(Nov. 19, 2014) -- Meet Pranav Bhounsule. One of UTSA's new faculty members, Bhounsule joins the College of Engineering as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. And he wants his students to learn about the impact robots can have on humans.
Bhounsule's research interests focus is on motion control of humanoid robots, particularly legged locomotion. His dissertation research ultimately led to a new world record in 2011, when his bipedal robot walked 40.5 miles (65 Km) around an indoor track without stopping or recharging. This feat was accomplished in about 31 hours using only 6 cents worth of electricity. The record remains unbeaten.
Bhounsule explains that most land-use robots designed today come equipped with wheels. Wheels provide the robot with easy mobility and balance; however, the range of tasks it can perform and its self-efficiency are limited. Developing robots with the ability to walk, unaided, is very challenging, but it's a challenge Bhounsule embraces: "I want robots to be able to walk just as well, if not better, than their human counterparts."
Bhounsule's interest in robotics was a delayed discovery. His focus while a student in his home country of India was directed toward more conventional aspects of mechanical engineering. However, in the early stages of his doctoral work at Cornell University, he met a professor who completely converted his interests.
From 2012 to spring 2014, Bhounsule was able to put his robotics expertise to use as a postdoctoral researcher at Disney Research Pittsburgh. At Disney, he developed automation tools for entertainment robots, also called Audio-Animatronics figures, that entertain people at various Disney theme parks around the world.
Beyond their entertainment value, Bhounsule is fascinated with the impact robotics can have on the social, medical and economic aspects of modern humanity. This wave is already attracting investors like Google and changing the game for fields as predictable as automobile manufacturing and as surprising as psychological therapy. Already, robots are being utilized in the therapy of children with autism. It's Bhounsule's goal to show his students the important role robotics will play in the years to come.
"I want to show my students the practical applications of what they can do with robotics," he explains, "I want them to look beyond the present, and look to their role in the future."
When he chooses to take a break from his research, Bhounsule enjoys training for marathons and triathlons. He hopes to one day to complete an Iron Man triathlon. This enthusiasm for endurance sports was inspired by his dissertation robot's own athletic accomplishments.
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This high school student exhibit features images, videos, interviews and writings that the students learned about while participating in "The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity."
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA has a greater focus in 2018 to serve the local community. Learn the many opportunities you can get involved.
Student Union, 1st floor corridor, Main Campus
Dr. Ricky Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African studies at the University of Louisville. He will share his expertise on the impact of African American history on today’s society.
Student Union, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Come meet STEM recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time, part-time and/or internship opportunities.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The summit is an opportunity to create an open forum for the community to share ideas and perspectives on civic engagement.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Meet recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time and/or internship opportunities. Professional dress required.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
New exhibit of Latino and Latina artists is curated by Arturo Infante Almeida, art specialist and curator for the UTSA Art Collection. Opening Reception is Feb. 8; exhibit runs through June 10.
Centro de Artes Gallery, 102 S. Santa Rosa, San Antonio
The UTSA commnity is encouraged to get involved in this city-wide initiative to clean up the San Antonio area waterways. Roadsrunners will be cleaning up Maverick Creek on the west side of Main Campus.
Maverick Creek, Main Campus
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