From Mainframes to PCs: What Robot Startups Can Learn From the Computer Revolution

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. Autonomous robots are coming around slowly. We already got autonomous vacuum cleaners, autonomous lawn mowers, toys that bleep and blink, and (maybe) soon autonomous cars. Yet, generation after generation, we keep waiting for the robots that we all know from movies and TV shows. Instead, businesses seem to get farther and farther away from the robots that are able to do a large variety of tasks using general-purpose, human anatomy-inspired hardware. Although these are the droids we have been looking for, anything that came close, such as Willow Garage’s PR2 or Rethink Robotics’ Baxter has bitten the dust. With building a robotic company being particularly hard, compounding business risk with technological risk, the trend goes from selling robots to selling actual services like mowing your lawn, provide taxi Continue reading From Mainframes to PCs: What Robot Startups Can Learn From the Computer Revolution

Meet the 2019-20 MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars

Founded in 1990, the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Visiting Professors and Scholars Program honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King by increasing the presence of, and recognizing the contributions of, underrepresented minority scholars at MIT. MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars enhance their scholarship through intellectual engagement with the MIT community and enrich the cultural, academic, and professional experience of students. The program hosts between four and eight scholars each year with financial and institutional support from the Office of the Provost and oversight from the Institute Community and Equity Office. Six scholars are visiting MIT this academic year as part of the program. Kasso Okoudjou is returning for a second year as an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Originally from Benin, he moved to the United States in 1998 and earned a PhD in mathematics from Georgia Tech. Okoudjou joins MIT from the University of Continue reading Meet the 2019-20 MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars