OSU Robotics named founding member of the Manufacturing USA Institute

Brock Marion, Multimedia Contributor

Oregon State University was recently announced as one of the few founding members of the Manufacturing USA Institute.

Oregon States engineering program is among the nations largest and OSU has been called the “Best in the West” when it comes to robotics. Kagan Tumer, head of the robotics program at OSU, said that being chosen to partner with the Institute is a great honor and it will not be taken lightly.

The partnership and the funding will be used to bring manufacturing back to the United States Tumer said.

Tumer went on to explain that they will be looking at the effects of robots on society and how to use robotics to improve daily life.  

The key to this is manufacturing and the partnership with the federal government, the industries and the state,” Tumer said. “In five to 10 years, we are going to change jobs and how we get things done.

Anyone in the country can be involved, so it is an incredible honor that we were chosen for it,” said Bill Smart, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. Having access to this institute gives us the ability to go and talk and partner with similar minds and bring problems to the industry that we can solve through robotics.

OSU is really good at getting the results from the lab to somewhere that matters. Smart continued.

Smart went on to say how the partnership won’t just be conducting tests and running experiments, but rather taking knowledge found in the lab and putting it to practical use.

Smart predicts that projects with the industries should be starting up soon–hopefully by the summer.

Grad students Austin Whitwell, William Curran and Austin Nicolai showed off their PR2 robot and how it can be controlled by humans to move, grab and see things. They said that the PR2 robot is meant for research, but will be used as a base to design better robots.

These robots will be used in dangerous or hazardous places for humans while their controller is safe from the harm of the environment, the grad team said. With the funding from the Institute, we can keep our jobs.