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Achim Lilienthal

This week in robots in depth

Achim got in to robotics from working in physics when the team hid did his PhD worked on gas sensors and he saw an opportunity to contribute based on his background in physics.

He also talks about a strong personal reason for developing gas sensors as a family member was killed in a gas explosion when he was a kid.

Get to know more about Achim Lilienthal

What first got you passionate about robotics and what most excites you know?

As a small child I got fascinated by the endless possibilities of imagining robots and extending them with tools (today I would say: actuators). Later on - and in a more reflected manner - I became interested in the use of robots to save the lives of humans and the way robots can serve as a model for biological organisms

What's the biggest misconception people have about robots? What's surprised you?

Robotics often reminds us that some tasks that we consider to be very simple, for example walking or grasping, are in fact very demanding for a robot. One could say that it came as a surprise to me how much working in robotics makes you admire how animals and especially human beings function.

What advice would you give to your younger self or someone getting into the field now?

Try to understand and not just to build.

Where will we see robots in 15 years and what do we need to do to get there?

Among others, we will need improved ways to assure long-term stability and autonomous repair mechanisms for highly complex systems. And of course, robots have to fit into a sustainable economy. I believe that we will make progress towards these goals in the next 15 years but won't consider them reached in 2035.

What would you like your legacy to be?

As a part of my research team, I'd like to be remembered for our contributions in the field of gas-sensitive robots, robot perception, and mathematics research education.

Achim Lilienthal

Prof. Achim J. Lilienthal is head of the Mobile Robotics and Olfaction Lab at Örebro University, Sweden. His research interests are mobile robot olfaction, rich 3D perception, navigation of autonomous transport robots, human robot interaction and mathematics education research. Achim Lilienthal obtained his Ph.D. in computer science from Tübingen University, Germany and his M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Konstanz, Germany. The Ph.D. thesis addresses gas distribution mapping and gas source localisation with mobile robots. The M.Sc. thesis is concerned with structure analysis of (C60)n+ clusters using gas phase ion chromatography.

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