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Sept. 28, 2020

Media Advisory: UArizona Engineers to Virtually Exhibit New Autonomous Robotic System

  • What: The University of Arizona's Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration Laboratory will exhibit its Human and Explainable Autonomous Robotic System virtually at the EngageSpace interactive event.
  • When: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2:15-3:30 p.m. (ET) and Wednesday, Sept. 30, 12:15-1:15 p.m. (ET)
  • Where: The exhibit will be presented online. Registration for the event is free and open to the public at the EngageSpace website.

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona's Space and Terrestrial Robotic Exploration Laboratory will virtually exhibit a new system that could change the way humans on Earth use robots to repair and maintain on-orbit spacecraft.

The lab, known as SpaceTREx, will exhibit its Human and Explainable Autonomous Robotic System, or HEART, virtually at EngageSpace. The two-day event will showcase the newest space-related innovations in government, industry and academia. EngageSpace is presented by AFWERX, the innovation arm of the U.S. Air Force.

SpaceTREx is based in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and led by assistant professor Jekan Thanga. The lab was one of more than 800 teams that participated in the AFWERX Space Challenge, and among the top 175 invited to exhibit at EngageSpace.

HEART expands on SpaceTREx's neuromorphic architecture called artificial neural tissues, or ANT, which can rewire its own architecture and content on the fly to adapt to different situations. In other words, ANT reacts to changing situations much like a human would, but without the risk of fatigue-induced error.

HEART takes ANT's technology further to help humans and machines more easily work together. The SpaceTREx lab is working closely with the University of Arizona Applied Research Corp. in developing HEART for Department of Defense applications.

Learn more about HEART in a seven-minute video.

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Media contacts:
Emily Dieckman
College of Engineering

Tracy Skenandore and Makenzie Coombs

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 40 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.