James Mclurkin And His Robots Come To Kolkata

The U.S. Consulate Kolkata hosted scientist James McLurkin with his 12 robots for two days March 6-7 in Kolkata.  McLurkin is Assistant Professor at Rice University’s Computer Science Department.

In Kolkata, he conducted a special workshop cum presentation with a live robot demonstration for the city’s science enthusiasts, high school and college students at Birla Industrial & Technological Museum.

During his presentation James McLurkin spoke of distributed algorithms for multi-robot systems.  He sees multi-robot systems as the next frontier of robotics research because large populations of robots can solve many practical applications faster, cheaper, and in fundamentally different ways than humans.   Speaking of the Multi-Robot Systems Lab at Rice University, McLurkin elaborated on the opportunities and challenges presented by large populations of robots.  He offered an overview of his team’s work with multi-robot systems, including distributed algorithms for robot recovery, angular coordinate systems, and massive manipulation.  The idea of the “r-one” robot, an advanced low-cost design suitable for research, education, and outreach was also introduced in the presentation.  Aided by actual robots’ demonstration, the professor explained how the idea of the multi-robot ‘system’ is not new; ants and bees have been using this approach for 120 million years and we can learn much from them.

During his Kolkata trip McLurkin also visited the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur and interacted with professors and students of the Institute.