Industrial engineering department gets new robot

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Gannon University’s industrial engineering department is bringing state-of-the-art research equipment to its students with the new Industrial Engineering laboratory.
The new laboratory will feature a revolutionary, highly adaptive collaborative research robot with flexible 14 degree-of-freedom movement—also known as Baxter. In addition, industrial engineering students will have access to the Fanuc LR Mate 200iD Educational Robot. It is a six-axis robot that moves without vibration.
These research robots will provide Gannon’s students with the hands-on learning they need to be successful and innovative in their careers.
Ikechukwu Ohu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the industrial engineering department, was an influential leader in the development of the Industrial Engineering laboratory.
With Baxter and Fanuc, students will have the opportunity to conduct advanced research on human-robotic interactions, statistical robotics, robot planning and manipulation, machine learning and take part in the Certified Education Robot Training (CERT) program.
Ohu said that Baxter could also be integrated with external sensors to test its dynamic responsiveness and re-enactment of the motions of another device.
“This latter application opens up frontiers of opportunities for research in robot teleoperation and telemedicine,” he said. “The Industrial Engineering laboratory is also equipped to meet the growing needs of the manufacturing industry for highly skilled workforce in industrial robotics.”
Innovative opportunities for successful careers after graduation is part of Gannon’s mission and additions such as Baxter and Fanuc, will equip the students with the necessary skills to increase their chances of employment post-graduation.
To assist in creating a stronger competitive edge for students, the industrial engineering curriculum will adjust to be based around these new robotic additions. It will also prepare students for the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification by applying the “lean think model” to different job-related scenarios.
Logan Clarke, a freshman industrial engineering major, said it is really interesting that he gets first-hand experience with the type of robots that are revolutionizing the industrial world.
“The Industrial Engineering lab is a great and useful workspace for us, especially with there being so few of us,” Clarke said. “But we hope to get more and more to join us.”
Courses taught in the program consist of project components whose scope is tailored toward product/service design that focuses on more than just functionality, ergonomics and aesthetics, but the principles of Kansei engineering, Ohu said.
“This approach to design promotes deep intellectual discourse amongst students, leading to a better understanding of a course’s contents,” Ohu said.
Over spring break, high school students who were a part of the Go College program had the opportunity to view the laboratory. Students were allowed to use the robots and other equipment in the laboratory to single operations, Ohu said.
He said the students were also given insight to what the life of an engineering college student is like at Gannon, as well as the opportunities that are available to them after graduation.

BECKY HILKER
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