Machines are everywhere. They run our factory assembly lines and make our coffee. But Robots—machines with human-like capabilities—have long been the stuff of science fiction. Fueled by an ambitious DARPA challenge, the race is on to design a robot that can replace humans in disaster relief situations. Follow the robots—and the engineers that program them—as they strive to make their way out of the lab and into the real world. But how capable are they, really? How close are we to a future where humanoid robots are part of our everyday lives? And what are the implications of a future with robots that can do a human's job? NOVA investigates the cutting-edge technologies that are advancing robotics as never before ... and the enormous challenges that the robots still face.

rise of the robots thumb

NOVA "Rise of the Robots" premieres Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 9pm ET/8C on PBS. 

View the YouTube video trailer here:

Beginning this year, authors will have a unique opportunity to publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal: IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), and present the same paper at the RAS flagship conference on Automation: IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) to be held 21-24 August 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

While submission to RA-L is open throughout the year, there is now a submission window when authors have an option for their paper to be considered for both RA-L publication and presentation at CASE. The submission window for CASE 2016 will be 1 February to 1 March. Submission for CASE-only papers is 6 March.
The final program of CASE will feature presentations to be archived in IEEE Xplore — in either RA-L or the CASE Conference Proceedings.

For more information on the new RAS journal IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters see: 

IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members. The honor is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest.

If you know of an IEEE colleague who is a Senior Member or Life Senior Member in good standing, has completed five years of service in any grade of IEEE Membership and who has made an outstanding contribution to the electronic or electrical engineering profession, you can nominate this person in one of four categories:
Application Engineer/Practitioner, Educator, Research Engineer/Scientist or Technical Leader.

Fellow pin

Nominations for the Fellow Class of 2017 are now being accepted. To learn more about the Fellow program and the nomination process, visit the About the IEEE Fellow Program page.

Additional information about the IEEE Fellow program, and a list of RAS Fellows is available HERE.

The IEEE Robotics & Automation Society recognizes and congratulates the following individuals for their outstanding accomplishments and service to RAS and the robotics and automation community. They will be honored during an award luncheon to be held at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA 2016) on 19 May at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center, Stockholm, Sweden. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding recipients!

RAS Pioneer Award

Daniel Koditschek - University of Pennsylvania (PA), United States
"For his seminal contributions to the mathematical and empirical foundations of robotics, leadership in robotics research, inspired mentorship of the next generation of roboticists"

RAS George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation

Ken Goldberg - University of California-Berkeley (CA), United States
"For his exceptional leadership, innovations and contributions to advancing automation science and engineering, particularly public outreach and archival publications"
Nikos Papanikolopoulos - University of Minnesota (MN), United States
"For his leadership, innovation, and dedication in RAS conference activities"

IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award

Raj Madhavan - HumRobTech, LLC (MD), United States 
"For his distinguished service and contributions to RAS industrial and humanitarian activities"
Jing Xiao - University of North Carolina at Charlotte (NC), United States
"For her leadership in RAS member activities, and distinguished service in support of RAS conferences and committees"

RAS Early Career Award (Academic)

Dmitry Berenson - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA), United States
"For contributions to the theory and implementation of robot motion planning and manipulation"
Ludovic Righetti - Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany
"For contributions to the theory of, and experiments in, robot locomotion and manipulation"

RAS Early Career Award (Industry/Government)

Ioan A. Sucan - Google[x], (CA), United States
"For contributions to open source software for robot motion planning"

IEEE Inaba Technical Award for Innovation Leading to Production

Jean-Paul Laumond - Laas-Cnrs, France
"For outstanding contributions to motion planning commercialization in the robotics and automation industry"

IEEE Robotics and Automation Award for Product Innovation

Grabit Inc.
"In recognition of the Grabit Panel-Series Grippers that provide innovative and effective fabric handling based on electroadhesion"

RAS Most Active Technical Committee Award

Technical Committee on Aerial Robotics and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Chairs: Anibal Ollero, YangQuan Chen, Kimon P. Valavanis

RAS Chapter of the Year Award - Two Recipients this Year!

