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Robotics Academy among top finalists for prestigious innovation award

Robotics Academy among top finalists for prestigious innovation award

May 6, 2020 at 11:02am

Future jobs in architecture, engineering and construction are going to look quite different than they do today.

These industries will rely heavily on automation and robotics, and FIU’s Robotics Academy is at the forefront of preparing their workforce.

For its efforts in this area, the academy has been named one of 40 finalists nationwide for a prestigious Igniting Innovation Award from the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC).

arcimage.jpgThe Robotics Academy, powered by a $1M National Science Foundation grant, offers training focused on robotics and automation technologies using artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technologies (virtual and mixed reality) and big data analytics.

Researchers from the College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts (CARTA) and the College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) collaborated to launch the academy to create personalized experiences to train and support building industry workers, professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, educators and policymakers.

The Robotics Academy consists of immersive learning, an innovation network and an automation marketplace. It makes use of the resources housed in the Robotics and Digital Fabrication Lab, a joint effort of CARTA and CEC created via funding from FIU's Technology Fee program.

“The Robotics Academy is bridging the gap between rapid advances in science and technology and their direct applications to practice for training,” said Shahin Vassigh, project principal investigator, and professor and director of technology research development in CARTA. shahin.jpg

The Robotics Academy, described as the only training, education, research and innovation platform of its kind, advances the development and practical use of intelligent training systems. Users engage in high-end visualizations, interact with 3D spaces with haptic sensing and then receive feedback on these interactions.

“We’re pleased to see two academic institutions included in this year’s finalists,” said Elizabeth Bejar, senior vice president of academic and student affairs at FIU and this year’s academic co-chair of the event.

This year’s top 40 finalists were selected from 140 nominations across government industries. Submissions focused on IT modernization, data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, cybersecurity, mobility and blockchain. The finalists’ innovations support health care, defense, public safety, the census, aviation, finance and grants management, acquisition and workforce management and training programs.


“Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world across all industries, and the architecture, engineering and construction industry is no exception,” said Miguel Alonso Jr., senior investigator, AI/machine learning/software team lead and visiting associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences. “The Robotics Academy is harnessing that revolution and integrating it throughout the platform to create customized, adaptive and immersive learning experiences, powering search and intelligently connecting job seekers with employers.”

Finalists will display their innovations at the Igniting Innovation 2020 Conference and Awards event on Aug. 3 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C. hotel. Attendees will vote to select the Top 8 “best-of-the-best” innovations and the overall Igniting Innovation Award winner.

The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) is a nonprofit educational organization established to improve government's service delivery and operational performance through the effective and innovative application of technology.

ACT-IAC provides a unique, objective and trusted collaborative forum where government and industry executives are working as partners to address critical issues, apply best practices and pioneer innovative solutions. ACT-IAC also provides high-quality learning and educational opportunities to improve the knowledge and expertise of the government workforce.