CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) While work is rapidly underway to cure COVID, other research is moving at an accelerated pace because of the pandemic.
Local institutions are studying the future of our economy, and what technology will help improve our lives.
Heather Kovar has an inside look at what is going on at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Video shows an example of the various robotics projects underway at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. One theme of pandemic research is getting robots to work safely and efficiently with a small number of human workers.
Professor John Wen is Head of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at RPI.
“There is an increasing need for automation. Doesn’t mean humans are out of the loop, but humans may have to supervise remotely,” said Wen.
He says the pandemic accelerates the need of automation for quality of life. For example, helping a handicapped person deal with the challenge of day to day life.
Wen says, “We don’t want to go into assisted living, we don’t want to go to a nursing home. How can we still live with decent quality of life, but with automation to help us.”
Dr. Grace Wang is SUNY Poly Interim President and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development at SUNY.
“I think the pandemic actually amplified the importance of science, the importance of technology, the importance of the resilience of our community,” said Dr. Wang.
She says at SUNY Poly they are studying how to accelerate the commercialization of deep technologies, which she describes as things like artificial intelligence, computing, medicine, bio medical devices and quantum computing and communication. She says they can be highly rewarding in terms of transforming the economy, transforming industry and generating new jobs.
While looking forward to creating a new future after COVID, these institutes, like others, have been addressing immediate needs, such as masks and antibody tests.
SUNY Poly is also currently working on a face mask, which basically using an electro static field, would cure the virus once it contacts the mask.
Dr Wang is stepping down at end of the month. She is moving to Columbus and joining Ohio State University to be their new Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise.
She will play a lead role in expanding the university's cutting-edge research, creative expression and scholarship; as well as building strategic partnerships.