IEEE Eastern North Carolina, USA RAS Chapter
Chairs: Rodney Radford, Grayson Randall
IEEE RAS Monterrey, Mexico Chapter
Chair: Marco Ivan Ramirez Sosa Moran


The purpose of this award is to highlight and honor the achievements of the inventors with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products. This is a key element to the continuing success of robotics and automation today. Active infusion of innovation and entrepreneurship into technological advancement is regarded critical at this juncture to strengthen a healthy balance between research and practice as well as a healthy growth of industrial and commercial sectors in robotics and automation.

IERA logo

In a joint event the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the International Federation of Robotics will therefore recognize and honor outstanding achievements of entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative robotic and automation technology. These achievements will be recognized in a specially organized IEEE/IFR Joint Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation, which is being held on 21 June 2016 in conjunction with the International Symposium on Robotics (ISR) in Munich, Germany. The selected finalists will have the opportunity to present their story of the genesis of a successful innovative product in robotics and automation from its very inception to the final state of commercialization in a series of plenary lectures. An evaluation board consisting of distinguished individuals from industry and academia will choose the winner. A prestigious plaque and a US$ 2,000 prize will be awarded to the winner.

Applications should describe the original work that has been translated into a commercial success. The application must include statements regarding:
- description of the innovation/product/application
- stages of the product genesis
- novelty/uniqueness of the product
- market analysis, economic viability and pathway for commercialization
- sustained competitive advantage
- current and future impact on and relevance to industry

Applications for the IERA Award must be submitted no later than 15 March 2016
Call for Applications

Applications should not exceed a maximum length of 5 pages. Product descriptions and public relation material will not be accepted as an application. References and links to online material are permitted.

Submission of Applications

Please send as PDF document (< 6 MB) no later than 15 March 2016 (any time zone) to IFR Secretariat – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

posted 28 January 2016



The sixth IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics - BioRob 2016 - is a joint effort of the two IEEE Societies of Robotics and Automation (RAS) - and Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS). BioRob covers both theoretical and experimental challenges posed by the application of robotics and mechatronics in medicine and biology. The primary focus of Biorobotics is to analyze biological systems from a "biomechatronic" point of view, trying to understand the scientific and engineering principles underlying their extraordinary performance. This profound understanding of how biological systems work, behave and interact can be used for two main objectives: to guide the design and fabrication of novel, high performance bio-inspired machines and systems for many different applications; and to develop novel nano, micro-, macro- devices that can act upon, substitute parts of, and assist human beings in prevention, diagnosis, surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation and personal assistance.

The 2016 Edition will be held 26-29 June 2016 in Singapore.

New Final Extension:
To address many requests we have received for an extension due to busy schedules, we are delighted to be able to extend the final deadline one last time by more than one month to 1 March 2016 for student competition papers and 4 March 2016 for regular papers. Please note that after this date we will not be able to accommodate any further extensions.

Late Breaking Announcement:
IEEE BioRob 2016 announces an exciting student paper and poster competition. There will be 3 major awards and 7 consolation prizes awarded to 7 students and post-doctoral fellows. The awardees will receive cash prizes, financial support for participating in the conference, as well as academic recognition to be publicized through the sponsoring IEEE EMBS and RAS societies.

Deadline for submission of student papers has been extended to 1 March 2016. Submitted papers will be judged and finalists announced before the conference, and awards will be given out at the Conference.

For more information see:

posted 19 Janaury 2016

Don't delay! Nominations are due 31 January 2016 for the 2017 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation. This is the most prestigious award presented by the IEEE in the field of robotics and automation and includes a medal and a $US 10,000 honorarium. IEEE TFAs are awarded for contributions or leadership in a specific field of interest of the IEEE and are among the highest awards presented on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors.

Visit for a description of the award criteria and instructions on submitting a nomination.

The 2016 IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation will be presented to Raffaello D'Andrea "For pioneering contributions to design and implementation of distributed, cooperative robotics and automation systems for commercial applications." The presentation will take place at the Award Ceremony held during ICRA 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden from 16-21 May 2016.

posted 11 January 2016



As 2015 is drawing to a close, we would like to wish all of our Members and Friends best wishes for the Holiday Season, and for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!


