University’s Rory Cooper Receives Robotics Industry’s Highest Award

Issue Date: 
June 16, 2014

University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Professor Rory Cooper has been awarded the Engelberger Robotics Award, the robotics industry’s highest honor.

Cooper, FISA/Paralyzed Veterans of America Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor within Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received the 2014 Engelberger Award for Application of robotic technology on June 2 in Munich, Germany, during a ceremony held in conjunction with the 45th International Symposium on Robotics and the 8th German Conference on Robotics.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and humbling experience,” Cooper said. “I am very pleased to have assistive- and personal-robotic applications recognized. People with disabilities and older adults could make great gains in independence and self-direction through robotics.”

The Engelberger Awards are given to individuals for excellence in technology development, application, education, and leadership in the robotics industry. Each winner receives a $5,000 honorarium and commemorative medallion with the inscription, “Contributing to the advancement of the science of robotics in the service of mankind.”

The awards are named after Joseph F. Engelberger, who is considered the father of the modern robotics industry. He was the founder and president of Unimation, Inc., the world’s first industrial robot manufacturer.

Cooper holds secondary appointments at Pitt as a professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. He is also a professor in the Robotics Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

In addition, Cooper is the founding director at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in partnership with Pitt. Also, he serves as codirector of the NSF Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center, a joint Pitt-Carnegie Mellon University venture. He is an avid wheelchair athlete and past world/ national record holder at various distances in wheelchair racing.