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March 03, 1982 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-03

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'U' prof leader in robotics

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, March 3, 1982--Page 7

The ever growing robot revolution
has begun to form its own small circle
of rising celebrities. University
Mechanical Engineering Prof. Yoram
Koren is rapidly becoming one stellar
of that set.
Koren almost seems reluctant to talk
about his recemt television and radio
interviews-in Florida and Illinois.These
shows, however, are a good indication
of. how popular, and controversial,
'robotics" has become around the
IN A090-MINUTE radio station call-in
interview in Florida, most of the
telephone inquiries were on the possible
effects robotics will have on unem-

ployment, Koren said. People, he ad-
ded, are concerned that the growing use
of industrial robots will take away their
Though some experts would disagree,
Koren, who will be speaking Thursday
at the robotics conference at Detroit's
Cobo Hall, contends that the reason for
the high national unemployment rate is
that robots are operating in Japan and
not in the United States.
A participant in industrial conferen-
ces in both Japan and the United States,
Koren said he believes that both the
American public and U.S. industrial
leaders hold shortsighted and naive
views of the future.

U.S. INDUSTRIAL leaders perceive
the robot only as a programmable
machine that can replace workers,
Koren said. "But the key issue is not
putting a robot in a shop to do the work
of two persons. The key issue is using
the robot as a tool in the factory of the
In the factory of the future, raw
materials will be transformed into
finished products completely by
automation, many experts have
speculated. Every operation in this
future factory-from product design
and manufacturing, to assembly and
production inspection-will be
monitored and controlled by com-

sDetroit robot show drws thousands

puters, and performed by robots and
automatic intelligence systems, exper-
ts contend.
An important aspect of this factory of
the future, which will have a main
"supervisory" computer, is its
flexibility, Koren noted. By simply
changing the computer program, one
will be able to change the factory's
finished product.
Koren, who has a chapter devoted to
the factory of the future in his soon-to-
be published book "Computer Control
of the Manufacturing System," directs
one of the three divisions in the Univer-
sity's Center for Robotics and In-
tegrated Manufacturing.
Qe C t' e
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Michigan Daily

WSU editor charged
with 'abuse of Offic&'
(Continued from Page>3) editorial, adding that his staffers
"There were a lot of reasons for had seen the two words printed ina
printing the editorial," Lee said, left-wing campus newspaper, and
citing the failure of the Board to pay thought they were humorous.
two new employees on time, the HOWEVER, Adam Holinski, news
Board's spreading of misleading in- editor of the Southend said, "hardly
formation on when a darkroom anyone thought it was a great idea
would be constructed, and the Some news staffers were opposed
general understaffing of the paper, some weren't. But there were no of
as several of them. ficial support documents drawn up
LEE SAID he shouldn't have prin- in favor of Lee."
ted the editorial, but added, "I'm a Holinski added, "Lee's a rare
very impulsive person, and it ex- bird. Nobody can guess what he'
pressed my feelings." Lee said he thinking."
did not find the word "Fuck" to be In pressing his charge agains
offensive and he was surprised it WSU and the Board, Lee said he
disturbed so many of his readers. feels his first amendment right:
Lee added, however, that he didn't have been violated, and that the firs
put much stock in what people who amendment supercedes a regulation
read the Southend thought. in the publications manual agains
Lee said his staff seemed suppor- the use of "foul and abusiv
tive of his decision to print the language."


(Continued from Page 1)
Westinghouse, General Electric, and
IBM reserved large amounts of floor
space in the crowded Cobo Hall show
room to unveil their most advanced
Gov. William Milliken, speaking at
the first full day of the four-day con-
ference yesterday, reiterated his desire
to make Michigan a "world center of
excellence" in all aspects of robotics
In addition, the governor cited the
recently-established Industrial
Technology Institute in Ann Arbor as
one of the state's "major initiatives" in
the field of automating manufacturing.
MORE THAN 2,000 business
executives, engineers, and other per-
sons toured the various booths on the
first day of the exhibition. A variety of
robots performed many tasks-from
picking up magic markers in a bin to
welding sections of steel plates
The conference guests, who paid
about $400 for admission to the full
exhibition, also listened to "robot ex-
perts" from around the world speak at
various seminars.
Attesting to the growing popularity of
robotics in the industrial sector, Tom
Weekley, coordinator of the United
Auto Workers skilled trades depar-
tment and a moderator at one of the in-
structional seminars, said: "Some of
the sessions that last year had 100
people in them, this year have 600 or 700
The sessions explained a variety of
topics - from "Robotics the Human
Factor" and "Education: Preparing
People for Robots" to "R & D:

Programming and Languages" and
"Applications: Specialized." Univer-
sity mechanical engineering Prof.
Yoram Koren will be among the
robotics specialists talking at the
seminar. (See related story.)
Conversation between conference at-
tendees showed there was interest in
the growing robotics trend. One senior
engineer from New Jersey remarked to
another: "There's the guy from Boca
Raton who was talking about the com-
pletely automated factory this mor-
IBM's major robotics research center
is located in Boca Raton. The computer
giant yesterday introduced its low-cost
programmable robotic system-which"'
can be run a personal computer - and
a totally new "state of the art" called
the "RS1."
The RS 1 combines sophisticated tac-
tile and optical sensing with six degrees
of motion. In an Austin, Texas branch
of IBM, robots place gears on a plate,
snap a fastening clip on the gear, and
put the gear assembly into a bin.
"IT ALSO CAN sense when there's a
misaligned gear and it can then take
corrective action," explained Les
Szabo, an IBM spokesman at the con-
ference from Boca Raton. "It's really a
Breakthroughs, however, seemed
commonplace yesterday. University
electrical and computing engineering
Prof. Richard Volz said: "There were
some things there that were very nice
and very impressive."
Volz, said he spent most of the day in
conferences, but did venture down to
see a few things in the showroom. He
said not only IBM, but Unimation,
Westinghouse, McDonnell Douglas, and

