Hendrik Van Brussel

Interview Location: Belgium

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Van Brussel discusses his lengthy career in the field of robotics. Outlining his involvement in Indonesia and Leuven, he recounts various projects and collaborations, including AACR and PROSA. Commenting on the challenges and evolution of robotics over the years, he provides advice for young people interested in the field.


Hendrik Van Brussel was born on October 24, 1944 in Ieper, Belgium. He obtained the degree of technical engineer in Mechanical Engineering from Hoger Technisch Instituut in Ostend, Belgium in 1965, and a M. Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1968 and 1971, respectively. From 1971 to 1973 he was in Bandung, Indonesia where he established a Metal Industries Development Center and served as an Associate Professor at the Institut Teknologi Bandung. Returning to K. U. Leuven he eventually became a Full Professor in Mechatronics and Automation in 1980. He also served as Head of Division PMA (Production Engineering, Machine design and Automation) from 1980-1993 and 2001-2003, Chairman of the department from 2003-2010, and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1993-2001, as well as a past president of CIRP (International Academy for Production Engineering, 2001-2002) and euspen (European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, 2007-2009). Working on projects involving cutting dynamics, structural dynamics, computer-integrated manufacture, and micro- and precision engineering, Van Brussel's research interests focus on robotics (especially medical robotics), mechatronics and flexible automation, and holonic manufacturing systems (multi-agent systems). For his contributions to the field of robotics he has received several awards and honors, including the SME F. W. Taylor Research Medal in 1976 and the Joseph Engelberger Award in 2008.