Rock Star of Robotics Speaks to MIT Students

Rodney Brooks, introduced by CSAIL Director Victor Zue as the “bad boy of robotics,” wowed the crowds with his presentation on Robots Working with People as part of CSAIL’s 2010-2011 Dertouzos Lecturer Series on Thursday, November 18. Brooks, the former director of CSAIL and the founder, chairman, and CTO of Heartland Robotics, offered his perspective on the future of robotics from “the point of view of an academic refugee.”

While robots are not commonplace yet, Brooks believes that thanks to the aging baby boomers the integration of robots into mainstream society will become a necessity. According to Brooks, robots should be able to help with everything from assisting the elderly with household tasks to helping on the assembly line in the manufacturing industry. Today robots are already used to vacuum floors (as with Brooks’ iRobot Roomba vacuum) and are regularly used by the American military to help dismantle roadside bombs.

Brooks also touched on different ways CSAIL students can make an impact with their research. He concluded his speech by mentioning he was honored to have been included in the Dertouzos Lecturer Series. Learn more on the Dertouzos Lecturer Series here.

Abby Abazorius, CSAIL