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Robotics Institute Records

Identifier: 0000-0018

Scope and Content Note

The Robotics Institute Collection consists of materials related to the history of the Institute and some of the research conducted there. It includes newspaper clippings, pamphlets and brochures about some of the Institute's projects, research reviews, publications, and some videos. In addition to the materials in the collection, there are also three folders of photographs that are part of the University Archives' General Photo Collection.


  • 1980-2005



Biography or History

Carnegie Mellon University has long had one of the foremost computer science programs in the country. This has led not only to a great deal of basic research, but also to pioneering collaborations with government and business. Technology transfer has been at the heart of the Robotics Institute.

Allan Newell of the School of Computer Science first suggested the idea of a facility to study and design robots in the early 1970's. University President Richard Cyert was interested in the idea and assigned Newell, Herbert A. Simon, and Raj Reddy to study the possibilities. In 1978, the Robotics Institute was established with Raj Reddy as the first director.

From the beginning, the Institute was supported by major players in industry and government, with some of the biggest sponsors being Westinghouse Electric, the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Defense. Raj Reddy was the director from 1978 to 1991. Takeo Kanade served from 1992 to 2001, and Chuck Thorpe until 2004. Matthew T. Mason is the current director.

In 1996, the Robotics Institute in collaboration with NASA opened the National Robotics Engineering Consortium in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. The NREC's goals included research in areas such as basic robotics technologies, automation and computer-integrated manufacturing, robotics for hazardous environments, and autonomous mobile robots. The Institute's headquarters on campus is in Newell-Simon Hall.


1.5 Linear feet (2 boxes)




The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies relevant to industrial and societal tasks. The Robotics Institute Collection consists of materials related to the history of the Institute and some of the research conducted there.


The provenance is unknown at this time, for the majority of the collection. The bulk of the project sampler series (70 pages) was donated by Nicole S. Vecciti on August 13, 1986.The 2005 Red Team robot racing DVDs came from the papers of James Tomayko.




Nikolas M. Henle. Updated and partly reorganized by Laure Bukh on October 10, 2013.
Robotics Institute Collection 0000.18
June 15, 2006
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Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021