“Human-centered Robotics for Manufacturing Systems”

Science Building, Room 607-608, Byblos campus

The lecture will be given by Roland Menassa, Ph.D., from the Research & Development & Planning Center in the Manufacturing Systems Research Lab at General Motors Corporation, in Warren, Michigan.

In the 21st century, the manufacturing of complex products with multiple subcomponents, such as automobiles, will still require a significant involvement of direct human labor — readily recognized by all national economies as a great opportunity for wealth generation. Historically, assembly technologies have focused either on developing new tools, e.g. lift assist devices, that are typically limited to amplifying human effort, or on automation which replaces human effort altogether. Both approaches impose design constraints on manufacturing operations and are often associated with assembly methods that lack flexibility and adaptability. This presentation will introduce an emerging field of human-centered robotics for manufacturing systems, which relies on the use of dexterous and autonomous robotic assistants that can collaborate directly with human operators in assembly tasks. The advances required for these robots to become reality are beginning to take shape in several research laboratories around the world, and their impact will be felt in a wide range of industries and applications.

An advanced robotics strategy will be presented that looks at the near-mid and long-term technology areas to meet the vision that one day “Humans and Robots work in harmony on the plant floor.” A qualitative framework based on four intellectual goals will be described that focuses on Object Identification, Language Understanding, Dexterity, and Social Understanding. In this context, a special presentation on the work between GM and NASA will be presented highlighting the Robonaut project.

Short biography of the lecturer:
Dr. Roland Menassa is a Research Technical Fellow and a Lab Group Manager in the Manufacturing Systems Research Lab at General Motors. Currently Dr. Menassa is leading the development of Robonaut in collaboration with NASA as well as he manages several global research groups engaged in developing advanced robotics, and flexible tooling concepts for vehicle assembly with a specific focus on autonomous and dexterous robotics for human augmentation. He is currently a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Dr. Menassa received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in New York. Following his graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he received an M.S. and a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering, he joined General Motors in 1989 and held various positions from research to development to engineering execution and to plant floor operations.

Event organizer: LAU’s School of Engineering