For this month’s Five Questions feature, we interviewed Dr. Jared Glover about his Fellowship experience! The ARM Institute Fellowship program supports the AIM Higher Defense Manufacturing Community, a wide-ranging program funded by the Department of Defense with the goal of strengthening the defense supply chain in the Greater Pittsburgh region of Southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The ARM Institute is currently accepting applications to be our next ARM Fellow until Friday, January 21, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
1. Jared, please tell us a bit about your background and your company, CapSen Robotics.
I got my start in robotics 20 years ago as an undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University when I wandered into Sebastian Thrun’s lab one summer and started working on applications for robots in nursing homes. These assistive applications are still very important to me because I have a sister and step-brother with complex disabilities, and so from an early age I understood that activities of daily living can be very challenging for both the person with disabilities and their caregivers. Once robots are capable enough, having an extra (robotic) hand to help out could be truly life-changing for many families like mine.
After focusing on machine learning for robot arms and 3D vision in my PhD at MIT with Leslie Kaelbling and Tomás Lozano-Pérez (who let me train one of their robot arms to play ping pong, among other things), I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2014 to start CapSen Robotics. At CapSen Robotics, we provide software and systems to give robots advanced spatial intelligence (3D vision and motion planning) for manipulation tasks in factories and warehouses. Our core product, CapSen PiC, was developed to enable robot arms to handle objects of a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and orientations – even when they are small, flat, shiny, or entangled – as is often the case in automotive and other metal part manufacturing processes. CapSen PiC enables robots to perform highly complex packaging, machine tending, assembly, and fulfillment tasks that go far beyond pick and place.
Although as a company we are currently laser-focused on industrial applications in manufacturing and logistics, part of my passion for solving problems at the cutting-edge of robotic manipulation (such as disentangling hooks), is so that we can help advance robotic manipulation skills to the point where robots are capable enough to perform truly intelligent tasks for people who need assistance.
2. Why did you decide to apply for the ARM Fellowship program?
When the ARM Fellowship program was announced, I was very excited because it will help small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) gain a competitive advantage through advanced robotics. The ARM Institute has also been a great resource in helping CapSen connect with large potential customers and partners and in funding R&D projects such as our current projects in medical logistics, hardware manufacturing, and warehouse automation.
3. Please describe your Fellows project.
Our goal in this Fellows project “Autonomous Robot Workspace Modeling with an Arm-Mounted 3D Camera” is to address some of the underlying causes for slow adoption of advanced robotics among SMMs. This, in addition to our newly-developed user interface, will enable our customers to lower the cost (and time) of robot integration and make it easier for them to deploy robots in high-mix, low-volume applications and to move the robot around to new work-cell locations in a factory.
4. What has been your experience to date with the Fellowship?
Working with the team members at the ARM Institute is always a pleasure. They are very supportive and always do their best to minimize the administrative burden in their projects with streamlined application and reporting processes. They are also a fantastic marketing partner!
5. The ARM Institute has a current opening for another Fellowship project. Why should someone (who meets the criteria) consider applying for it?
The ARM Fellowship is a hassle-free funding source that can also provide a great channel to connect with customers and partners both during the project and after the R&D is completed. The ARM Institute is also a highly-respected organization in the robotics research community and having the “ARM Fellow” title attached to your name is a prestigious honor and recognition.
The ARM Institute is accepting applications for our next round of ARM Fellows until Friday, January 21, 2022. This opportunity is open to both members and non-members. The ARM Institute Fellowship Program is in support of the AIM Higher Consortium and, as such, is a regional opportunity open to individuals in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region and West Virginia. The ARM Institute will award up to $60,000 per fellow.
ARM Institute Fellows receive:
- Up to $60,000 in funding
- A one year Silver-Level ARM Membership (if not already a member) with access to all ARM Project consortium developed intellectual property (CDIP) as an ARM Member
- Opportunities to brief their project progress and goals to a wide audience of ARM Membership, AIM Higher Consortium Partners, and DoD partners.
- Access to manufacturing, robotics, & AI expertise through the ARM Membership network (if not already a member)
- Access to a robotic work cell and administrative space at the ARM Institute’s Mill 19 A headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood, more specifically: 12’ x 12’ minimum floor space, 120v/208v/480v service, service air, service water, potential robotic arms