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and co-chaired by Rep. Phil Ginrey (R-Ga.). The NRI was introduced last year by President Barack Obama.

Richard Voyles, a University of Denver associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is on leave from the University while he serves on the National Science Foundation. He will be part of a panel presenting NRI progress, along with Daniel Schmoldt, national program leader of the Division of Agricultural Systems for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture; and Robert Ambrose, principal investigator at the Game Changing Development Program Software in the Robotics and Simulation Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The panel will be moderated by Farnam Jahanian, director of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation

"The theme of the National Robotics Initiative is co-robotics, that is, robots working collaboratively with humans," Voyles says. "The future of American competitiveness is dependent on innovation, and robots best serve us by making humans more productive, not by replacing humans."

Better robotics, making American workers more productive, are key to keeping the United States competitive globally, Voyles says.

"The United States cannot compete, and should not compete, on a cost basis for manufacturing and future jobs," Voyles says. "We need to compete on a productivity basis, because productivity in the United States is among the highest in the world, and co-robotics will help build on that."

The presentation, titled "From Manufacturing to Medicine to Mars: Robotics Research to Transform U.S. Industry, Jobs and the Economy," will be held Friday, Sept. 14 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room B369 of the Rayburn House Office Building.