Devices that make complicated, self-directed decisions receive a lot of attention in Pennsylvania. All the research universities in the state study the appearance of thought in the behavior of machines. Through a large number of robotics clubs, machines that think are capturing the imaginations of Commonwealth high school students, too.
However, the hub of robotics in Pennsylvania--and the United States--is located in Pittsburgh, where Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute more or less invented the science of field robotics. Atop its umbrella rides the standard of CMU's School of Computer Science. The interaction of CMU's outstanding faculties in electrical and mechanical engineering with the scientists who populate the world's number one school for computing make the Robotics Institute a place where most conceivable applications of robotics are being either developed, studied, or talked about.
More than its name suggests, the Robotics Institute appears to operate like a consortium of many paths along which the $8 billion world robotics market is likely to evolve. As demand for mobile robots in non-industrial applications grows, the centers within the Institute suggest in their names some of the most promising directions: The Center for the Foundation of Robotics, The Center for Integrated Manufacturing and Decision Systems, The Center for Healthcare Robotics, the Field Robotics Center, the Vision & Autonomous Systems Center, and the National Robotics Engineering Consortium. Pittsburgh is robot country, says the Christian Science Monitor
, and it's easy to see why.