2015 ExCom at IROS

A huge special thanks must be given to the following RAS Officers serving on the 2015 Executive Committee (ExCom). They have worked tirelessly to provide additional benefits and services to RAS members and the industry:
l-r: Raj Madhavan, Satoshi Tadokoro, Antonio Bicchi, Jing Xiao, Kevin Lynch, Oussama Khatib, Raja Chatila, Fumihito Arai, Nancy Amato, Tony Maciejewski, Ron Lumia, Paul Oh




2015 AdCom at IROS

And we must also heartily thank those serving on the 2015 RAS Administrative Committee (AdCom). Without their dedication and commitment, RAS would not be one of the leading IEEE Societies!
l-r: Toshio Fukuda, Hong Zhang, David Orin, Martin Buss, Yashushi Nakauchi, Danika Krajic, Bill Hamel, Wolfram Burgard, Hong Qiao, Seth Hutchinson, Dong-Soo Kwon, Max Meng, Kazuhito Yokoi, Brad Nelson, Zhi Dong Wang, Richard Vaughan, Ning Xi, Jianwei Zhang
not pictured: Lauren Miller, Lydia Kavraki


posted 30 December 2015



IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine

The open-source movement has already revolutionized a number of industries by empowering end-users to contribute to the products that they need and want, and fueling grass-roots development of projects in completely new areas, as well as their continual improvement. While there have been innumerable successes in software and electronics hardware, open mechanical hardware is taking longer to catch on, in large part due to the complexity and expense associated with fabricating mechanical systems. However, rapid fabrication technologies have improved to the point of being able to produce parts that are strong, robust, and precise enough for practical robotic systems and the many of these machines are available in fabrication facilities at most universities. With these and other technologies, users can more easily fabricate and improve upon open-source mechanical hardware without requiring large commitments in terms of cost, time, and domain expertise. This special issue seeks a collection of papers that address topics in open mechanical robot hardware, including issues related to design, fabrication, and dissemination, among others. Lessons learned in both development and in operation are pertinent to the discussion. Experimental results are strongly encouraged.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
- Novel open hardware for research, education, or commercial applications that has been specifically developed for easy and widespread fabrication, assembly, customization, and/or repair
- Projects that combine substantial mechanical hardware with open software/electronics hardware
- Research results that strongly rely on open mechanical hardware, such as performance results 
- Novel fabrication techniques that facilitate open hardware fabrication and dissemination

Additionally, it is suggested that papers include, in addition to technical content, discussion of challenges and lessons learned as a result of their efforts in open-source or widely-disseminated research hardware such that researchers can learn from them for future efforts.

Topics that do not speak to issues specific to open-source mechanical hardware are out of scope, including:
- Projects that are entirely or largely based on open-source software or electronics hardware
- Mechanical hardware that is not open, such as commercial hardware
- Traditional mechanical hardware that has not been designed specifically for easy implementation (e.g. requiring extensive machining) is likely to be out of scope (even if the designs have been made publically available), unless there is strong evidence of wide-spread adoption/implementation and provides insight for other open-source hardware efforts.

Authors of prospective papers are encouraged to send an abstract or description of the work to the special issue editors to discuss its relevance to the SI scope.

1 April 2016 - Submission deadline
15 July 2016 - End of first review round and author notification
15 November 2016 - Final decisions made
1 December 2016 - Final manuscripts due
March 2017 - Issue in print

Guest Editors
Aaron Dollar - Yale University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Giorgio Metta - Italian Institute of Technology, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Francesco Mondada - EPFL, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Alberto Rodriquez - CMU, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Complete details at

posted 21 December 2015



Ning Xi will serve as RAS President Elect 2016-2017. During the 3 October meeting in Hamburg, Germany, the RAS Administrative Committee elected Xi to serve as President Elect under the incoming president, Satoshi Tadokoro and to assume the Society presidency in January 2018. He is an IEEE Fellow and has served RAS on the Administrative Committee, and as past Chair of ICRA 2014, IROS 2009 and AIM 2005. 

Ning Xi received his D.Sc. degree in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in 1993. Currently, he is a University Distinguished Professor, the John D. Ryder Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Robotics and Automation Laboratory at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. He is a Fellow of IEEE. Dr. Xi's extensive experience in research and teaching comprise robotics and automation, in particular in the areas of control and planning for robotic systems, nano robots and manipulations, telerobotics, and manufacturing automation. Dr. Xi is a recipient of the Best Paper Award in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) and the Best Transactions Paper Award from IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. Dr. Xi was the first to receive the Early Academic Career Award by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in 1999.

posted 16 December 2015



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