Robotics History: Narratives and Networks Oral Histories: Chris Atkeson

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Chris Atkeson was born in 1959 in Washington D.C. and attended Harvard University for his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, studying Biochemistry and Applied Mathematics, respectively. From Harvard, Atkeson went on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received his Doctorate Degree in Brain and Cognitive Science. During his time as a graduate student, Atkeson became interested in robotics, believing that robots can be used to help understand the brain better. This eventually evolved to his interest on building a humanoid robot that can behave exactly like a human being. Building on this interest, Atkeson also became interested in the field of Intelligent Environment, building an area that perceive human activity and is able to recognize what the humans are doing. Through this, Atkeson not only hopes that robots will have a social value for humans but also to build humanoid robots that can interact with humans the way humans can with other humans.

Currently, Atkeson is a Professor at the Robotics Institute and Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Previously, he held positions at MIT and Georgia Tech (GT). In this interview, Atkeson talks about his research projects, how he became involved with robotics, his collaboration with international partners, and mentoring students. Atkeson concludes this interview by giving advice not only for students interested in the robotics field but also for other students who are still deciding their future.

  • Published on
  • January 16, 2020

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