NIOSH Robotics Joining More Partnerships

The NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research has partnerships in placed with the Robotic Industries Association, Ohio State University, and North Carolina State University ISE. It will partner with the National Science Foundation a year from now, said Chuck Geraci, Ph.D., CIH, FAIHA, who is NIOSH's associate director for emerging technologies.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Speaking May 21 at the AIHce EXP 2019 conference and expo on the state of robotics research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Chuck Geraci mentioned several partnerships that the NIOSH Center for Occupational Robotics Research has joined. NIOSH announced one of them the previous day, a partnership with the North Carolina State University Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering. Their five-year agreement aims to facilitate collaborative research and provide educational opportunities for NC State students.

The NIOSH center has partnerships in placed with the Robotic Industries Association and with Ohio State University, and it will partner with the National Science Foundation a year from now, said Geraci, Ph.D., CIH, FAIHA, who is NIOSH's associate director for emerging technologies.

Geraci cited "tremendous potential around the world for robotics," explaining that the term encompasses traditional and collaborative robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, and even exoskeletons worn by workers. Concerns he cited that arise from employing robotics include worker injuries, the potential for technological advances to outstrip the pace of standard, and worker displacement, while the technologies will bring benefits, as well, such as expanding the amount of dangerous work done robotically.

Research work is needed to research better contact avoidance systems and to understand whether drones can be used safety in construction in close proximity to workers at heights, he said.

NIOSH launched the center in September 2017. Its partnership with NC State will encompass collaborative research through the use of complementary labs, guest research appointments, and co-authored publications.

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