In this issue of EQuad News we highlight just a few examples of pathbreaking research in robotics.

An explosion of innovation in computing, hardware, and materials make this an exciting time for robotics, with a richness of interdisciplinary interactions and great potential to benefit society. As we make major investments in new faculty and new spaces, and build existing strengths across science and engineering, Princeton is emerging as a leading hub of innovation in robotics.

As the stories in this magazine illustrate, robotics research at Princeton spans the foundational mathematics behind machine learning and artificial intelligence to innovations in materials, hardware, and devices. Researchers are drawing on the collective behaviors of animals and even the performing arts to envision novel ways for teams of robots to work together, while thinking deeply about safety, security, privacy, fairness, and public policy related to robotics.

Robotics is just one area of growth at Princeton Engineering. A major focus during my first year as dean was to work with colleagues and leaders across the school and university to develop a compelling strategic plan for engineering. The plan calls for significant growth over the next decade in order to maximize Princeton’s impact in solving the most pressing societal challenges. In addition to departmental growth, we plan to expand in interdisciplinary areas such as robotics, bioengineering, data science, quantum computing, materials, along with energy and sustainability. These areas all build on each other, and also align with our vision to build industry partnerships and a culture of entrepreneurship to catalyze a regional tech hub with Princeton at its center.

Andrea Goldsmith
Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

In this issue

  • In picking up trash, robots pick up new approaches to work

  • Empowering young AI researchers, and advancing robots’ powers of perception

  • Four portraits

    New faculty bring wide-ranging expertise in robotics

  • Portrait

    Speeding decisions to ease automation

  • Portrait

    Boosting signals to boost robots’ performance

  • Computation and optics unite to sharpen robotic vision

  • Researcher manipulates material inside an industrial drill press

    Machine learning: In this lab, machines learn to make machines

  • Robot show from within an arch made of glass blocks

    Building bots could brave harsh environments, create new types of structures

  • Two students behind mesh curtain flow drone, which is in foreground

    Small, efficient sensors help drones fly in high winds

  • People fly a drone indoors behind a mesh wall

    Robotics lab opens for experimentation and collaboration

  • Woman and robots shown from above

    Equipping robot teams to move smoothly around people

  • Robot and man face each other

    To guarantee safety, these robots dance the bolero