General Electric had impressive and
even surprising displays.
THE ENGINEERING professor said
he spoke informally to some represen-
tatives from Bendix, IBM, General
Electric, and Unimation about the
recent drive to make Ann Arbor a world
center of robotics.
Milliken, in his conference address,
said Ann Arbor's Industrial Technology
Institute "will help transfer leading-
edge robotics technology from the
classroom and the laboratory to the
production process.
"We expect the institute to lead even-
tually to the establishment of other
research and development facilities in
a robotics research park," the governor
THE MICHIGAN Department of
Commerce, which occupied a booth at
the robot exhibition, handed out
literature extolling the advantages of
locating a robot producing firm in the
H. Shepardson Wild, chairman of the
board of the new firm Object
Recognition Systems, Inc., said yester-
day, "I wouldn't be surprised to see us
open a firm in this neck of the woods."
Object Recognition Systems had a
small robot with a camera eye that
could distinguish and- pick out certain
magic markers from a pile. John
Crayton, a senior research engineer
from Caterpillar, Inc. said ORS is going
in the right direction, but he was
relatively unimpressed with the display
of "binpicking."
He said the computation time, at
twenty seconds, was too slow and,
because the magic markers were
symmetrical, it was easier for the robot
to pick them up.



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This course will discuss the role-of science and technology in
the contemporary world and the interplay between research
and development and the arms race. INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jerome
Wiesner, M.I.T.


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(Continued from Page 1)
tions-strove to be as subdued as a
monestery in Siberia.
The sort of regulations which helped
keep the dorms "quiet had to do with
visitation policies and residency
requirements. All freshmen and women
under 21 years of age had to live in
single-sex dormitories. Women were
not allowed beyoid the lounges in the
men's dorms, and the same held true
for men in women's dorms.
The "girls" not only were prohibited
from visiting a man's room, but also
from staying out with them .very late.
Curfew was at 11:30 p.m. on weeknights
and 12:30 a.m. on weekends. If a
woman were late, her student judiciary
might sentence her to an "in-dorm
penalty" which would confine her to the
dorm after 8p.m.
Although they didn't have a curfew,
the men didn't have it easy, either.
They had housemothers who made
them wear coats and ties to dinner. The
men had to wait until she had finished
eating before they rose from the table.
Dorm life in the early '60's did have
its advantages. Studying was easy in
the quiet, well-behaved halls; each
room received laundry service and
weekly maid service. The cafeteria
table settings were charming and
elegant-not unlike those found at Mar-
tha Cook today.
And, for better or worse, there was
almost no chance of getting into a
situation in which a "youngster" might
be tempted to forget his or her "moral"
upbringing. Students were safer from
that then they were in their own homes.
Times, and the dorm rules, changed.
Rumblings of impending change were
heard as early as 1961, when students
began to discuss possible revisions in

the opposite sex visitation policy.
Students wondered why, if at home they
could entertain guests in their rooms,
they couldn't at their university. One
female complained in the Daily in
November of 1961 that dorm rules
prohibited even her father from visiting
her in her room.
The time was not ripe, however, for
society's acceptance of the idea of more
student liberty. Letters-to-the-editor in
the Ann Arbor News opposed to any
liberalization outnumbered those in
favor of it by a wide margin.
One reader wrote, ". . . why should
the University go out of its way to make
it easier for poorly brought up girls and
disrespectful boys to increase the
illegitimacy rate?" Still another war-
ned that any change in policy would be
"fomenting Communism."
lMany students countered these
claims. One wished to know if the public
really felt that the college student was
"a wild animal who roams the campus
searching only for a place and a partner
to satisfy his sexual urges, so that he
may wallow in self-indulgence." But
student protests were unsuccessful.
In 1966, however, there was a
massive change in University housing
philosophy. Rules which had been taken
for granted until that time suddenly
began to be questioned-by faculty as
well as by students. In 1966 and 1967, the
residency requirements for sophomore
and junior women ended and drastic
changes were made in visitation policy.
The South Quad student government
started things by drafting a proposal
which allowed visitors of the opposite
sex in dorm rooms, with the stipulation
that the guest sign in and out with the
resident advisor and that the room be
lighted at all times. The report even

quoted Proverbs 22-6 to make its point.
The proposal initiated a flood of
requests to the University from almost
all of the dorms, and prompted a plan
from the Residential College to
eliminate all curfews-even those for
first-year women. The proposal was
debated extensively by the Board of
Governors of Residence Halls, and met
some resistance from faculty and ad-
Finally, however, the plan was adop-
ted on a trial basis-with the
requirement that the women receive
parental permission before being
allowed to leave and enter the dorms at
all hours.
By the academic year 1969-70, no
students were required to live in the
residence halls, although first year
students are still strongly urged to do

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