When Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Kamal Youcef Toumi considers adding a new project to his already expansive arsenal of innovations in the field of robotics, he considers two key questions:
Does the project have the potential for innovation in technology?
And does it stand to benefit the world in some way?
In his view, research institutes like MIT and Skoltech have nothing to gain from taking on projects that will not result in the creation of new knowledge and new technologies.
“It doesn’t make sense for someone at any research institute to work on things that other people have done already, because the purpose of our work is to develop new technologies and generate new knowledge that people can benefit from,” he said.
It was this line of thinking – paired with an ethos that throughout his career has driven Youcef-Toumi to pursue international partnerships and collaborations around the globe – that gave rise to the Recybot, a high-speed intelligent robotic system that uses computer vision to dismantle electronic devices so their parts can be recycled.
We caught up with Youcef-Toumi on the sidelines of a recent guest lecture series he gave to Skoltech robotics students to learn more about RecyBot and the many other status-quo shattering projects that have emerged from his illustrious career.
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