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ASU Robotics | Southwest Robotics Symposium 2020

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Vijay Kumar

VIJAY KUMAR is the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelors of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania since1987.

In addition to holding many administrative positions at Penn, Kumar has served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2012 – 2013).  His lab has founded many startups in robotics, and he is the founder of Exyn Technologies. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013 and the American Philosophical Society in 2018.


Dr. Masayoshi Tomizuka

Masayoshi Tomizuka received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University, Tokyo, Japan and his Ph. D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in February 1974.  In 1974, he joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, where he currently holds the Cheryl and John Neerhout, Jr., Distinguished Professorship Chair.  His current research interests are optimal and adaptive control, digital control, motion control, and their applications to robotics and vehicles.  He served as Program Director of the Dynamic Systems and Control Program of the Civil and Mechanical Systems Division of NSF (2002-2004). He served as Technical Editor of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, J-DSMC (1988-93) and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (1997-99).  He is a Life Fellow of the ASME and IEEE, and a Fellow of International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Session Speakers

Dr. Larry L. Howell

Larry L Howell is a Professor and an Associate Academic Vice President at Brigham Young University (BYU). He received his B.S. from BYU and M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Prior to joining BYU he was a finite element analysis consultant for Engineering Methods, and an engineer on the YF-22 (the prototype for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor). He is a Fellow of ASME, past chair of the ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Committee, and has been associate editor for the Journal of Mechanisms & Robotics and the Journal of Mechanical Design. He is the recipient of the ASME Machine Design Award, ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Award, Theodore von Kármán Fellowship, NSF Career Award, Purdue Outstanding Mechanical Engineer (alumni award), and the BYU Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Lecturer Award (BYU’s highest faculty award).  Prof. Howell’s research focuses on compliant mechanisms, including origami-inspired mechanisms, space mechanisms, and medical devices. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Compliant Mechanisms and the author of Compliant Mechanisms which are published in English and Chinese. His lab’s work has also been reported in popular venues such as NewsweekScientific AmericanThe Economist, Smithsonian Magazine, and the PBS documentary program NOVA.

Dr. Venkat N. Krovi

Prof. Venkat N. Krovi (FASME, SM IEEE)  is currently the Michelin Endowed SmartState Chair Professor of Vehicle Automation at Clemson University – International Center for Automotive Research. His research focuses on intelligent modulation of distributed physical-power-interactions (motions/forces) between humans and autonomous-systems to unlock the “power of the many”. Research activities focus on the life-cycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation and verification) of a new generation of systems for realizing Human-Autonomy synergy with applications in vehicle automation, plant-automation, and defense arenas. He currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics and was the Founding EiC of the SAE Journal of Connected and Automated Vehicles. He has also taken significant leadership roles within multiple professional societies (ASME, IEEE) and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. Further details are available from

Dr. Gary McMurray

Gary McMurray is a Principal Research Engineer and Division Chief for the Food Processing Technology Division at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is also an Associate Director for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) at Georgia Tech. IRIM serves as an umbrella under which robotics researchers, educators, and students from across campus can come together to advance the many high-powered and diverse robotics activities at Georgia Tech. The Food Processing Technology Division conducts innovative research in sensors for food quality and food safety, robotics, and water/energy sustainability for the poultry and broader agricultural industries. Mr. McMurray’s research has focused on the development of robotic technologies and solutions for the manufacturing and agribusiness communities, including the protein and the fruit and vegetable industries. He is an expert in visual servoing – the use of vision for the real-time control of robotics, and the author of over 50-refereed technical papers and journal publications in robotics.

Mr. McMurray serves on the advisory board for Advanced Animal Systems for the Foundation of Food and Agricultural Research. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Robotics Industry Association.

Dr. Amy Tabb

Amy Tabb holds degrees from Sweet Briar College (B.A. Math/Computer Science and Music), Duke University (M.A. Musicology), and Purdue University (M.S. and Ph.D. Electrical and Computer Engineering) and is a Research Agricultural Engineer at a US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service laboratory in Kearneysville, West

There, she has been engaged in creating systems for automation in the tree fruit industry.

