UTA Opens New Robotics Laboratory

UTA Research Institute creates assistive robotics laboratory

The University of Texas at Arlington's Research Institute in Fort Worth is adding a new lab to help find innovations for the future.

The lab's goal is to advance robotics in health care, for first responders and in other uses.

"We have a lot of great ideas," Christopher McMurrough said. "We're really excited about working on them, but sometimes cost is a big deal."

The lab is launching with help from the private sector. It received a $100,000 donation and two high-tech robots during Monday's opening ceremony.

The gifts mark an investment of more than $1 million to the institute.

One of the robots is a nurse's assistant with an arm strong enough to help patients sit up or move them to a gurney. The other, "the dragonrunner," is a ground robot used overseas to detect improvised explosive devices.

"We're going to continue to refine the products so we can make the product more capable but, at the same time, more affordable," said Lt. Gen Rick Lynch, the executive director of the UTA Research Institute.

Researchers at the lab are also working on eye-tracking technology that converts what people's pupils see into a 3-D image on a computer in real-time.

"This type of equipment, it really allows to us to run wilds with our ideas," McMurrough said.

Another of the institute's many projects is the Kuka robot. It may be small, but it could one day be a big help around the house, cleaning and helping out in the kitchen.

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