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New robotics center at UofL creates robots for healthcare research

Robots are about to invade Louisville, starting with UofL's JB Speed School.
Robots are about to invade Louisville, starting with UofL's JB Speed School.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 12:45 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 at 4:49 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute opened Monday in the J.B. Speed School Innovation Center on Arthur Street.

Researchers inside LARRI said the new facility is about helping and assisting.

They walk, talk, listen and essentially do many things we can do. The majority of the robots at LARRI are focused on human-robot interaction and healthcare.

Alexander Curry is one of the 50 student researchers who will investigate in the new 10,000-square-foot building. He said the bigger space will allow for more robot capabilities.

“The whole reason I wanted to become an engineer is because in my view, engineering can have a very large impact to change the world,” he said. “There’s a lot of majors you can do to help people. You can become a nurse and help people that way. But engineering can have a very broad impact.”

Curry said he sees the impact around growing at LARRI with human-like robots Zeno, Milo and Nao. They treat cognitive impairments in children on the autism spectrum. Some are already working at Norton Children’s Autism Center. There are also robots that act as an automated nursing assistant, social robots, and robots like PKD, who can talk with you, as well as a specialized chair to improve function in children with spinal cord injuries.

For the researchers and students, the ideas start small, but they grow into a larger impact.

LARRI is the only robotics research center in Kentucky. The students and researchers are working to create solutions in manufacturing, logistics and healthcare.

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