RIA announces winners of 2012 Engelberger Robotics Awards

August 2, 2012

The Robotic Industries Association (RIA), Ann Arbor, Mich., has named Richard Litt and Martin Buehler as the winners of its 2012 Engelberger Robotics Awards &mdawsh; the industry's highest honor.

The awards, named after the worldwide "father of robotics," Joseph F. Engelberger, are sponsored annually by RIA, the industry's trade group. Each recipient receives a commemorative medallion and a $5,000 honorarium.

Richard Litt, founder and chairman of Genesis Systems Group LLC, has won the 2012 Engelberger Award for Leadership. Under Litt's guidance, Genesis developed from a small welding supply firm to a global leader in robotic welding integration with more than 4,000 robots installed today. With a background in manufacturing engineering and welding, Litt was a pioneer in nonautomotive robotic arc welding. He helped design and manufacture high-speed, accurate, low cost auxiliary motion devices; workcell logic devices; robot-to-process equipment interfaces; and safety interlocks needed for successful robotic welding workcells.

In 2008 Litt was elected the first chairman of RIA to represent the system integrator community. As chair, he helped create the RIA certified robot integrator program.

The 2012 Engelberger Award for Technology recognizes Buehler for more than 20 years of industrial and academic contributions in developing advanced robotics technology. His expertise is in robot manipulation, mobile robots, and leading innovative R&D and product development organizations.

Buehler studied electrical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. He received a Ph.D degree in electrical engineering from Yale University in 1990 and became a professor at McGill University in 1991, with tenure since 1997. His research focused on dynamic grasping, direct-drive motor control, and legged robots. From 2003 to 2008 he was director of robotics at Boston Dynamics, and he was director of research at iRobot Corp. from 2008 to 2011. He currently serves as vice president for logistics solutions at Vecna Technologies.

Buehler is best known in the academic world for his expertise in “intermittent dynamical” robotic tasks such as dynamic manipulation and dynamically stable legged locomotion. His research led to multiple breakthroughs in legged robot projects like BigDog and RHex.

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