Employee Spotlight - Lisa
What project(s) are you currently working on, and what do you find interesting or exciting about this project and/or its resulting technology?
I'm excited about the Modular Intuitive Robotic System (MIRS), which includes the Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) and Imitative Controller (IC). It's the first fully integrated vehicle and manipulation system I've been able to work on, and it has been really great to get it into user hands and get feedback on how it behaves in real-world scenarios, not just what it can do on the bench.
What do you enjoy most about working at RE2?
Writing software and making robots come to life. Taking them from hardware sitting on a bench to something that people can use to do something and interact with the world.
If you could switch jobs with anyone else at RE2 for one day, whose job would you want and why?
I would want to switch with the head of Engineering. He has the ability to go to anyone and ask what they're working on, and get a detailed answer. RE2 does so many interesting things; it would be fascinating to be able to get a detailed explanation of what's going on with all of the different projects.
Where did you go to school/receive your training and what was your major? Which course was most relevant to your work at RE2?
I have a B.S. in Computer Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. While I was going to school, I worked for the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Most of the experience I needed for RE2 was from the time while I was at the Robotics Institute.
What task(s)would you most like to see a robotic arm perform?
I want to see robotic arms semi-autonomously pull the wires from an improvised explosive device. The operator should select which two pieces should be pulled apart, and the arms should do the final alignment and grasping themselves.
What is your favorite robot (real or fictional)?
My washing machine. I'm of the opinion that any machine that can sense something and take action should be considered a robot, and my washing machine is great at wringing the clothes until they're the right amount of clean and damp.
What do you enjoy about living in Pittsburgh?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I am incredibly fortunate that I can live in my hometown with my huge extended family and still work in one of the world's leading technology hubs.
What other jobs have you held?
Paper girl. Delivering phonebooks. The kitchen at Burger King. Professionally assembling workbenches. In a factory assembling medical injectors. Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University.
When you're not working on robots, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Reading science fiction and knitting.
Where do you see robotics going in the next 25 years?
Everywhere. Home health care. Self-driving cars. Drones with arms. Rovers on the moon and other planets.
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