Carnegie Mellon University
Illah R. Nourbakhsh is Professor of Robotics, director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) lab and head of the Robotics Masters Program in The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research projects explore community-based robotics, including educational and social robotics and ways to use robotic technology to empower individuals and communities. He is co-principal investigator of the Global Connection Project, a joint initiative of Carnegie Mellon, NASA, the National Geographic Society and Google Inc. that developed the gigapixel imaging technology known as GigaPan. He is leading projects to apply GigaPan technology to scientific and educational efforts and to use GigaPan to help students communicate with peers internationally. Recent CREATE Lab projects include ChargeCar, a community-based effort to convert gas cars into electric commuter vehicles; HearMe, a project that uses technology to help children communicate their ideas and experiences; and Robot250, a 2008 project to teach Pittsburgh-area citizens how to design and build robots to address community concerns or express ideas. Other major projects include messaging systems for child car centers to improve home-school consistency; the Robot Diaries program for creative art and robotics fusion in middle schools; the Finch programmable mobile robot, and community-empowering air and water quality sensors. His past research has included protein structure prediction under the GENOME project, software reuse, interleaving planning and execution and planning and scheduling algorithms, as well as mobile robot navigation. While on leave from Carnegie Mellon in 2004, he served as Robotics Group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center. He was a founder and chief scientist of Blue Pumpkin Software, Inc., which was acquired by Witness Systems, Inc. Nourbakhsh earned his bachelor.s, master.s and PhD in computer science at Stanford University and has been a faculty member of Carnegie Mellon since 1997. The National Academy of Sciences in 2009 named him a Kavli Fellow. He is co-author of the second edition an MIT Press textbook, Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots. He is author of the forthcoming MIT Press book for general readership, Robot Futures.