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Timely robotics research receives coverage by the BBC

WPI Hosts Symposium on Exploring Robot Technologies to Fight Ebola; the World Takes Notice

November 6, 2014
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Watch the BBC video featuring WPI assistant professor Dmitry Berenson. Here he demonstrates how Baxter, an industrial robot located inside a robotics lab at WPI, could be used to remove a pair of potentially contaminated health care worker goggles. The idea is to minimize the risk of exposure to workers on the front lines of the Ebola crisis while taking protective gear off. View video...


In this mock exercise, WPI explores repurposing the AERO robot to decontaminate Ebola workers.

Robotics researchers and their robots were featured Thursday, November 6 in a Technology article posted online via the international public service broadcaster, the BBC, The British Broadcasting Corporation in London. The article explains how WPI professors are looking to repurpose existing robots to assist in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Converting robots that were originally designed for space exploration and industrial manufacturing, professors at WPI believe there is life saving potential to change the way workers get in and out of their protective gear.

To read the entire article, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29942392.

The article highlights the important symposium taking place at WPI today. Responding to the Ebola crisis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) began the morning on Friday hosting medical leaders, robotics industry officials, and other experts from the region for a Symposium on Advancement of Field Robots for Ebola Response (SAFER).

SAFER is aimed at providing an open platform to explore the feasibility of utilizing robots for preventing, detecting, and responding to current and future Ebola (or similar) outbreaks.

The two morning sessions will discuss incorporating telemedicine and surveillance, as well as decontamination and other technologies, into the current discussion about responding to the Ebola outbreak.

The symposium is organized by a 13-member steering committee at WPI from diverse backgrounds: the Robotics Engineering Program; the Arts and Sciences and Engineering divisions; the departments of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Social Science and Policy Studies; the Academic Technology Center; and the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Immediately following the SAFER program, WPI will participate in a separate invitation-only Safety Robotics for Ebola Workers workshop in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Texas A&M University, and University of California, Berkeley. The workshops will be projected to on-site attendees. At the end of the day’s events, the symposium and workshop leaders will gather to discuss best practices and follow up with a potential roadmap of disaster robotics.

To view the complete coverage by the BBC, visit http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29942392.

For more information on the symposium, visit http://robot.wpi.edu/safer/.

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