As one of the first PhD students in IRG, Pem Lasota pioneered core techniques for safe close-proximity human-robot collaboration. Upon his graduation and in recognition of his contributions to the lab, IRG decided to replace him with a robot. Hence, this Franka Emika Panda is affectionately known as "Pembot." Today, Pembot lives in the very same spot where Pem used to work. From its perch on a custom-designed tabletop workspace, Pembot is currently used in multiple projects, primarily focusing on flexible realtime close-proximity human-robot collaboration. Key technical capabilities include synchronization and anticipation of repetitive tasks to support greater efficiency and safety in manufacturing operations.


The UR5e is a multipurpose industrial collaborative robot, or cobot, developed by Universal Robots. Combining the reliability of industrial robots with the safety and extensibility required for human-robot collaboration, the ur5 can be designed to easily fit a variety of applications, from welding to palletizing and pick-and-place. This 6 DOF robot can handle payloads of up to 5kg with a reach of 850mm, it also has incorporated force-torque sensors and the ability to accomodate a variety of end effectors (grippers), making it an ideal research platform.

Our UR5e, which we named “Latte,” is being used in several projects focusing on human-robot collaboration, specifically teaching through hands-on demonstration. Latte's twin UR5e, "Mocha," is currently deployed in an interactive robotics exhibit at Mass MoCA in the Berkshires.


The Spot robot we call "Chase" (or "Sir Stomps-A-Lot", if you're friendly) is a four-legged mobile robot with attached 6 DOF arm and gripper. You've probably seen it's siblings dancing on YouTube, but Chase prefers to keep it serious.

This agile mobile robot was developed by Boston Dynamics for dynamic sensing and industrial inspection. In our research, we introduce human collaboration to these domains by enhancing the teleoperation interface and adding dynamic supervisory control through augmented reality.

Mr. Beans Jr

The attentive reader may be wondering: what happened to Mr. Beans Senior? For many years, he was a strong pro-motor of hard work even in the face of backlash. Inevitably, Mr. Beans retired to a farm upstate… In Germany.

Mr. Beans Jr. arrived soon after armed with next-generation technology, having graduated with full honors from the prestigious Max Franck Institute. Like Senior, Jr. enjoys the finer things in life, including coffee, lab lunches, and executing dynamical-system-based multimodal control trajectories on high-dimensional manifolds. To be Franka with you, Mr. Beans Jr. had a bit of a rocky start and spent all of his time Pandaring to the other robots instead of working with lab members. However, many power cycles later, he’s since embraced the daily grind.


MITsThavishi, the MELFA ASSISTA by Mitsubishi Electric, is a collaborative robot designed to seamlessly coexist with humans in shared workspaces. Its simplicity, user-friendliness, and adaptability redefine traditional notions of robotics. With intuitive control, programming, and connectivity features, operators can effortlessly engage with this robot for diverse tasks with ease and efficiency.

Named after its close companion in our lab, Thavishi Illandara, a Ph.D. candidate, this robot empowers human collaborators to utilize innovative multimodal interfaces like Kinect, HoloLens, and Xsens motion capture, enabling seamless teaching with flexible conditions in factory automation.

Alumni Robots

RobAtWork 3

RobAtWork 3 (or Robbie as fondly known in our group) is an omni-directional mobile base capable of carrying loads for a long operating time. A research platform developed by Fraunhofer IPA, Robbie thinks in ROS (Robot Operating System), allowing us to add multifarious capabilities to it's repertoire. Specifically designed to provide assistance in production environments, at IRG Robbie demonstrates algorithms developed as part of the Mobile Robotic Assistant research effort.

Robotina (PR2)

Robotina is a PR2 Robot developed by Willow Garage and programmable using ROS. Robotina can perform manipulation and navigation in human environments thanks to its 7DOF arms, grippers, mobile base, compliant actuators and friendly appearance. The kinematics and dynamics of Robotina is very convenient to emulate human motion, as well as to perform human-robot collaborative tasks in everyday settings. Either in simulation or in reality, Robotina can sense the world through stereo cameras, a kinect sensor, laser scanners, IMUs and force sensors. Check out our research page to see Robotina in action!


The IRB 120 is the smallest multipurpose industrial robot developed by ABB . Combining the reliability of large industrial robots with the small form factor, the IRB 120 is a perfect robot for HRI research. This 6 DOF robot can handle payloads of up to 3kg with a reach of 580mm. Our IRB 120, which we named “Abbie,” is being used in several projects which fall under the “Fluid Coordination of Human-Robot Teams” category. For details about how we use Abbie in these projects, check out our research page!

KUKA youBots

KUKA’s youBot is the companies first mobile manipulator designed for education and research. KUKA youBots can be programmed in ROS (Robot Operating System) or through open source code. The manipulator has five degrees of freedom and a two-finger gripper. The platform is omni-directional, has an onboard PC running Linux, and runs off of batteries or off board power. We have used the robots to showcase our work on multi-agent scheduling.


Optimus' is a next generation bomb disposal robot, a 16-DOF dual-arm highly dexterous mobile manipulator that integrates a Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) by RE2, a Husky UGV by Clearpath, 3-finger grippers by Robotiq and a Multisense SL by Carnegie Robotics. Optimus' can be remotely controlled by a human operator to execute complex manipulation tasks and is being used in our supervised teleautonomy project.