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Photo of Robert Radwin
August 20, 2020

Radwin to lead study exploring human-robot collaboration in manufacturing

Written By: Tom Ziemer

Robert Radwin, the College of Engineering Duane H. and Dorothy M. Bluemke Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, will lead a new research project to bolster human and robot collaborations in the manufacturing sector.

The research, a collaboration with colleagues across the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, is funded through a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Radwin, the project’s principal investigator, will work with co-principal investigators Jingshan Li, professor of industrial and systems engineering; Bilge Mutlu, associate professor of computer sciences and an affiliate faculty member in ISyE; Lindsay Jacobs, an assistant professor of public affairs; and Timothy Smeeding, the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics.

The researchers plan to analyze manufacturing jobs and then create a “matchmaking” computational framework to identify specific tasks where collaborative, intelligent robotic assistants could boost productivity and worker health and safety. They say rather than replacing human workers through automation, robotic assistants can enhance jobs, improve processes, protect workers from some of the physical strain from manual tasks, and create additional job possibilities for individuals with disabilities and older workers.

Radwin, who is also a Discovery Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on the UW-Madison campus, studies occupational ergonomics and biomechanics.