Gannon University’s Industrial Engineering Program Welcomes Robot As New Member

Posted: May 26, 2016

There's a new resident of Gannon University's Industrial Engineering Laboratory. Not a professor, student or even a human, this new member is a revolutionary, highly adaptive collaborative research robot named Baxter.

With its flexible 14-degree-of-freedom (DoF) articulated arms, the Baxter can be made to perform numerous work and research related functions. A user has a choice of controlling the robot's motion by either writing python scripts, performing physical keyframing or utilizing a graphical user interface, thus reducing the cost and time associated with programming.

In the Industrial Engineering Lab, the Baxter will be used for research in telerobotics, robot-assisted surgery, computer integrated manufacturing as well as classroom instructions and advanced research on human-robot interactions, robot-path planning and manipulation and machine learning.

The Baxter is part of a suite of new robotics research equipment that are currently being added to Gannon's developing Industrial Engineering Laboratory, which includes the Fanuc LR Mate 200iD Educational Robot (a six-DoF industrial robot) that will be used for the Certified Education Robot Training (CERT) program for students.

The Fanuc robot certification will give Gannon engineering students an edge over their peers in the manufacturing job market due to the industry-recognized certification credentials they will acquire upon completion of robotics courses.

Teaching curricula built around the new lab additions are also being created to prepare students for the applications of the "lean think model" to different task scenarios.

Ikechukwu Ohu, Ph.D., an assistant professor of industrial engineering, is behind the arrival of Gannon's growing collection of state-of-the-art robots and industrial automation machinery.

Ohu said the courses taught in the industrial engineering program have project components with scopes often tailored toward product or service design that focuses not just on functionality, ergonomics and aesthetics, but also applies the principles of Kansei engineering in translating the feelings and impressions of product end-users to design parameters.

"This approach to design plays the dual role of promoting deep intellectual discourse amongst students, leading to a better understanding of a course's contents and user-centric product development," Ohu said.

Some high school students who were part of the GO College program visited the Industrial Engineering Lab this spring, and were given opportunities to use the robots and other lab equipment. In addition, the students were given insight on what the life of an engineering college student is like and the opportunities that await them upon graduation from college.

To find out more about Gannon's industrial engineering program, click here