Amato wins inaugural Robotics Medal from MassRobotics

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(L-R) Joyce Sidopoulos, Nancy Amato, Daniela Russ, Tye Brady.

Head of Computer Science Department Nancy Amato He spent years pursuing dual interests: researching robotics and expanding participation in computing and robotics among women.

Saturday, October 21 MassRoboticsThe nonprofit robotics innovation organization recognized Amato for her achievements in these two areas and awarded her its first Robotics Medal at the inaugural Women in Robotics Gala. Science Museum In Boston, Massachusetts.

of Robotics medal It is the world’s first major award to recognize the contributions of women researchers in the field of robotics. Amato received a one-time award of $50,000.

To celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and to encourage women in robotics; Amazon Global Robotics Established an endowment with MassRobotics in 2022 to support this award.

“It is an honor to be a founding sponsor of the Robotics Medal and we are grateful for the contributions and teachings of our stars and legendary pioneers in the field,” said Tye Brady, Chief Technology Officer, Amazon Robotics.

The award selection process took about a year. Last fall, MassRobotics opened its call for applications. Candidates are nominated by students or fellow faculty members. A panel of robotics experts led by MassRobotics evaluated the technical contributions, depth and originality of proposals from around the world.

The robotic technology fields and research areas presented are extensive. Innovations include new materials for grip, exoskeletons and assistive technologies, human-robot interaction and motion planning.

The committee selected Amato for her research in motion planning, computational biology, computational geometry and parallel computing algorithms.

A woman stands with a microphone in a museum and talks to young people.
Amato at the “Meet the Scientist” event at the Museum of Science in Boston.

MassRobotics announced the winners on IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation Held in London on 1 June 2023. The conference is one of the major robotics conferences held annually and sponsored by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

“The Robotics Medal recognizes and honors the remarkable achievements of women who are not only pioneers but role models in the field,” said Daniela Russ, Director of Computing. Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT and a board member of MassRobotics.

The First Ladies in Robotics Gala honored Amato. Alyssa PearsonAn assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Boston University, who received the MassRobotics Rising Star Award for his key contributions to the collaboration, distributed control of multi-agent teams.

The gala hosted a diverse group of innovators, engineers, professors, students and robotics leaders.

Amato described receiving the award as a “great honor” and thanked the teachers, mentors and students she has met throughout her career.

“When I first discovered robotics as an assistant professor, I knew it was a perfect fit for me—it brings together so many disciplines and has the potential to contribute to all areas of society. But, if we don’t involve everyone, we won’t be able to accomplish what we need to in robotics–or in any area. Especially bringing in more women.” “We have to,” said Amato.

Earlier in the day, Amato and Pearson participated in the ongoing process Women in science and engineering

(WISE) initiative of the Science Museum. Both women presented their research on stage at the “Meet the Scientist” session. They then interacted with the children, encouraged participation in related activities, and answered the group’s questions.

“I am very happy to see many young girls [at the event]-More than half of the volunteers to try the Alpha puzzle were girls. We need to keep them excited and inquisitive all the way through high school and college, Amato said.

In the coming years, Amato will continue to provide leadership in the robotics community. She was recently elected president of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and will begin serving a two-year term in January 2024. She will assume the role of president in January 2026.

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