Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NSF Awards CS-Led Health, Robotics Research Center

August 9th, 2011 / in big science, research horizons, Research News / by Erwin Gianchandani

University of Washington doctoral student Eric Rombokas interacts with a lifelike robotic hand that includes the same number of muscles and tendons as the human hand, allowing the possibility for a more seamless integration with the human nervous system. The robotic hand was built in the UW's Neurobotics Lab, which works on the interface between robotics and the human body. The group will be involved in the new NSF Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. [Image courtesy Yoky Matsuoka, University of Washington, via]Yesterday, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a new five-year, $18.5 million Engineering Research Center (ERC) that will pursue interdisciplinary research and education in areas of health and robotics:

The NSF ERC for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (ERC/SNE) will create devices to restore or augment the body’s capabilities for sensation and movement. The foundation for the new devices will be new mathematical and structural understanding of the nervous system. Center researchers will combine this new understanding with improved communication and interface design and with advanced control and adaptation technologies.


The Center aims to create devices that function and adapt seamlessly with the body, enabling dynamic and highly complex interactions with human environments. Ultimately, the resulting intelligent systems, neural implants, and robotics will be engineered to meet individual human needs for sensation and movement.


The NSF ERC/SNE will be based at the University of Washington, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and San Diego State University. Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Tokyo will contribute additional expertise and international perspectives.


The involvement of 23 industry partners — including multinational corporations, healthcare practitioners, and start-up firms — will spur innovation and provide university students with first-hand experience in entrepreneurship. The NSF ERC/SNE will also collaborate with complementary research centers and organizations specializing in technology transfer to stimulate innovation based on its research.

The new ERC will be led by Yoky Matsuoka, a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.

To learn more about it, read the official NSF press release.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

NSF Awards CS-Led Health, Robotics Research Center