Faculty News

Video series featuring U-M Robotics up for Webby Award

Michigan Robotics and its bipedal robot research are featured in a video series that’s up for a Webby Award, the internet’s version of the Oscars.

 

The “Dear Future” documentary series on Motherboard, an online magazine and video channel that covers technology and science, focuses on people working on the next scientific breakthroughs that will help humanity.

 

You can vote on the People’s Voice portion of the award until April 19.

 

Being part of a Webby-nominated series is gratifying, but it was the chance to showcase the potential human benefits of bipedal robotics research to a large audience that appealed to Jessy Grizzle, director of U-M Robotics. The episode focuses on both U-M and Agility Robotics, an Oregon startup that creates bipedal robots. Grizzle has worked with Agility cofounder Jonathan Hurst in the past.

“What I appreciated was that the producers really worked to understand the ‘why,’” said Grizzle, the Elmer G. Gilbert Distinguished University Professor and the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering. “It’s really easy to look at these robots as gadgets and not think about the mystery under the hood that makes them operate well — the mathematics, physics, and engineering that allow you to design these amazing machines and have them do things that are useful for humans.”

 

As part of its public outreach efforts, U-M Robotics always strives to make its ideas accessible to a wide audience. “People react to these machines in surprising ways, and my students and I have a blast giving tours of our lab and sharing our work,” said Grizzle.

 

Learn more about Michigan Robotics

 

— Terry Kosdrosky, communications manager for public engagement