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Baumgartner wins IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation

Sep 17, 2007
Dr. Eric T. Baumgartner, dean of Ohio Northern University's T.J. Smull College of Engineering, along with Dr. Paul G. Backes and Dr. Larry H. Matthies of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were selected as co-recipients of the 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation.

The trio received the award for their contributions to robotics enabling effective autonomous operations of science investigations under extreme conditions on the planet Mars. The award will be presented to Baumgartner and his colleagues during the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

Baumgartner became the dean of the College of Engineering in July 2006 and came to Ohio Northern University after spending 10 years at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he held a number of technical and management positions.

"I am truly honored to be selected for this prestigious award and to be recognized for my contributions to the field of robotics and automation," says Dr. Baumgartner. "I have been blessed to work with many fine engineers and scientists throughout my career, without whom such an honor would not be possible."

The IEEE Technical Field Award in Robotics and Automation recognizes Dr. Baumgartner's contribution to the robotic exploration of the planet Mars and the scientific discoveries that have been accomplished with the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Specifically, Dr. Baumgartner was the lead systems engineer for the Instrument Positioning System that utilized a robotic arm with 5 joints to deploy and place 4 instruments mounted on the end of the robotic arm onto Martian rock and soil targets. He also served as the test and operations lead for the Instrument Positioning System on both rovers and contributed to the operations phase of the Mars Exploration Rover mission as a Rover Driver for the Opportunity rover.

Dr. Baumgartner has published numerous papers in the area of mobile robotics and vision-guided manipulation and was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2004 for his efforts on the Mars Exploration Rover project.