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UT Arlington Research Institute kicks off assisted living apartment on one-year anniversary

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

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Media Contact: Herb Booth, Office:817-272-7075, Cell:214-546-1082, hbooth@uta.edu

News Topics: manufacturing, research, robotics

The University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute celebrated its first year Friday, June 28, by officially launching an assistive living laboratory in which researchers will work with robots to help people live independently longer.

The institute also toasted its partnerships with business and industry.

In its first year, the Research Institute has generated about $4 million in research expenditures, forged new partnerships with industry leaders in robotics, biomedical and advanced manufacturing and expanded its staff to a total of 50 engineers, scientists and support staff.

Last year, the Research Institute received two key donations of robots from industry leaders RE2 and QinetiQ North America to support the Assistive Robotics Lab. In addition, the institute purchased a PR2 robot from California robot hardware and software firm Willow Garage to further research assistive robotics.

Rick Lynch

Rick Lynch

“We are becoming the destination companies can rely on for enhancing product development in the field of assistive robotics,” said Rick Lynch, a retired Army lieutenant general who is executive director of the UT Arlington Research Institute. “Our team of researchers is partnering with corporate and industry leaders to help robots become part of our everyday lives and to aid us in our homes and businesses.”

Lynch said the new laboratory will offer researchers the opportunity to explore the capabilities of a variety of robots, to customize programming and make them easier to use and more valuable for a variety of uses.

The Research Institute’s robotics team also works with an industrial robot manufactured by the KUKA Robot Group based in Augsburg, Germany; a seeing-eye dog robot; Zeno, a humanoid robot from Hanson Robotics Inc.; and several other robots.

The institute also owns a number of high-tech instruments and processes that are available to industry partners to augment individual business research efforts. Those devices include a state-of-the-art 3D printer; nano- and micro-grappling apparatus; a die attachment system used to make integrated chips; and a metal deposition evaporator that helps build metal and dielectric thin films.

“We believe these and other high-tech tools and knowledge at our disposal enable the institute to fill a needed gap for business and industry,” Lynch said. “We can do preliminary testing and prototyping faster and cheaper than they can because we have these tools readily available. Businesses don’t have to invest in the equipment or the training to hire the technicians to do the work.”

Lynch has invited business partners to use the UT Arlington Research Institute as a testing center for their own advanced manufacturing and advanced technology.

“We want to be the commercialization stop for business and industry,” Lynch said. “We are quickly becoming part of a firm’s path to commercialization of specific technologies or processes.”

About the UT Arlington Research Institute

The UT Arlington Research Institute, based in Fort Worth’s Riverbend Business Park, specializes in advanced manufacturing, applied robotics, medical technologies and technology focused on energy, water and the environment. The institute is dedicated to the development of advanced technology to help humanity and to provide unique, affordable solutions to complex problems. Visit www.uta.edu/utari/ for more information.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of about 33,800 students in the heart of North Texas and the second-largest member of The University of Texas System. Research activity has more than tripled over the past decade to $71.4 million last year with an emphasis on bioengineering, medical diagnostics, micro manufacturing and defense and Homeland Security technologies, among other areas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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