Matthew T. Mason, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, was presented the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's Pioneer Award at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation on May 16 in Kobe, Japan.
Mason, a professor of computer science and robotics, was cited by the society "for pioneering contributions to the fundamental understanding of the mechanics of robotic manipulation and to graduate education in robotics."
The Pioneer Award has been presented annually since 1998 to recognize individuals who have initiated new areas of research, development or engineering that have had a significant impact on the development of robotics and/or automation. It is usually given to people in the mid or late portions of their careers. Previous winners include Takeo Kanade, professor of computer science and robotics and a former director of the Robotics Institute.
Mason has devoted much of his research to exploring the fundamental mechanics of how robots can manipulate the things around them and to developing the planning capability that robots need to decide what actions to take to achieve a goal. His research projects have included an origami-folding robot and desktop robots that use their wheels not only to move themselves, but to rearrange objects on a desk.
Prior to becoming director of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute in 2004, Mason was chairman of the university's robotics doctoral program. The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science.
Mason earned his bachelor's, master's and doctor's degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1982. He is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the IEEE.