Title: New Frontiers in Robotic Technologies and Human Health During the Ongoing Digital Revolution
Speaker: Prof. Alon Wolf
Affiliation: Mechanical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Date: Friday January 29th
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A robot in every home – The leader of the PC revolution predicts that the next hot field will be robotics” – this was the title of a very known article written by no other but Bill Gates in the January 2007 issue of Scientific America. But this vision came in no surprise as it was Karl Chapek, a Czech writer that, in 1920, foresaw in his book R.U.R a utopian society where artificial people names roboti serve and work for humans. This vision was further supported by the robotic book series by Isaac Asimov. Today almost 12 years after Gates article and almost 100 years after Chapek’s novel, we are experiencing the 4th industrial revolution (the digital revolution) whose core technology are cyber physical systems, or in other words Robots.
Low cost sensors, low cost, yet high computational power, computer, new light materials and novel manufacturing power enable us not only to have a robot in every home but almost to create a robot in every home. Indeed, robotics is the current and probably the near future hottest trend that is going to surround us in our daily lives such as in industry, in hospitals, on the roads, and in our homes. However, there are still challenges and ethical issues to overcome to make this trend a reality. This seminar will review the current and near future development directions of robotics and identify the gaps needed to fulfill Chapek, Asimov and Gate’s vision.
Bio: Prof. Wolf earned all of his academic degrees from the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Immediately after receiving his Ph.D., he joined the robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as a research scientist, as well as the Institute for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery as a research faculty and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as an Adjunct Faculty of CT Surgery. In March of 2006 Prof. Wolf returned to Israel and joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion. Here he founded a new research lab, the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab (BRML). The objective of the research in the BRML is to develop fundamental theories in bio-kinematics and biomechanics as well as to apply these theories to applications in medical robotics and biorobotics. Prof. Wolf’s work was published in more that 170 publications in leading international scientific journals, Book chapters, Patents, and conferences (as key note and invited lectures). Prof. Wolf is a co-inventor and co-founder of Medrobotics Corporation and is the director of FIRST in Israel, a volunteering activity to promote STEM (science technology and math) among young school students (15,000 participants in Israel). Prof. Wolf is also an Associate Editor for the prestige journals of Clinical Biomechanics, ASME journal of mechanisms and robotics, and serves in the editorial board of several leading international journals. He won numerous research awards and was elected to the 2016-2017 IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society Distinguished Lecturer Program and was awarded Fellow of the American Association of Mechanical Engineers. Lately, he was appointed as the director of the Israeli Olympic Sport Research Centre. Prof. Wolf’s urban search and rescue snake robot and his surgical snake robot were elected best technology of 2012 and 2014 respectively, by the prestige journal of popular science. In October 1st 2019 Prof. Wolf took the office of Technion Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development.