What is NERC?

The Northeast Robotics Colloquium (NERC) brings together the roboticists in the northeastern United States and Canada, in an event that is simultaneously a research meeting, a networking event, a job-fair, and a showcase for established and up-and-coming robot companies. We hope to promote the kind of healthy and well-connected robotics community that will fuel the field's rapid growth in the coming decade!

Schedule

8:00 AM Registration and Breakfast
8:50 AM Opening remarks
9:00 AM Marynel Vázquez: Design and Algorithmic Perspectives for Human-Robot Interaction
9:40 AM Submitted Talk 1
10:00 AM Posters, NERVE center tour (sign-up required), Coffee
11:00 AM Momotaz Begum: Robot Learning from Humans in the Wild: Challenges and Opportunities
11:40 AM Submitted Talk 2
Noon Lunch
12:30 PM Demos, NERVE center tour (sign-up required)
1:30 PM Marc Raibert: Making robots smarter, in both body and mind.
2:10 PM Berk Calli: Role of Robots in Recycling: Applications in Waste Sorting and Metal Scrap Recovery
2:50 PM Posters, NERVE center tour (sign-up required), Coffee
3:50 PM Tom Ryden: Trends in Commercialization of Robotics Research
4:30 PM Submitted Talk 3
4:50 PM Closing remarks and NERC 2023 announcement

Where will NERC be this year?

As we return to in-person events, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is proud to be hosting the Northeast Robotics Colloquium in 2022. NERC will be located at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center.

UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center

50 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852

Invited Speakers

Marc Raibert
Marc Raibert

Chairman and Founder · Boston Dynamics

Title: Making robots smarter, in both body and mind.

Abstract: Today's robots move dynamically, travel to places where previous robots couldn't go, handle larger payloads with smaller footprints, and move faster to work more quickly. Raibert will give a status report on the dynamic robots being developed at Boston Dynamics, including those focused on commercial applications as well as R&D robots that can lead to new capabilities and applications in the future. He will also talk about the new AI Institute that is aiming to make robots smarter.

Tom Ryden
Tom Ryden

Executive Director · MassRobotics

Title: Trends in Commercialization of Robotics Research

Abstract: New England has seen a tremendous growth in robotics companies over the last decade, driven in part by increasing investments in the space. Venture capital investments in robotics worldwide reached US$5.7 billion in 2021, a 38% year-on-year growth. While, like in the overall market, the rate of investments has been slowing but there continues to be strong interest in robotics. This talk will look at the recent trends and growth areas in robotics research commercialization.

Marynel Vázquez
Marynel Vázquez

Computer Science · Yale University

Title: Design and Algorithmic Perspectives for Human-Robot Interaction

Abstract: In this talk, I will describe my research in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), which integrates elements of design, behavioral science, and artificial intelligence. In particular, I will discuss three key insights that I believe are important for social robots. First, group human-robot interactions are not a trivial generalization of one-on-one interactions. Second, nonverbal robot behaviors, especially those involving gaze, must be designed jointly rather than independently of each other. Third, applying machine learning to modeling problems in HRI benefits from graph abstractions and relational models; however, an important open challenge to realize the impact of these approaches is scalable model supervision. Overall, my talk will emphasize the importance of studying multi-party social encounters in HRI and will show synergies between user-centered experimental research and technical developments. In my view, the latter integration is essential to create robots that effectively work with and in the service of users.

Berk Calli
Berk Calli

Robotics Engineering · Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Title: Role of Robots in Recycling: Applications in Waste Sorting and Metal Scrap Recovery

Abstract: As robots get more capable, robust, and resilient, new possibilities emerge to use them in environment-focused applications. A major focus of Dr. Calli’s Laboratory is to identify these new roles and develop robotic systems to help solve environmental problems. In this talk, two environmental robotics projects will be covered: waste sorting for recycling and metal scrap recovery. In the waste sorting project, waste recognition and robotic picking strategies will be discussed along with how to best integrate robots and facilitate human-robot collaboration. In the metal scrap recovery project, piece exploration and vision-based cutting techniques will be presented. For both projects, the impact of robots on the recycling economy and workforce will be discussed.

Momotaz Begum
Momotaz Begum

Computer Science · University of New Hampshire

Title: Robot Learning from Humans in the Wild: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract: Learning from demonstration or imitation learning is not a new idea in robotics, yet the promises of LfD remain elusive. Learning a task from humans in the wild comes with a wide range of research challenges in perception, policy learning, algorithmic transparency, and human-robot interaction. Some of these challenges are being discussed in the contemporary LfD research but the scope remains in simulation or structured laboratory environments. In this talk I will be discussing the fundamental gaps in perception and policy learning research that are making LfD-powered robots elusive in our everyday lives. Along that line, I discuss some federally funded efforts in my lab to overcome these challenges.

Organizers

Holly Yanco
Holly Yanco

Computer Science, Robotics · UML

Reza Ahmadzadeh
Reza Ahmadzadeh

Computer Science · UML

Maru Cabrera
Maru Cabrera

Computer Science · UML

Noah Jafferis
Noah Jafferis

Electrical and Computer Engineering · UML

Kshitij Jerath
Kshitij Jerath

Mechanical Engineering · UML

Paul Robinette
Paul Robinette

Electrical and Computer Engineering · UML

Kelilah Wolkowicz
Kelilah Wolkowicz

Mechanical Engineering · UML

Submissions and Important dates

Abstracts and posters should be submitted via EasyChair. Submission guidelines and requirements are listed on the EasyChair portal.

Important Dates:

  • Presentation abstracts are due August 26 (Friday) by 11:59 PM EST
  • Notification of acceptance/rejection: September 9 (Friday)
  • Poster submissions are due September 23 (Friday) by 11:59 PM EST
  • Due date to communicate demo requirements (if any): September 23 (Friday) by 11:59 PM EST. These requests should be sent to nerc.uml@gmail.com.

How do I register?

Registration will open on August 29 (Monday). Additional details to follow.

K-12 Students and Teachers

Online Registration

$15

Choose plan

Who's this for

  • K-12
  • Undergraduate students
  • High school teachers
  • Family members above 12

Regular Registration

Online Registration

$50

Choose plan

Who's this for

  • MS and PhD students
  • Post-docs
  • Faculty members
  • Industrial participants

On-Site Registration

On-Site Registration

$80

Choose plan

Who's this for

  • K-12
  • Undergraduate students
  • High school teachers
  • Family members above 12
  • MS and PhD students
  • Post-docs
  • Faculty members
  • Industrial participants

Contact

Please direct all communication to nerc.uml@gmail.com.

Hotels Nearby

UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center

50 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852

(978) 934-6920

Sonesta Select

30 Industrial Ave E, Lowell, MA 01852

(978) 458-7575

Holiday Inn Express

8 Independence Dr., Chelmsford, MA 01854

(978) 710-3151

Fairfield Inn by Marriot

1695 Andover St., Tewksbury, MA 01876

(978) 640-0700

Local Attractions

Tsongas Center

Tsongas Center

This multi-purpose arena is home to the NCAA Division I UMass Lowell River Hawks ice hockey team and hosts multiple events such as concerts, family events, sporting events, etc.

300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way