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21.05.2024 15:56

TUD researcher Prof. Roberto Calandra honored with the IEEE Early Academic Career Award in Robotics and Automation

Silvia Kapplusch Pressestelle
Technische Universität Dresden

    For his outstanding research contributions to the implementation of a sense of touch in robots, Prof. Roberto Calandra, who holds the Chair of Explainable Artificial Intelligence at Dresden University of Technology (TUD) and is a researcher at the Cluster of Excellence Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop (CeTI), received the IEEE Early Academic Career Award in Robotics and Automation on May 16, 2024.

    Calandra received the award at a ceremony during the annual IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation (ICRA 2024) in Yokohama. The award, which is endowed with 1,000 US dollars, a certificate and plaque, is sponsored by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) and the IEEE foundation.

    Roberto Calandra accepts the award for his "contributions to touch sensing, processing and its application to manipulation". The award recognizes the work he and his team have done in the field of touch sensing - from hardware design and software development to applications in the field of grasping.

    "I am honored to receive this award from the IEEE robotics community. As the sense of touch becomes increasingly important as a perceptual modality, we will continue to work on its democratization and numerous applications. Our team has achieved very good results on which we will build our further research", says Roberto Calandra about his success.

    Roberto Calandra has been researching and teaching robotics at TU Dresden since 2023. He is particularly interested in the question of how robots can become helpful companions in everyday life. Understanding the processing of tactile signals in robots is particularly important, as this is one way to improve the interaction between humans and machines. One of his core research areas, in collaboration with METRICS (Stanford University) and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT/UCC) Dresden, focuses on how the use of touch sensors can help in the early detection of cancer. The scientists are developing robotic hands that can use vision-based tactile sensors to sense perceptions such as material type, shape, density and surface texture and achieve the strength and spatial resolution of human fingertips.

    About the person:

    Calandra founded the Robotic Lab in Menlo Park (now part of Embodies AI) at Meta AI (formerly Facebook AI Research) and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley (US) in the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) Lab. His contributions include the development and commercialization of DIGIT - the first commercially available, high-resolution, compact tactile sensor most widely used in robotics. Prof. Calandra was program chair of AISTATS 2020, guest editor of the JMLR special issue on Bayesian optimization, and has co-organized over 16 international workshops to date (including at NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR, ICRA, IROS, RSS).

    Background: IEEE Early Academic Career Award

    The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) has been presenting the award since 1999 to recognize young academics who have made influential and impactful contributions to the field of robotics and automation. It recognizes outstanding professional achievements and service as well as educational contributions to robotics and automation.

    Any current member of the RAS who is in the early stages of their career in robotics and/or automation - i.e. less than seven years after the award of their doctorate - is eligible. In addition to Roberto Calandra, four other award winners were honored.

    Calandra from TUD thus joins the ranks of promising robotics researchers such as Pulkit Agrawal (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Josie Hughes (EPFL Switzerland), Lerrel Pinto (New York University, USA), Jiangfan Yu (University of Hong Kong, China), Cosimo Della Santina (TU Delft, Netherlands), Nikolay Atanasov (UC San Diego, USA) and Dorsa Sadigh (Stanford University, USA).

    Contact for journalists:
    Press Office TU Dresden
    Phone: +49 351 463-32398


    Prof. Roberto Calandra
    Prof. Roberto Calandra

    Ludwig Schmutzler

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