Danica Kragic Receives Honorary Doctorate
KTH’s leading robotics expert, Professor Danica Kragic, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Villmanstrands Technical University in Finland. It’s not the first time the Croation-born researcher’s achievements have been recognised by the academic world beyond the cobblestones and ivy of the KTH campus.
Danica Kragic studies how robots can be made to “sense” objects, focussing in particular on the development of robots’ ability to see and grasp items — research that’s followed closely by companies developing prostheses and other aids for the disabled.
“With the help of video sequences of finger movements, we can judge which fingers and which angles are important when hands integrate with different objects, for example when holding a pen or a glass,” she says.
Kragic is known worldwide for her research in robotics and computer vision and has received numerous awards for her work. Today she is in charge of research as Vice Director of Education at the School of Communication and Computer Science at KTH, and Director of the Centre for Autonomous Systems. She also makes time to serve as a member of Sweden's Youth Academy.
Since 2008, she has been the Director of the Computer Vision and Active Perception Lab at KTH, supervising six graduate students. In her role as a manager, Kragic sees herself as a guide. “I have to constantly adapt my approach and be patient when I supervise graduate students,” she says. “I try to work on their self-confidence and make sure that they get the type of tutoring they need. That means listening and respecting their individual ways of working — not trying to force them into a structure that I want.”
On June 7, Villmanstrands Technical University joined the growing list of outside institutions honouring Kragic’s work. In 2007 she received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award, presented to a single researcher once each year. In 2008 she was designated a Future Research Leader by Sweden’s Foundation for Strategic Research. And she recently received one of the finest forms of research support a young scientist can receive: an ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council for €1.5 million over a five-year period.
By Kevin Billinghurst | email@example.com