Her research interests are within the fields of computer vision and robotics, in particular robust three-dimensional reconstruction and perception in outdoor conditions.

Dr. Steven J. Thomson

Dr. Steven J. Thomson is Acting Division Director and National Program Leader with the USDA National Institute Food and Agriculture (NIFA). He leads the Agricultural Systems Division and engages Universities, other federal agencies, and industry to provide national leadership in Capacity and Competitive Grant programs. Research, Education, and Outreach programs he leads that focus on engineering processes to improve systems relevant to agriculture include Engineering for Agricultural Production Systems, BioEngineering, Robotics (NSF collaborative), and Cyber-physical Systems (NSF collaborative). Dr. Thomson has research background in statistics, aerial application of crop protection materials, irrigation management, water balance and crop modeling, decision support systems, sensing systems and electronics, remote sensing, unmanned aerial systems, precision agriculture, and agricultural safety. As faculty member at Virginia Tech, he received the Alpha Epsilon Award for his Research and Extension program and was Research Lead Scientist with the USDA ARS before joining USDA-NIFA.

Dr. Duke Pauli

My name is Duke Pauli and I am an assistant professor in the School of Plant Sciences here at the University of Arizona. I was born and raised in Montana where I earned my PhD in Plant Sciences from Montana State University in 2014. My graduate research focused on the application and integration of genomic technologies to the breeding of improved malting barley varieties for the state’s growers. Upon completion of my PhD, I moved to Ithaca, New York where I was a Cotton Incorporated Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Dr. Michael Gore at Cornell University. There, my research focused on using high-throughput phenotyping (phenomics) to reveal the genetic basis of stress adaptive traits in cotton as well as how phenomics could be more broadly applied to crop improvement. Since starting my faculty position here at UA in 2018, I have been focused on developing a research program centered on understanding the genetic basis of stress adaptive traits in crop plants through various mechanisms including phenomics, field-based physiology, and quantitative approaches such as models. Broadly, I am interested in all aspects of agriculture from the historical perspective to the actual agronomic practices.

Dr. Daniel Aukes

Daniel M. Aukes is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, and is the Principal Investigator of the IDEAlab.  His research investigates the nexus of design, manufacturing, and data-driven decision-making towards the development of robots that can operate in niche environments, with a focus on affordability and accessibility.  He is a former Technology Development Fellow at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and completed post-doctoral research in the Harvard MicroRobotics Lab with Rob Wood, developing manufacturing planning software for origami-inspired robots.  Dr. Aukes received his PhD and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, studying the design of underactuated robotics hands under Mark Cutkosky.  He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.  Dr. Aukes’s industry experiences have focused on manufacturing automation across a wide range of industries including automotive, pharmaceutical, and food-processing.

Dr. Joseph Desimione

Joe is one of only roughly 20 individuals who have been elected to all three branches of the U.S. National Academies: the National Academy of Medicine (2014), the National Academy of Sciences (2012) and the National Academy of Engineering (2005). During his career he has received over 50 major awards and recognitions, including the 2018 National Academy of Sciences Award for Convergent Science; the 2017 $250,000 Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment; the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, awarded by President Barack Obama in 2016; the inaugural $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine; 2015 Dickson Prize from Carnegie Mellon University; 2014 Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success from the ACS; the 2010 AAAS Mentor Award in recognition of his efforts to advance diversity in the chemistry PhD workforce; the 2007 Collaboration Success Award from the Council for Chemical Research; and the 2002 Engineering Excellence Award by DuPont.

Joe co-founded Carbon in 2013. Under his direction, Carbon is marrying the intricacies of molecular science with hardware and software technologies to advance the 3D printing industry beyond basic prototyping to 3D manufacturing. Throughout his career, Joe has published over 350 scientific articles and has nearly 200 issued patents in his name-with more than an additional 200 patents pending. Joe also previously co-founded several companies including Micell Technologies, Bioabsorbable Vascular Solutions, and Liquidia Technologies.